The miscommunications between Poles and Afghans (Latawce reviewed)

Latawce (Poland, 2007)

Seen: Wednesday, 13th May 2009 (cinema, Planete Doc Review)
Runtime: 80′
Director: Beata Dzianowicz
Production House: TVP, Eureka Media
Plot: The makers of the film organize a documentary film course in a Kabul art school. What kind of films will the students come up with?

Haven’t found any sort of clips of this on-line, sorry.

Impressions In Short
The film says more about cultural differences and culture shock than about Afghanistan itself.

More About the Film
The original concept behind the film was to show the reality of Afghans through their own eyes (the director said as much after the screening). They completely failed at this (interestingly enough - the director also said this ;) ).
I was really late for the screening, so I probably missed the first 10min. or so of the film (and that’s only because the film started late too *blush* ). But the moment I saw the Polish guy who was teaching the film course, I knew he would be incapable of getting through to his students. I’m not saying it was an easy task, but he was so obviously going about it in the wrong way. They had no common points of reference at all. There’s a scene which shows this rather hilariously - one of the students brings video material of the slaughter of a cow as his attempt at a documentary. The teacher is trying to explain something along the lines of that showing something that shocking on screen is cheap and should be avoided. The problem is that none of the students seem to find the slaughter in the least bit shocking. And really, why should they? Most of them have seen people die or get injured during the war, so why should the slaughter of a cow be shocking to them?
Then there were the expectations of the students. They thought they’d be taught technical things - like how to operate a camera and stuff like that. But that’s not what they got. I rather sympathized with them cause I think I had similar feelings when I went to film school ;-P I mean it depended on the teacher and the lesson (there are some that I have very fond memories of). But what they showed on film was a bit like some of my worst lessons at film school. He’d ramble on about how the camera has the power to show people’s souls rather than just tell them they’d get a more intimate effect if they used close-ups. Getting the useful bits out of his rambling was probably even more difficult because of the translation the students were getting. Apparently their translator gave a very poetic rendition of what he was saying.
In a way the problems the teacher had in the film were interesting, but I found the way he was going about things very frustrating and perhaps that’s why I didn’t like the film much.

Not particularly, no. But IMO it’s not a film you should avoid either. It’s ok.

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