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Movie review: A Kandahar Away

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Aisha Jamal, the writer and director of the film is a remarkable immigrant who has successfully established herself as a documentary and film-maker. Her productions have played at several festivals.

Born in Afghanistan, Aisha’s family fled the land during the Western intervention of 1991, she uses her films, mostly documentaries, to tell uncommon and untold stories of coloured people, including herself.

In A Kandahar Away, Aisha turns the camera on her own family. The central character, Abdul, Aisha’s father hears about Kandahar in Saskatchewan, which draws him to the land immediately. Abdul’s discovery of the dwindling Saskatchewan hamlet of Kandahar, is not a passing coincidence but a project of persuasion. He move to learn more of the land and also own it just the way he did it back in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

He buys the land – eight empty lots, hoping to bequeath it to his five children as their inheritance. The now urbane family, upon hearing of the purchase and possibility of inheriting it, decide to pay a visit to the place. Aisha documents this trip, a rather unusual family vacation. What transpires on their journey is not only a humorous depiction of a clash of generations, cultures, but also the uncanny connection between two nations; the lands linked by conflict and the realisation that our identity is deeply rooted in the land.

The film is the story of one man’s determination to remember his country and honour his new land, Canada, which is skilfully portrayed by Aisha.

On this episode of the Immigrant Life Podcast, the Canadian Narrative, our guest is the film-maker Aisha Jamal. She talks about why she made this film and what kind of reactions she has received from immigrant communities. She share her family’s story, her father’s longing for his land and the meaning it holds for him that the small square of land in rural Saskatchewan is called Kandahar.

We hope you find solace in other immigrants’ stories. We hope you share your valuable insights to make the journey of other immigrants less challenging and more comforting just like Aisha does through her film – A Kandahar Away.

Click here to listen to this podcast and many more insightful episodes.

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