Tell Spring Not To Come This Year

 

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Unexpectedly this view of Afghan soldiers in Helmand province brings fresh insights and possesses rare quality as filmmaking.


On paper this film may give the impression of being an unnecessary addition to the existing body of films about the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Although it deals with events following the withdrawal of Nato and American troops in 2014, the fact that the Afghan National Army authorised the filming could lead one to suppose that constraints would limit its honesty – but not so.

  

 Tell Spring Not To Come This Year

 

The film features the members of one company and uses voiceover comments by two of them, Commander Jalaluddin who applied for officer training and Private Sunnatullah who admits to having joined up because he was unemployed.  Both men are ready to fight for their country but regard their politicians as untrustworthy. Attitudes are in some cases critical when it comes to the motives of the Americans and other outsiders for becoming involved, but their departure leaves the Afghans fighting on, often with limited experience, in a situation which seemingly could go on indefinitely.

 

It is apt, then, that the film’s title comes from a poem by Khalilullah Khalili that ends with the lament ‘Alas, my country’. Even so, what emerges here is how ordinary the soldiers appear (so many of them young) and consequently we can readily identify with them regardless of the fact that the importance of religion to these men is a striking feature that differentiates them from so many other soldiers.

 

As an example of cinema, this work by Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy is exceptional. The former when functioning as photographer makes splendid use of colour and ’Scope and the length is ideally judged. The last shot of an empty room illustrates the quality, being an ideal image on which to end the film and one held for exactly the right length of time. This is an eloquent piece of work that earns its place despite the large number of pre-existing films dealing with comparable but not identical subject matter. 

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring Commander Jalaluddin and Private Sunnatullah.


Dir Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy, Pro Saeed Taji Farouky, McEvoy and Elizabeth C. Jones, Ph Saeed Taji Farouky, Ed Gareth Keogh, Music Joe Lewis.


Saboteur Media/a Tourist With a Typewriter production/Ponda films etc.-Soda Pictures.
84 mins.  UK/USA. 2015.  Rel: 13 November 2015. Cert. 15.