Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Do stories like this only come from Afghan filmmaking?
"FireDancer," the first Afghan film to be submitted for an Academy Award nomination, made its Southern California premiere Sunday with a background story worthy of its own movie.
For starters, the producer is accused of decapitating the director and stuffing the head in his refrigerator.
And when the movie was shown last year in the same Kabul stadium where the Taliban had executed its enemies, the filmmakers were caught in a tug of war between fundamentalists protesting scenes of women in sleeveless dresses and moderates who cheered Western clothing.
Then, to comply with Academy rules that the film play in its nation of origin, producers carried the film from one Kabul theater to another by bicycle. [...]
The film was such a hit that a local producer suggested they enter it for an Oscar in best foreign language film, a first for Afghanistan.
To meet academy rules, the film had to be screened for a week in its home country. Each day the film was screened at a different theater, each building riddled with bullet holes.
By the second showing, word of the film had spread. All shows sold out, Khadem said. Tickets were being hawked on the black market, and security guards had to whip people to keep them in line. "We're hoping to have this kind of problem [if] we open in Westwood," Roche said.