Arts & Entertainment

The Shallows Of Kabul

Oppression in society is effectively brought to the screen in this dark and arresting French animated drama based on the Algerian novel by the same name.

Set in 1998 the story surrounds two loving couples living in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, which is under constant threat of terrorist attacks mainly from Taliban insurgents.

Their controlled lifestyles under the regime of the extremist Muslim faith is fully explored, where music is banned and women are forced to wear a burka in public. The barbaric stoning of women in public executions is also practised for what would be deemed as minor offences in westernised countries.

It was quite ambitious bringing this story to the screen as an animated feature. Devoid of stereotyped cartoon characters the merciless violence and mental duress these communities endure is depicted.

“We must live and fight for our true values in this battered country!” screams a female character who strives for freedom and change. “But God created women too didn’t he?” questions a man who is then reprimanded and forced to pray.

This is by no means enjoyable entertainment, but it’s a film which must be watched. It’s harrowing and emotionally draining. Audiences should feel empathy towards many of the characters who believe that a flicker of humanity remains as the young offer hope for a better future. (MMo)

★★★★ ½