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The Land of the Enlightened

Shot over the course of seven years on 16mm, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue's documentary surveys Afghanistan and what remains for the next generation, seen through the eyes of resilient children, who have adapted to their harsh environment. As American soldiers prepare to leave, the film meets children from the Kuchi tribe, who dig out explosives from old Soviet mines and sell the devices. In turn, another gang of youngsters controls the smuggling of lapis lazuli through the mountains of Pamir. The innocence of these boys is sacrificed at an early age yet they still find some time to play, using the shells of rusting tanks as climbing frames.