The Land of the Enlightened
Shot in stunning 16mm over the course of 7 years in Afghanistan, The Land of the Enlightened is the astonishing first feature of Pieter-Jan De Pue, which 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 a talent for improvisation and an inexhaustible eagerness to learn, they navigate a harsh reality as U.S. 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. World premiere, Sundance 2016.