Filmed throughout three years, the film follows students and teachers at a school in an old neighborhood of Kabul that is slowly rebuilding from past conflicts. We are introduced to people like Sohrab, a boy who hopes his love of books will lead to a life of the mind, not manual labor; his brother, Yaldash, who feels forced to work but dreams of the luxury of studying; and teacher Nik Mohammed, whose memories – illustrated with archival sequences – open a window into Afghanistan’s past and politics. Interweaving the modern history of Afghanistan with present-day portraits, the film offers an intimate and nuanced vision of a society living in the shadow of war.
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