With 3D, IMAX, D-Box, and more enhanced viewing experiences offered to the moviegoer, the basic allure of cinema has never really changed: taking audiences to worlds they’ve never seen. Documentaries have the power to do just that, offering a window into the lives, places, and perspectives that viewers may not be able to witness firsthand. The upcoming “The Land Of The Enlightened,” making its World Premiere this month at the Sundance Film Festival, promises to do just that.
The first feature film of Belgian photographer Pieter-Jan De Pue, shot in 16mm, drops in on the children of an Afghan tribe who dig up and sell old Soviet mines, all while dreaming of a new future over a distant horizon. In this exclusive clip we get a sense of the poetry and breathtaking visuals that ‘Enlightened’ aims to transmit. Here’s the official synopsis:
Shot in stunning 16mm over the course of seven years in Afghanistan, the astonishing first feature film of Belgian photographer Pieter-Jan De Pue combines a vérité portrait of a nation and its young people with the magic-reality of their dreams. In the vast mountain region of the northern Wakhan Corridor (“The Roof of the World”), a gang of nomadic children raid caravans and trade scavenged Soviet landmines, raw lapis lazuli and black opium for food and fuel. Possessing an unfaltering talent for improvisation and an inexhaustible eagerness to learn, they navigate a harsh reality as Western forces begin to pull out of the country, all the while dreaming of themselves as warriors and kings in a future Afghanistan. Fusing their vivid imaginings with documented reality, De Pue has created an exhilarating story that pushes the boundaries of nonfiction filmmaking.
“The Land Of The Enlightened” will have its first screening at Sundance on Sunday, January 24th at at 6 PM. Watch below.