Films & Schedules

  • Kabuli Kid

  • Barmak Akram

94 minutes

Production Company:
Fidélité Films/Afghan Film/4 A 4 Productions/ Auteurs associés
Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier
Barmak Akram
Production Designer:
Mohamed Yousef Ghouchan
Laurent Fleutot
Hervé de Luze, Pierre Haberer, Elise Fievet
Pascal Villard
Barmak Akram
Principal Cast: Hadji Gul, Valery Shatz, Amélie Glenn, Mohammad Chafi Sahel, Helena Alam

International Sales Agent:
Wild Bunch

TIFF Tags: First Time Feature  Poverty 

Tuesday September 0909:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Wednesday September 1007:30PM VARSITY 6 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1212:30PM VARSITY 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Afghanistan increasingly occupies the headlines these days, so it is a welcome sign of optimism that a native has returned to his country to make this film. Though Barmak Akram's film is set in Kabul, the war is not an immediate presence. Helicopters swirl overhead, but apart from their distant drone, life is in many respects normal to the naked eye.

Kabuli Kid focuses on a taxi driver who navigates the chaos of the local streets, picking up fares and noting how things have improved since the Taliban controlled the city. But when Khaled gives a ride to a young mother, his routine lift triggers an unforeseeable series of events. She gets into his cab with her baby boy – and leaves the child behind when she gets out. Once Khaled realizes that there is an infant in the back seat, he frantically returns to where he dropped its mother off. But of course, she has disappeared into the crowds.

What ensues is a lovingly told tale, reminiscent of many of the great Iranian films. The power and emotion of the film reside in the carefully observed and tellingly real details of daily life. Attempting to find the mother, Khaled goes to the local police office and to an orphanage, but is met with indifference and obstacles at every turn. Realizing that he will have to care for the child, at least in the short term, he takes the foundling home. Ironically, Khaled has only fathered daughters, and longs for a son. Even his own father thinks he should keep the boy. But he finally decides to post a reward and see if the mother comes forward.

Kabuli Kid tells its story in classic neo-realist terms, but it also includes a thinly veiled metaphor for the state of the country. Barmak Akram portrays the streets and interiors of Kabul with a knowing eye. While the film is full of the touches of a documentarian, the director also knows how to steer his story into satisfying dramatic territory.

Piers Handling

Barmak Akram was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and attended l'École Nationale Supérieure des Métiers de l'Image et du Son (La Fémis). He has created several short and full-length documentaries for television, including Ralentir école (97), Mon retour à Kaboul, 21 ans après (02), Les clowns à Kaboul (03) and Voyage des les archives de la télévision afghane (04). Kabuli Kid (08) is his feature-directing debut.

Cadillac People's Choice Award