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Kandahar (2001)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 96
Fresh: 85 | Rotten: 11

Eerily timely, Kandahar offers haunting images of a bleak land.


Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 0

Eerily timely, Kandahar offers haunting images of a bleak land.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 4,494

My Rating

Movie Info

Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf examines the troubling story of life in neighboring Afghanistan in this compelling drama. Nafas (Niloufar Pazira) is a reporter who was born in Afghanistan, but fled with her family to Canada as a child, escaping the violence of the country's political instability. However, her sister wasn't so lucky; she lost her legs to a land mine while young, and when Nafas and her family left the country, her sister was accidentally left behind. Nafas receives a letter

May 13, 2003

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All Critics (107) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (11) | DVD (10)

It's a simple series of snapshots from a country in pain.

November 6, 2002 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Moves not like a story but a poem, and the images it presents to us are unforgettable.

March 29, 2002
Arizona Republic
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Its themes are universal, its performances are effective in their simplicity and the direction is confident and unfussy.

March 14, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
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If the dramatics of the movie fail to engage as fully as they should, Kandahar remains fascinating as a piece of lyrical journalism.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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Intense, anecdotal and empowered by perversely beautiful imagery.

March 1, 2002
Detroit News
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As with so much in the Islamic world, there are things here that are profoundly beautiful, as well as much that is profoundly scary.

May 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Weekly Planet (Tampa, FL)

I would have recommended "Kandahar" at any time; current events make it a must-see film.

October 16, 2003 Full Review Source:

The result is stunning -- both as a narrative film and as a document of the place and time.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Kandahar consistently feels as if it was shot on the fly, which fuels its sense of urgency and deepens its emotional weight.

October 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

This film is more didactic and less cinematic than I might like, but Makhmalbaf speaks from the heart and the film should be judged accordingly.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

Both a fine example of the striking work being done by contemporary Iranian filmmakers and a near-documentary testament to the painful modern history of Afghanistan.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Although a surreal darkness pervades several passages of Kandahar, through the misfortune of its timing, it's curiously tame.

August 27, 2002 Full Review

[Let me] remove the wool over so many critics' eyes and call Kandahar what it is: a boring, pedantic and obvious story [lent some] timeliness by the events of Sept. 11.

August 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today | Comment (1)
Entertainment Today

Kandahar works best as a semidocumentary, explaining the overwhelming hunger and poverty, the savage effects of land mines and the barbaric treatment of women in Afghanistan.

July 5, 2002 Full Review
Des Moines Register

Makhmalbaf fully achieves his aim of showing life in a society devoid of hope (especially for women) and ruled by soul-crushing barbarians.

April 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

It's a film that is sometimes naive and at other times unsettling, but it has a rawness and power that sticks in your throat.

April 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

'...doesn't quite have the cohesion and power of the sublime Gabbeh... but still remains strong and compelling'

April 5, 2002
Critical Eye

Makhmalbaf gives Kandahar an eerie grace, making it not only a timely movie but a poetic one.

March 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

There's no denying the film has its share of fascinating moments -- or that, on whole, it has a lasting power, especially its bleak, sucker-punch ending.

March 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Adds valuable perspective and context to the war in Afghanistan by providing ideas and images that the nightly news cannot deliver.

March 15, 2002
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Makes up in indignation, passion and poetry what it lacks in filmmaking gloss.

March 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

The film gives a glimpse into a land that is as far removed from Western society as any in the world.

March 11, 2002 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Kandahar

Weird, didn't like it.
August 8, 2008

Super Reviewer

Hmm This movie surprisingly kept my interest. Probably because it was so short. But I thought it had some disturbing, lyrical scenes. Worth a viewing, if you're feeling like learning about new cultures.
December 7, 2007
Joey Nevarez

Super Reviewer

An interesting movie that centralizes on a woman's journey to save her sister in a country she has not been to since childhood.
Niloufar Pazira stars. Worthy!
November 2, 2010
Leo L

Super Reviewer

KANDAHAR was a semi-documentary movie that told the journey of an Afghani female journalist resident in Canada, Nafas, to reach the city of Kandahar, where she hoped to rescue her sister from committing suicide during an eclipse.The plot was very thin and the acting was frequently distracting, so it made it not a great drama. What was great, was the cinematography, filmed in the deserts of Afghanistan.. I liked the quote in the movie, when the doctor character said:"For women, hope is the day that they will be seen.The movie was a real and brutal portrayal of how women and children were treated in these countries. Disgusting.
August 4, 2010
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Reise nach Kandahar (DE)
  • The Sun Behind the Moon (Kandahar) (UK)
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