Kosovar journalist Veton Surroi once said that, “international attention can only be obtained by war.” This rings true for Afghanistan, home to Amini’s city in the wind, as the international imagination associates the region with conflict more often than culture. Despite this, Amini delivers a film that celebrates life and marks a turning point in documentary cinema. Taking the form into slow cinema terrain, Amini’s feature length debut is a contemplative piece on how life goes on in between suicidal bombings. It reveals how families are working hard to take care of each other.

Abas, a bus driver always on the prowl for passengers, continues to survive despite the constant battle to sustain his family’s livelihood. Teenager Afshin, and his little brother Benjamin, are prematurely thrown into adulthood when death threats compel their father to leave for Iran. While poverty and hardship form part of the cities fabric, Amini conveys his subjects lives with dignity and respect. In conversation with Variety, Amini states that, “I was trying to capture life, instead of war and horror.”

Taking his cue from Japanese cinema of the 1950’s, Amini’s aesthetics of storytelling are a soliloquy to a world torn apart by war. After opening the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the film invites audiences to the city of dust and wind without sensationalising or sentimentalizing its subjects stories. The result is a sobering, intimate account of life in Kabul.

07 Aug, 20:00, DokuKino
09 Aug, 14:00, DokuKino