The Land of the Enlightened
The Afghans have been waiting for their king since the day their mythical forefather Nasrullah - who received the land from God’s own hand - fled from Ghengis Khan. For Gholam Nasir, America's announcement of the withdrawal of its troops is the sign he has been waiting for.
Aged only about fourteen, Nasir has already become the leader of a gang controlling the smuggling routes over the Pamir Mountains, along which no caravan can pass without offering up part of its goods. These consist mainly of the country’s natural resources: valuable lapis lazuli, and even more fiercely desired raw opium. Nasir knows he can make good use of this opium to placate the father of his intended bride; but before any wedding can take place, he will have to travel to Kabul to ready their palace. During a quiet interlude at the army base, an American soldier also succumbs to lordly fantasies. His army will be made up of children, because “their innocence makes them terrifying”.
From 2007, Pieter-Jan De Pue made several trips to Afghanistan as a photographer for organisations such as the United Nations and the International Red Cross. He visited the mines, the poppy fields, the smuggling routes and the minefields that supply the local population, including many war orphans, with a means of subsistence. His daring, poetic debut film gives a searing portrait of a tormented country in which the current generation is forced to dream themselves a future.