Anxious to learn more about a culture and country whose history and poetry she'd studied as a girl in Iran, Yassamin Maleknasr set out to visit Afghanistan only a few months after the fall of Taliban. Travel was difficult in this war-ravaged land where roads don't exist, but she managed to journey all around the country, interviewing a wide range of Afghans, from lovestruck young men to the nation's first female minister. The resulting film simply and movingly conveys a sense of people who, despite all the suffering they've undergone, have not forsaken their collective dream for their nation's future. The director's decision to avoid the by now clichéd images of men with Kalashnikovs and women in burqas is an effective means of putting the viewer in touch with Afghanistan's authentic ancient culture -- and the human face of its people.
Director's Statement Collapse
"Filming Afghanistan, The Lost Truth was an experience as precious as the famed rubies of Badakhshan region," I wrote in my diary. We entered Afghanistan, this exotic, mysterious, and historic land, shortly after the fall of the Taliban. Our intention was to seek love and life--not aversion to death. This hope was my small crew's guiding light. Despite the turmoil in Afghanistan there is life and it is of a timeless essence that we hoped to capture in the film. Men, women, and children voice their hopes, aspirations, and how hopeful they are about their future--the future which itself is the mystery of existence in contemporary Afghanistan.
Being a woman filmmaker from Iran worked to my advantage in the making of this film. Though I was in a patriarchal environment, the people's kindness enabled me to build close relationships with the Afghan women. This film aims to go beyond the limits of Burka, to women's real lives. To this day, my crew and I are still the only ones to ever travel such distance.
About the Director(s)Collapse
Born in Tehran in 1955, Yassamin Maleknasr graduated from USC's School of Cinema-Television and did postgraduate work in drama at Towson State University in Maryland. After making her first short film, Jazz Ballet, she returned to her native Iran, where she came to attention as an actress in the great Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui's Sara (1993) for which she won Best Supporting Actress at the Fajr Film Festival. She made her directorial debut with The Common Plight (1995), but since then, unable to get her feature scripts approved by Iranian authorities, she has turned to documentary, which she describes as "more interesting because the story is there in front of your eyes instead of your having to invent it" In the course of filming Afghanistan, The Lost Truth, she spent several months in Afghanistan, observing and absorbing the culture through her daily encounters with many of the millions of Afghan refugees living in Iran.