SFF 2018: Review – Jirga

An extraordinary journey into the heart of Afghanistan in more ways than one. In Jirga we see the hustle and bustle of Kabul, the caves of a Taliban base and the remoteness of a village. Most significantly we gain insight into the Afghan people. They are will be willing to be violent, even kill, but they are also thoughtful and willing to carefully consider their actions.

During an engagement in Kandahar, an Australian soldier kills a local villager. Was the killing indiscriminate? Unnecessary? The soldier thinks it was and he sets off to return to the remote village of the killing to seek atonement. On the way he threads his way past militant groups, a singing taxi driver, beautiful yet ominous locations to find the village that haunts his mind.

The locations in the film are unpredictable and life threatening. The creation of the film was an extraordinary story in itself. Plans needed to be flexible if not abandoned all together. If a small opportunity presented itself to do some filming, it needed to be quickly taken.

Given its location, this is a film-on-the-run style documentary, letting all the visual majesty of the location take care of the visuals. If you want a great looking film in Afghanistan, just point the camera at it. There are some jaw dropping vistas in this film.

There is a strong theme of forgiveness in the film. Seeking it and deciding if it should be given. It’s the most important aspect of war, but the most difficult.

Michael Collins


Jirga screens on June 8, 9 & 11, plus Wednesday June 20 at a Sydney Film Festival Back By Popular Demand screening .

Friday 8th of June, 2018

You may also like