JIRGA

Empire (Australasia) - - ON SCREEN - GE­ORGE PALATHINGAL

OUT NOW / RATED M / 78 MINS

DI­REC­TOR Ben­jamin Gil­mour

CAST Sam Smith, Mo­ham­mad Mosam, Ke­fayat Lag Hu­mani

A JIRGA, A sub­ti­tle tells us at the start of this solemn but af­fect­ing film, is an “Afghan court of tribal el­ders”. It is this court that will de­cide the fate of our pro­tag­o­nist, an Aus­tralian soldier (Smith) who re­turns to the dusty plains near Kabul three years af­ter a mis­sion there in an at­tempt to atone for his mil­i­tary ac­tions. Writer-di­rec­tor Gil­mour is in no rush to tell a tale where lit­tle hap­pens, but what does care­fully builds ten­sion through un­com­fort­able si­lences and ner­vous cross­ings of paths. It will even­tu­ally ask fa­mil­iar ques­tions about war and its con­se­quences but deals with the an­swers it of­fers with com­mend­able sen­si­tiv­ity.

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