War is always costly and the human toll is normally devastating to those countries, communities and groups involved. However, the cultural cost of conflicts is less widely reported. Terror groups, primarily daesh, al-Qaeda and Shabbab, have shown their appetite for destroying historical sites of importance and attempting to annihilate anything which doesn’t correspond to their world-view. In A Flickering Truth, Pietra Brettkelly focusses on the devastating effect of religious dogma on Afghanistan’s film industry.

Led by the mercurial Ibrahim Arify, a former filmmaker who fled Afghanistan after being imprisoned by the Mujahidin, a group of committed people attempt to rebuild Afghan Film. The now almost penniless and derelict headquarters has been presided over by Isaaq Yousif, who has dedicated his life and lived in the Archives for decades. The film shows the devastating damage inflicted over decades of oppression and the dangers and problems they face today in a now utterly fragmented society

A Flickering Truth is a fantastic documentary which highlights the goal of cultural genocide espoused by terror organisations. It also demonstrates how dangerous Afghanistan still is for those who don’t share their views. There’s also the bonus of seeing snippets of some incredibly rare archive footage as we discover the lengths they had to go to in order to preserve the afghani cinematic history.


A Flickering Truth is out in cinemas on Friday.