Majid Majidi (in feature films like “Baran”) is one of the Iranian directors who has compassionately dealt with the plight of Afghan refugees. “Barefoot to Harat” records his trip to Afghanistan in November 2001, when he visited three large refugee camps created during the U.S. air attacks against the Taliban. While doc seems critical of misapplied foreign intervention in Afghanistan, primarily American but not limited to that, its main thrust is humanitarian. The film has a problem maintaining its focus, however, and really only springs to life when it deals with two ragged little boys. Forums for political docus rep pic’s market.
Off-screen, Majidi warns that his crew was not well received by the terrified people wandering through the desert in search of food and shelter. Few seem willing to talk with him. Refugees far outnumber tents in the camps, and many families have to live in holes dug in the bare ground. People celebrate victories over the brutal Taliban, but the air raids have created new orphans with dust-caked faces. A sandstorm, an infant’s funeral, kids flying kites at sunset are all captured in colorful images unusually fine for a video documentary.