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Petri: The war in Afghanistan should be discussed through film genre as well

Text: FENA , FENA Photo/Almir Razić

SARAJEVO, August 15 (FENA) - As part of the Competition Program - Documentary Film of the 27th Sarajevo Film Festival, a film titled "The Same Dream" by Romanian author Vlad Petri was screened last night, bringing to us the other side of the country's participation in the war in Afghanistan within NATO troops.

In 29 minutes of the film, the director used a black-and-white technique, trying to evoke the cruelty that soldiers who cannot save civilians go through.

The film tells the story of a soldier who wished to remain anonymous and we do not see or hear his voice through the film, and he tells the story of a girl who needed help, but he could not help her due to military orders. After that, the soldier constantly dreams of her, as he says, her olive eyes that are desperately asking for help.

The film is based on a true event and is on the border of the documentary and feature genre, and brings the most sincere human emotion about a soldier affected by the brutality of war and a girl who found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The director in the film combines archival footage of the armed conflict in Afghanistan with videos from personal archives to tell the story of the cruelty of war from the perspective of invaders and civilians captured in wartime conditions.

Last night's screening was the world premiere of the film, and the author recalls that this is the right time to screen the film at a time marking the 20th anniversary of the war that took 157,000 lives and at the moment when the U.S. troops are withdrawing from the region.

"I was in Afghanistan in 2009. Talking about the war in Afghanistan is extremely important. We are the only country in the world that had a parade in honor of the "end" of that war, for which our president said that this war will go down in history as a victorious war," Petri pointed out in his address to the audience.

In a conversation with FENA Petri said that it is important to talk about this issue because the Romanian media draws a portrait of the great war and only talks about how important it is that Romania participated in the Afghan war, but not about the other side of it.

"When you look at the people in power saying that it is an honor to be part of that elite army and the chosen club it is very strange because they stay in their offices and give orders, and at the same time other people go there and die, but also kill other people, mostly innocent ones," he added.

He says that for Romania this was the first war after the Second World War where soldiers are fighting abroad as part of the Alliance, and Petri believes that this is an issue that needs to be discussed, especially now 20 years since the war started and when it is clear that that war was a failure.

"Now Afghanistan is again in the hands of the Taliban as it was 20 years ago. We have to ask ourselves why the war was fought and whether it was all worth it if things returned to the position they were before the invasion. Indeed, we have to ask questions about it," said the author.

He started working on the film earlier because he traveled to Afghanistan 11 years ago and was impressed and shocked by how it all looked. He called the situation there a hell on Earth.

"You see people who fight every day and when you think that people from Romania and other countries are going to that war, it really hits you and that is exactly why I started working on this film," Petri explained.

He announced that in the future he will probably make another film, do more interviews with soldiers or go to Afghanistan, although the situation there is very bad now, but he still does not have a clear plan.

He is currently working on a documentary that connects Romania with the Middle East, more precisely Iran. It is the story of female students who sent letters to each other and so we can see the parallel histories of Romania and Iran.

"I am very happy that my film was shown in Sarajevo at a festival like this one, where many people showed interest in watching new documentaries and asking questions. The audience here is great and this is a wonderful city," said the director of the film "The Same Dream" in an interview with FENA.