Story of the return of political scientist Rangin Dadfar Spanta to Afghanistan following 25 years of living in exile in Germany reps a timely inquiry into a topical subject: difficult attempts of a nation to evolve from warlord rule to democracy. Pic offers an indelible snapshot of post-Taliban life that should be welcomed in docu lineups far and wide.

The story of the return of political scientist Rangin Dadfar Spanta to Afghanistan following 25 years of living in exile in Germany, “The Return of the Khan” reps a timely inquiry into a topical subject: the difficult attempts of a nation to evolve from warlord rule to being a democracy. Deeply personal in its approach and emboldened with a vivid sense of being a stranger in one’s own homeland, pic offers an indelible snapshot of post-Taliban life that should be welcomed in docu lineups at festivals far and wide.

What makes Spanta’s story unique is that in addition to being a college professor, he is the eldest son of a once-powerful tribal leader (or khan). So, Spanta’s homecoming is not just about him taking a teaching position at the U. of Kabul, but about the role he is expected to play in the rebuilding of the war-torn nation. Pic offers no easy answers, ultimately becoming an affecting meditation on the very idea of a home, and how home means one thing to Spanta and something completely different to his German-born children.

The Return of the Khan

Germany

Production

A Zinnober Film production. Produced by Tom Meffert, Dieter Zeppenfeld. Directed, written by Tom Meffert, Dagmar Diebels.

Crew

Camera (color, video), Diebels, Meffert, Aarasch Dadfar Spanta, Souhail Taheri; editors, Meffert, Diebels; music, Anouar Brahem, Daoud Sarkhosh. Reviewed on videocassette at Vancouver Film Festival (Nonfiction Features), Sept. 27, 2003. Arabic, Afghani, German dialogue. Running time: 72 MIN.

With

Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Hafiza Dadfar Spanta, Frangis Dadfar Spanta, Aarasch Dadfar Spanta.
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