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Acquisitions – Foreign Films

Film Movement Share Akram’s “An Afghan Love Story” out in the Open

We’re not sure if Barmak Akram should be grouped in with the likes of Siddiq Barmak, Atiq Rahimi and the Makhmalbafs, but his An Afghan Love Story or Wajma (not to be confused with Saudi Arabia’s Wadja) has for the past year been a favorite on the film fest circuit and as a result was the obvious selection for his country’s Academy Awards Foreign Language Film bid and it now appears as possible release here. Fans of subtitled dramatic fair, Adley Gartenstein’s Film Movement have grabbed the U.S. rights to the film. Expect a showing in 2014.

Gist: The film tells the story of gregarious waiter Mustafa, and the pretty student named Wajma whom he charms. The pair begins a clandestine relationship – they’re playful and passionate but ever mindful of the Kabul society rules they are breaking. After Wajma discovers she is pregnant, her certainty that Mustafa will marry her falters, and word of their dalliance gets out. Her father must decide between his culturally held right to uphold family honor and his devotion to his daughter.

Worth Noting: This picked up the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriting Award in the World Dramatic Comp.

Do We Care?: We’re fans of the slowly emerging Afghan cinema, but we’re not immediately drawn to such titles – the sort that usually slowly languish thematically and visually in cultural divide.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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