8th DMZ Docs(2016)
I AM DOCU
Pieter-Jan De Pue
A gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to children working in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of the time when American troops finally withdraw from their land, another gang of children keeps tight control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir. In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan.
The film begins with Afghan boys. The kids who are from the Kuchi tribe and hear that American troops announce the withdrawal from Afghan never had a decent life due to the war. How would the boys who have lived on American troops while running their errands survive in the wasted land after the troops leaving? There is another gang of children who find a way to make a living with keeping control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir and dealing drugs. In fact, the film has both documentary and fictional parts mixed in a subtle way. The part about the gangs of kids adopts a fiction style―a melodrama and a hero adventure where hero has to leave a girl who he loves to make multi-layered symbolization. On the other hand, the film presents the documentary footage filmed by American troops where we see Afghan kids living on American GIs; the GIs shooting aimless on the top of one mountain of Afghan and kids are making a living with fetching and carrying for the GIs. Both of he staged fictional part and the documentary part are designed more to give an actual sense of the war to viewers rather than to give information or narrated story. At a crossroad which the sense and the context encounter each other, the desert landscape of Afghan has a reason to exist. The lively and vivid image of the desert with a time-lapse and high―speed sequence is dramatic. The image is transcendent which looks like a dream even if it films an actual space, and looks like the past at the same time like the future. This desert image is another staple figure of this documentary. This film would not judge what is the good or the evil and has no interest to giving a didactic lesson. Despite 7 year-long tough filming in Afghan, the director chose a sober-styled documentary, which made us admire this film. [Lee Seung-min]
Pieter-Jan De Pue
The Land of the Enlightened (2015)