Set and shot in post-U.S.-liberation Afghanistan, The Black Tulip is noteworthy for its existence alone—and not, unfortunately, for much else. Afghan-born and L.A.-based, filmmaker Sonia Nassery Cole evidently means to do right by her native country, but the authentic setting is overwhelmed by the falsehoods endemic to her current address. The horrors depicted in the film—the Taliban executing a bride and groom at the marriage altar, then shelling the mourners at their funeral—are hardly far-fetched. But the film double-underlines every emotional moment, yoking its lightly sketched characters to a plot so familiar that no sense of life lived can fit through the cracks.
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