In a quest for taking a viewer beyond the headlines, Seamus Murphy embarks on a journey through Afghanistan, the land he has grown to love and its culture and people that never ceased to amaze.
A long-term project by acclaimed documentary photographer Murphy with a contribution of the footage from the Afghan Film Organization and Augustin Pictures was produced by the award-winning New York-based multimedia production studio MediaStorm. Based on 14 trips between 1994 and 2010, “A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan” charts people’s journey to find their way in the country deluged by the political upheaval. From the Soviet invasion and the mujahideen resistance to the Taliban and the American occupation, the film deftly traces thirty years of Afghan history telling a tale of war through the eyes of ordinary people. In times of war, there is loss and fear but there is also a place for hope, dreams, and even love. The production portrays war giving it a face. The toll should not be esteemed in numbers. Be it a commander of the mujahideen resistance or a member of a typical Afghan family, the life of a man is equally precious and fragile once the war knocks on the door.
“A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan” finds a compelling way to deliver its intricate web of stories by utilizing multiple media and fusing photography, audio-visual material, and external footage. Its dramaturgy follows a clear structure by plotting different chapters of Afghan history. The presentation of the film, therefore, is undeniably comprehensible and adds an educational value. Its powerful black-and-white imagery is captivating, enduring, and will be distinctly ingrained into one’s memory.
Candid, with much tender and care, Murphy tells the story of Afghanistan. They say, “No one comes to Afghanistan once.” Indeed, there is something about this land that captures imagination and allures to come back. But as the shadow of the war lingers long, “there is a moment when you hold your breath knowing that something so bright might just become dark again.”
USA, 2011, MediaStorm, webdocumentary.