A Flickering Truth
Time Out says
A look into the archives of Afghanistan's oldest film company
Documentary subjects don’t come much more niche and nerdy than film archiving in Afghanistan. But ‘A Flickering Truth’ is more universal than its subject matter (and psuedo-poetic title) might suggest. This is about how film preserves a culture, keeping it safe for future generations to rediscover – which is particularly important when that culture has been buried under four decades of war and rubble.
Our guide is Ibrahim Arify, whose work as an actor-director for the Afghan Film company was interrupted when he was arrested by the Mujaheddin. He’s been living in Germany since the 1980s, but returns to see what’s left of the company’s old store of 16mm film stock. At 91 minutes, ‘A Flickering Truth’ rumbles along rather slowly, and it doesn’t help that Ibrahim and his employees are a fairly serious bunch. But there are moments of real beauty here: hazy snippets of ancient, otherworldly documentary footage; the tears of an actress seeing herself on screen as a teenager, before everything went to hell; and, most movingly, the closing montage of Afghan villagers watching in amazement as the past unspools before their eyes.