As the news that the United States is ending its two-decade-old war in Afghanistan gains momentum, it’s time to examine how the 20 years of conflict have affected the Afghan people and those who have it. fought. Not only on the ground, but also on screen and page after page of literature.
US President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of approximately 3,000 US troops from Afghanistan, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, which led to the first US invasion of Afghanistan.
“It’s time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for US troops to return home, ”Biden said in a televised address. “I am now the fourth US president to preside over a US troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.
The films did a lot to shape the perspective of those two decades – of the chauvinistic Hollywood fare that seemed to care only about American life and pushed the country’s agenda to a more nuanced portrayal that truly looked at the human cost of the conflict. Here we are looking at the cinema that presented the conflict in a somewhat balanced and nuanced way.
It is a heartbreaking film about the Afghan people from an Afghan perspective. Trying to live a normal life when nothing around you feels normal can be frightening and cause panic, as the pandemic has taught us so well over the past year. However, residing in a war-torn country, where you fear for your life every day, is a whole different anomaly.
Osama is the story of one of those young girls and her mother, where the girl has to live in the disguise of a boy called Osama. The why’s and the how’s are what keeps you engaged, almost breathless.
Dark zero thirty
We have seen many films on the American perspective of war. Kathryn Bigelow director Zero Dark Thirty is a lot more balanced than most. Jessica Chastain star shines a light on the torture methods used by US forces to uncover the “truth.” But it’s more important because it takes us in pursuit of the world’s most wanted, Osama bin Laden.
Directed by American journalist Sebastian Junger and British photojournalist Tim Hetherington, this war documentary is visceral to the boot, and indeed. The creators haven’t paid much attention to how the story unfolds onscreen, ditching narrative ploys for the emotional punch. The film captures the years the two journalists spent in Afghanistan on a Vanity Fair assignment.
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev, The Tillman Story revolves around a football player-turned-US Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan. However, the circumstances in which his death took place were withheld at the time. People were fed an inspiring story about a wartime hero, but what really happened was Tillman was killed by a ‘late friend’. A moving and introspective look at how the war unfolds beyond the battlefield.
The road to Guantanamo
What happens when fun loving British Pakistani Muslims decide to go to Pakistan to attend a wedding? Unfortunately, nothing good. The group also decides to travel to Afghanistan along the way, and that’s when all hell breaks loose. Everywhere they go, things are against them. Whether it’s a Taliban stronghold or an American military base. This docu-drama is deeply disturbing and disgusting to watch.
Taxi to the dark side
This 2007 documentary won the Oscar, and for good reason too. The film focuses on the Bush administration’s use of torture on anyone they suspected to be on their “list”. It’s an intense, well-done film about how crazy things are happening on either side of the battle line and what the US government did at the time to “teach” their enemy a lesson.