Poignant story of an Afghan youth thirsty for culture and freedom in a country where it is still often paid for with the price of blood, “Kabullywood”, released in 2019, resonates as a painful echo to the news that crosses the country…
Lucid and poignant story about an Afghan youth who had never – or so little – known their country in peace and paying their desires for freedom sometimes at a high price – that of blood -, Kabullywood, released in early 2019, was signed by French director Louis Meunier.
A country he knows particularly well, he who spent more than ten years there. “With Kabullywood, I wanted to bear witness to this parenthesis full of hope and carry a message: when religion is used as a pretext to attack freedom of expression and wipe out the past., That’s all. society which is in danger. I also wanted to show a little-known face of Afghanistan, far from the simplistic Taliban / opium / burqa trilogy, by paying tribute to the richness of the country’s cultural heritage: music, painting, poetry and above all cinema, through an action-packed and energetic plot, which draws on the essence of Kabullywood – popular Afghan cinema of the 1970s / 1980s “ he explained.
Here is the trailer of the film …
In 2019, we had the great pleasure of talking at length with the filmmaker. A talkative, passionate and warm man, who told us about the shooting of a film in extraordinary conditions.
It is an understatement to say that his words, and those of the film, remain more than ever of a burning and tragic topicality, in the light of the political situation which Afghanistan is going through today, where the ultra-rigorous movement of Taliban has just seized power again, twenty years after being ousted from it.
We are therefore reposting our interview, in which the filmmaker’s words also sound like a sad synthesis of the history of a country ravaged by more than 40 years of war. While very much encouraging you to watch this wonderful film.
DashFUN: First of all, I would like people to talk about you and your background. You went through the Humanitarian box, I believe. What ultimately led you to become a director and ultimately make this film?
Louis Meunier : I arrived in Afghanistan in 2002, with a six-month Humanitarian contract, to participate in the reconstruction of the country. It was a bit of a euphoric time. We were talking about peace, democracy, freedom of development … Large funds had been released to rebuild the roads, we had a new currency, a new flag … I was working at that time in the north of the country. , where I took care of rebuilding bridges, roads, houses.
It is a country that I fell in love with. He is absolutely fascinating. You have to immerse yourself in the stories of Nicolas Bouvier, Robert Byron … Many traveling writers speak of this country with tremolos in their voices. Afghanistan, Afrane, is the country of the Pashtuns. But the country has a myriad of different ethnicities, which is also what makes it so rich. There are incredible altitude lakes, deserts, forests … I, who have an adventurous spirit, have been served! I read the novel The knights by Joseph Kessel [NDR : publié en 1967, et généralement considéré comme le chef d’œuvre romanesque de l’écrivain], which tells of an extraordinary equestrian epic. I told myself that I wanted to live this adventure!
I bought a horse, then another, and yet another, and I crossed the country, following in the footsteps of the hero of Kessel’s work. I also played Bouzkachi, the national sport, for ten years [NDR : sport national qui se pratique aussi à cheval, également pratiqué dans plusieurs pays d’Asie centrale et du Moyen-Orient]. I even was part of the Kabul team for three years.
In 2007, I created an audiovisual production company based in Kabul, to share with others the beauty of this country, and also give myself the opportunity to travel it in all directions, by mounting expeditions, documentaries, movies, ect. At first, it was a very romantic idea. We started with two, then three, four, five. We worked as correspondents for Arte, France TV. So much for the frame.
In 2005, Ariane Mnouchkine came to Kabul and selected about fifteen actors, with the key to a three-year “skills and talents” visa, at the end of which the actors had to return to Kabul to live on their profession as actors. I knew them a little, my wife worked with …