Mariam Ghani


Research support for "What we left unfinished", a long-term project examining the history of the Afghan Left through five unfinished Afghan films from 1978-92.


What we left unfinished is a long-term research, film, and dialogue project that uses five unfinished Afghan feature films from 1978 to 1992 to examine the major unfinished political projects of the Afghan Communists – revolution, reform, and reconciliation – and consider what it might mean to finish these unfinished projects today. Excavating these fragmented fictions or failed propaganda – state-commissioned and state-canceled films - allows us to reconstruct the national imaginary of the period, the ideal People’s Republic that could have been but wasn’t, and the lived reality contradicting the ideal, the shadows of violent force barely concealed behind allegories and codes. This year I will look for the rush prints of the last two films in Kabul, try to discover whether the 35mm negatives and sync sound still exist, and continue to interview the original filmmakers, cast, and crew about the gap between the world onscreen and the world around the film, in a place where filmmaking itself was a dangerous enterprise.

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