Premiered quietly at Cannes 2001, subsequent events have brought Makhmalbaf’s latest film into the world spotlight. Like Jafar Panahi’s THE CIRCLE (banned in Iran) and his wife’s newest film THE DAY I BECAME A WOMAN, KANDAHAR deals with the lives of women living in fundamentalist Islamic cultures. Here, that culture is Afghanistan under Taliban rule; the story based on actual events. Nafas, a young Afghan refugee woman living in Canada has received a suicidal letter from her sister living under desperately strict conditions in Kandahar. Nafas is determined to save her sibling and so enters illegally into the country she’d escaped. Her perilous journey under the chador and the desperate scenes of mine-damaged countryside and people that she witnesses form the story of KANDAHAR. Makhmalbaf has a cinematic eye and the film is full of startling, often beautiful images that are ridiculous, poignant, often painful, and always impressive.