A gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to children working in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of the time when American troops finally withdraw from their land, another gang of children keeps tight control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir.
In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over seven years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look at the condition of Afghanistan left for the next generation. As American soldiers prepare to leave, we follow De Pue deep into this hidden land where young boys form wild gangs control trade routes, sell explosives from mines left over from war, and climb rusting tanks as playgrounds – making the new rules of war based on the harsh landscape left to them.
“Afghanistan is a very dramatic country – rough, with very proud people and impressive landscapes. I wanted to transform the landscapes in a way, make them a kind of a second “character”, besides the children and US soldiers featured in the film. We tried to shoot in a very aesthetic way, sometimes static, sometimes with the idea it had to become something timeless.“
Pieter-Jan De Puefor FilmmakerMagazine.com
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