An interview with Siddiq Barmak or how the Taliban destroyed Afghan cinema

This is a totally ancient draft…

Siddiq Barmak, without exaggerating too much, basically is Afghan cinema nowadays. Almost any Afghan film project intended for cinema is somehow associated with him. In the interview he talks about his award-winning film Osama (which I reviewed in April), but he also says a lot of stuff about the Taliban. The international media outlets just don’t put across how much destruction the Taliban caused in Afghan culture:

One of the very worst things that happened to our people during the Taliban was that they were not able to make a decision for themselves. It broke up all the systems of human society in Afghanistan.

I was the head of the AFO ? a state institution with authority over the production of film, including censorship ? from 1992-96. When the Taliban came to power I escaped to Peshawar, and lived there for six years. In February 2002, I returned to Kabul.

When I came back, it was like being in another world. My friends had broken down, they had forgotten that they were filmmakers. It was terrible. From all that had happened to my country and my friends, I thought that it was very important to renew the things that had been left to waste. Not only physical things like equipment and buildings, but also the rehabilitation of the soul. But for this to happen, we have to make a very strong effort to create a new beginning for Afghan cinema.

The quote above is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s much more about this in the interview.

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