What We Left Unfinished: Film + Director’s Talk with Mariam Ghani
The story of five unfinished feature films from the communist 80’s in Afghanistan
This retrospective on Afghan film comments on the period between 1979 and 1991 as both a Golden Age, and as characterised by censorship and propaganda. The restored footage from five unfinished feature movies and recent interviews with the creators proves that there is a truth in both accounts. Throughout one coup after another, the film makers defied threats from both the people and the state and continued to pursue their passion.
The films which now finally reach an audience, albeit not as originally planned, say a lot about the turbulent time in which they were created, even if the scripts were often fictional, censored or even commissioned by the communist regime.
This documentary illustrates how film, with its strong political potential, can be a weapon more powerful than most.
In cooperation with KHiO, Afghanistankomiteen
When you rent the film on our digital platform, this conversation is also included:
Artist Talk with Mariam Ghani
WHAT WE LEFT UNFINISHED tells the incredible and mostly true story of five unfinished feature films from the Communist era in Afghanistan (1978-1991) – when films were weapons, filmmakers became targets, and the dreams of constantly shifting political regimes merged with the stories told onscreen. It is also a tribute to a tight-knit group of Afghan filmmakers who loved cinema enough to risk their lives for art. Despite government interference, censorship boards, scarce resources, armed opposition, and near-constant threats of arrest and even death, they made films that were subversive and, in the filmmakers’ opinions, always “true” to life. Mariam Ghani’s film brings together newly rediscovered and restored footage from these lost films with present-day interviews that reveal the behind-the-scenes stories of the filmmakers (including directors, actors, and crew members who often swapped roles), and new footage shot in the same locations by some of the same directors and cinematographers.
After the film: Filmmaker Mariam Ghani joins Professor Mike Sperlinger (KHiO) in a talk about her project, the troubled history of film in Afghanistan then and today, and the nature of unfinished art. Presented in collaboration with the KHiO as part of a course for fine art students, ‘The piece need not be built’