By: Trevor Chartrand
Sparse and atmospheric, writer/director Benjamin Gilmour’s Jirga is a visually stunning entry in this year’s TIFF lineup.
The film profiles Australian soldier Mike Wheeler (Sam Smith), who finds himself haunted by the memory of accidentally killing a civilian during his tour of Afghanistan. Seeking redemption, Mike returns to the Afghan village to reconcile with the family he destroyed.
Comprised of memorable wide-angle frames, the endless desert in Jirga is breathtaking. When combined with the film’s gentle pace, this feels like a classic Leone western – with a much more somber tone. A story promoting peace and redemption, the film condemns violence in a war-torn county. Mike’s journey is tactile and real, with interesting insight into the forgiving nature of cultures often misunderstood or misrepresented.
Jirga may not have a hyper-stylized narrative or complex characters, but it leaves viewers with plenty to ponder on; thematically, tonally, and philosophically.
Jirga screens at TIFF on:
Saturday, September 8 at 12:00 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre (press and industry)
Tuesday, September 11 at 7:15 p.m. @ Scotiabank Theatre
Thursday, September 13 at 9:30 a.m. @ TIFF Bell Lightbox
Sunday, September 16 at 3:45 p.m. @ Jackman Hall (AGO)
Language: Pashto, English
Runtime: 78 minutes
For more information on the festival, visit the official TIFF webpage here.
Buy tickets here.
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