France/Afghanistan, 2008, 94 minutes
Thu, Apr 30 / 9:00 / Kabuki / KABU30K
Fri, May 1 / 6:15 / Kabuki / KABU01K
Sun, May 3 / 3:45 / PFA / KABU03P
Set in the sun-soaked streets of modern day Kabul, Kabuli Kid displays a marvelous sense of comic restraint in the unfolding of its neorealist fable, offering a detailed glimpse into Afghanistan by lovingly presenting life as it is lived. Wry but ultimately optimistic Khaled spends his days driving a taxi through Kabul’s chaotic and war-torn terrain, griping about his city’s shortcomings to his clients. Throughout it all, he struggles to provide for his rather large family (comprised only of daughters, much to his shame). Shortly after espousing this very point to his latest fare, an anonymous woman in full burka, he discovers her infant son in the back of his cab. Refusing to believe that any mother could simply abandon a child, Khaled reluctantly engages in a fruitless search to return the baby that no one seems to want. With a well-honed survival instinct at odds with his kind-hearted nature, Khaled attempts to alleviate himself of his burden while increasingly assuming responsibility for the care of the child. In the midst of this high-stakes premise spanning 36 hours, first-time fiction filmmaker Barmak Akram wisely chooses to focus on the simple yet delicate details of daily life, gently grounding the film in a sense of local authenticity. Deftly capturing elements of screwball scenario through a naturalistic lens, Kabuli Kid crafts a richly human portrait of a complex city.
In Farsi with English subtitles. Presented in association with the Arab Film Festival. New Directors Prize Contender. Photograph by Fabrizio Maltese.