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Film / At Five in the Afternoon

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A movie about life in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime. Made in 2003 by the Iranian director Samira Makhmalbaf.

The movie follows the young woman Noqreh and her family. Nogreh longs for freedom and emancipation, and goes to school behind her father's back.

The father is portrayed in a very ambivalent light. On the one hand, he's a narrow-minded oppressor who would do all in his power to break his daughter if only he had the time for it. On the other hand, he simply don't have the time and energy to oppress her very much - because he's desperate to keep her, his daughter-in-law and his grandson alive. They are all starving, and his business just isn't working out. Plus, he's the only one who know that his son was killed in the war. He just don't have the heart to tell the his daughter that she lost his brother or his daughter-in-law that she lost her husband, so he have to bear that burden alone.

Has examples of

  • After the End: Set in a local post-apocalyptic world, a little world bombed back to stoneage and filled with little suffering people.
  • Crapsack World: Of a particularly brutal kind.
  • Desolation Shot: And that's where they live.
  • Despair Event Horizon
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: the evil taliban patriarch is simply trying to feed his family.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: The father is feebly trying to be this.
  • Humans Are Flawed: In general, but they do try.
  • Humans Are Good: Although they fail a a lot in that regard.
  • Troubled Sympathetic Bigot: The protagonist's father is a Taliban who wants women to be passive analphabets dressed in Burqua. However, he doesn't really have any time oppressing his daughter, because he's busy trying to keep her and the rest of his family alive. He fails. The movie ends with his grandson and only male heir dying in his arms from starvation. He's heartbroken over the few small liberties she takes in his face, and because she loves him and doesn't want to break his heart further she keeps it secret from him that she's actually learning to read.