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Frame by Frame This is Exile The Land of the Enlightened

The Land Of The Enlightened

Pieter-Jan de Pue

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Fiction and documentary merge seamlessly in this cinematographic journey into the beauty of war-torn Afghanistan. As the American soldiers are getting ready to leave, children band up as outlaws patrolling trade routes, selling explosives extracted from abandoned landmines and using rusty tanks as playgrounds.


Nasir is a teenager, and yet he is already the leader of a gang of young adolescents patrolling the smuggling routes across the Pamir mountains. The transports of precious lapis lazuli and raw opium that traverse this area are not allowed to pass through without giving up part of their merchandise. And the mines in this area are not only dangerous, they are also highly valuable. The children carefully dig them out and sell them to other small labourers who work in the mines. Meanwhile, they let their fantasies run wild and dream about a better future in their once beautiful land.

Marvellously beautiful, poetic debut by Belgian filmmaker Pieter-Jan De Pue. From 2007 on, he travelled many times to Afghanistan as a photographer for various organizations, including the United Nations and the International Red Cross. He visited the mines, the poppy fields, the smuggling routes and minefields which eke out a basic existence for the local population, including many children orphaned by war.


Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, The 2016, 87 min.


Spoken language: English, Persian

Subtitles: English

Official website:


Savage Film

+32 27114291

Dutch distribution:

Periscoop Film

+31 208204941

World sales:

Films Boutique

+49 3069537850

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Talkshows & debates

The Land of the Enlightened: introduction and Q&A with director Pieter Jan de Pue

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 21:30

Introduction by and Q&A with director Pieter Jan de Pue, moderated by Maarten Stoltz.

The Land of the Enlightened: Introduction and Q&A with regisseur Pieter Jan de Pue

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 19:00

Introduction by and Q&A with director Pieter Jan de Pue, moderated by Dana Linssen.

Human rights
health, illness, addiction, medical ethics
war & armed conflict
children and youth
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