The Land of the Enlightened

  • Directed by Pieter-Jan De Pue
  • Belgium/Ireland/Netherlands, 2016, 87 mins., Persian/English

Shot over seven years, De Pue’s debut, a hybrid of documentary and fiction, paints a whimsical yet haunting look at conditions in Afghanistan. De Pue follows a group of children as they roam the landscape searching for undetonated explosives to sell or trade with other children. Some mine semi-precious gemstone lapis lazuli by hand, others steal opium from passing caravans, and this informal mercenary system of lost boys controls the territory in ways the U.S. military could only admire. As the young gang lords cheer the news of American troops withdrawing, their future—and the nation’s—can only be imagined. In Persian and English with English subtitles.

Reviews: Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian UK, Screen Daily

First feature