With Afghan president Hamid Karzai back in the news following a spate of bizarre comments and accusations of health problems, it’s a good time to review the controversial 2009 election which swept him back to power. As a pictorial record of the run-up to polling day, focusing on three challengers – populist Abdullah Abdullah, intellectual Ashraf Ghani and barefoot man-of-the-people Ramazan Bashardost – ‘Vote Afghanistan!’ works fine. But it fails to probe any deeper, assuming a large amount of knowledge on the part of the viewer – not least with regard to the country’s ethnic and religious make-up – and failing adequately to outline the differences between the four main contenders. It doesn’t help that there’s a montage sequence every few minutes: shots of cheering crowds, dusty roads and humble politicians are all very well, but they can’t provide the context and analysis which this complex story demands.
Friday April 23 2010
Havana Marking, Mardik Martin