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Tears of an Afghan Warlord by Pascale Bourgaux

Story

The documentary Tears of an Afghan Warlord gives a unique insight in the influence of the Taliban on the people of Afghanistan. The story is set in the village Dasht-e Qaleh, deep down in rural Afghanistan. For the film director Pascale Bourgaux visited the village multiple times over a 10-year period. She captures the ever-changing daily live of the main character Mamour Hasan, a former Afghan Warlord who fought the Taliban for many years. In the opening scenes in 2002 Hasan, who retired from fighting, seems to live a life of hope. He enjoys the admiration of the local people and lives in relative wealth. But in 2008 uncertainty arrives. Hasan has willingly given over his weapons to the central government under the pledge of peace, but a weak local police force and broken promises have led to a state of anxiety – and problems the Taliban is trying to fix. When Bourgaux returns in 2010 the situation is one of further decline, and as she tells the Frontline audience, is more complex than good versus evil: Hasan might have democratic concepts in him but of course he is running a feudal system, having all the money from taxes and distributing it to things he thinks are important. He is applying the power as a good man. Maybe the choice is not Taliban or democracy as we know it. But when the Taliban have the power it is a dictatorship. Bourgaux admits the story she tells in just one hour has taken her 10 years to understand, but the Frontline audience were eager to share her views. And some blame her for the continuing struggle in Dasht-e Qaleh.

Social interest

As the documentary shows the local Afghan people start to change their opinion about the Taliban as soon as the resources in the village are becoming poor. They are willing to accept the rule of the Taliban in exchange for more wealth. Is this way of thinking the same for every person? Are we willing to change our morals in time of need?

About the making

The risks taken by Bourgaux and her numerous crews have been equally great – returning to the village or Dasht-e Qaleh despite the encroaching Taliban, in order to portray the life of Mamour Hasan. Bourgaux dedicated the premiere to Frontline News Television cameraman James Miller, killed in 2003 while filming in Gaza, and France 2 journalist Gilles Jacquier, who died earlier this month covering the Syrian uprising.
Director
Pascale Bourgaux
Copyright Holder
UniversCine
Writer
Pascale Bourgaux
Duration
58 min.
Year of release
2011
Language
french
Country of production
2

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