Topical films this week

This would be a very good week to seek out Kajaki: The True Story (2014), a gripping and visceral account of the Kajaki Dam incident of 2006, when a small British patrol stumbled into a clutch of landmines in Helmand, Afghanistan, left behind by the Soviets. The film deals with the explosion and the chaos that ensued, and illustrates the grim humour and comradeship of the ordinary soldiers on the ground. You can rent or buy it all over the place. Intense and terrifying, it did not get much of a release and took a worldwide total of $34,017. Not the kid of war film the cinema-going public much wants to see.

There is also Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), a black comedy about the US’s covert funding of the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the start of their (and our) involvement with the country. The last film directed by Mike Nichols, it features a sparkling script by Aaron Sorkin and starring turns from Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman. That period, of course, provided the setting for Rambo III, in which Sylvester Stallone’s musclebound hero goes to the assistance of Afghans fighting the Soviet invaders.

More thoughtful fare includes The Patience Stone, about a woman telling secrets to her war-wounded and paralysed husband, which CFS showed in 2014, Michael Winterbottom’s refugee drama In This World and the Irish animation The Breadwinner, a fable about a young girl who disguises herself as a boy to help feed her family.

Deutsche Welle has a longer list.

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