Writing this on Remembrance Sunday, there’s no better time to meditate on the human cost and victims of modern warfare. There have been many documentaries and films written about the futility of war, but in the modern arenas of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan (to name but a few) the emphasis is normally about the involvement of Western powers. In Tell Spring Not to Come This Year co-directors Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy tell the story of the war in Afghanistan from the perspective of those Afghan fighting it.
At the time NATO are pulling-out of Afghanistan, Helmand Province is as dangerous as ever. Tell Spring Not to Come This Year follows a unit of the Afghan National Army over the course of their first year of fighting against the Taliban. Albeit trained by the Americans, they are clearly unprepared and uncoordinated, with an absence of leadership and support from those in charge. We follow the recruits as they come to terms with losing their friends and being thrown into a dangerous battle to hold the strategic town of Sangin.
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year is not a sensationalist documentary concerned with broadcasting its message by shocking an audience. It’s an intimate portrait of the lives of these fighters. We learn their hopes for the future and their fears for the present, along with why they joined-up in the first place. For some it’s through a sense of patriotism, whilst others see it as a way out of poverty. It’s refreshing to see a film from the perspective of those abandoned to pick up the pieces when the rich countries have had enough.
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year is out in cinemas on Friday.