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Kandahar (2001)



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

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

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 32
Rotten: 0

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


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


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 … More

Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Mohsen Makhmalbaf , Andrei Kavun
In Theaters:
May 13, 2003
Mars Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Kandahar

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

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

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Moves not like a story but a poem, and the images it presents to us are unforgettable.

March 29, 2002
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Its themes are universal, its performances are effective in their simplicity and the direction is confident and unfussy.

March 14, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 1, 2002
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Intense, anecdotal and empowered by perversely beautiful imagery.

March 1, 2002
Detroit News
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 10, 2004

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

Full Review… | October 16, 2003

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

Full Review… | December 8, 2002
Film Threat

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

Full Review… | October 28, 2002
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.

Full Review… | October 21, 2002
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.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

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

Full Review… | August 27, 2002

[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.

Full Review… | August 27, 2002
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.

Full Review… | July 5, 2002
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.

Full Review… | April 26, 2002
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.

Full Review… | April 18, 2002
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.

Full Review… | March 29, 2002
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.

Full Review… | March 29, 2002
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.

Full Review… | March 14, 2002
Orlando Weekly

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

Full Review… | March 11, 2002
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Kandahar

Weird, didn't like it.

Yinalí Ríos

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.

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!

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.

Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

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