The latest filmmaking prodigy to emerge from the Iranian Makhmalbaf family is Hana. Just 14 when she made this account of her sister Samira attempting to cast her own film At Five In The Afternoon, it throws light on the current climate in Afghanistan.
Shooting on DV in war-scarred Kabul, Hana focuses on the efforts of Samira and her father Mohsen to persuade various non-professionals to act in their project. It's a journey fraught with potholes: a mullah goes back on his word to play a cart-driver; a gypsy family believes the film crew want to kill their baby; and the widowed Agheleh, Samira's proposed lead, writes a note explaining why she can't take on the role...
Part portrait of the determination of the Makhmalbafs themselves, part study of a people still traumatised by their experiences under the Taliban, Joy Of Madness makes for compelling viewing... As well as an engrossing companion piece to At Five In The Afternoon.
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