Frontrunner

Having finished second in the 2002 election for an interim prez (won by current head Hamid Karzai), Jalal's earnest campaign proves serious if somewhat quixotic, with Williams' cameras catching much of the action.

With:
With: Dr. Massouda Jalal, Zalmay Khalilzad, Rina Amiri, Halema Kazem, Mohammad Kazimi, Christian Marie, Mir Habib Sohaili, Hamida Aman, John Sifton, Nasrine Gross.

Though it seemed that a woman running for the Afghanistan presidency would never be more than a fantasy, as it was in Samira Makhmalbaf’s 2003 drama “At Five in the Afternoon,” the reality is played out in “Frontrunner,” D.C.-based documaker Virginia Williams’ solid report on Dr. Massouda Jalal’s 2004 bid for the country’s top office. Having finished second in the 2002 election for an interim prez (won by current head Hamid Karzai), Jalal’s earnest campaign proves serious if somewhat quixotic, with Williams’ cameras catching much of the action. Global tube sales look like a slam dunk.

Tracked through the months-long effort, Jalal is shown developing into a confident candidate with a little tweaking from European media handlers who try to remain culturally sensitive. Though she stresses that she’s not merely a women’s issues candidate, Jalal — a medical doctor and mom — frames her policies in a maternal tone, which makes her untenable to male traditionalists. If Williams fails in her account, it’s in explaining Jalal’s stances beyond vague platitudes of “healing” her war-ravaged nation. Election day polling-place snafus will be all too painfully reminiscent for Yank viewers.

Frontrunner

Production: A New View Films production. Produced by Virginia Williams. Executive producer, Rory O'Connor. Co-producer, Halima Kazem. Directed by Virginia Williams.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Gary Keith Griffin; editor, Steve Armstrong; music, Jerry Busher, Brian Liu, Joel Langley, Guru Honari, Sayeed Hussain. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, March 27, 2008. (In Miami Film Festival -- World and Ibero-American Documentary Competition. Also in Slamdance Film Festival.) English, Dari, Pashtu dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Dr. Massouda Jalal, Zalmay Khalilzad, Rina Amiri, Halema Kazem, Mohammad Kazimi, Christian Marie, Mir Habib Sohaili, Hamida Aman, John Sifton, Nasrine Gross.

More Film

  • James Gunn

    James Gunn Responds to Being Fired From ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

    Though it seemed that a woman running for the Afghanistan presidency would never be more than a fantasy, as it was in Samira Makhmalbaf’s 2003 drama “At Five in the Afternoon,” the reality is played out in “Frontrunner,” D.C.-based documaker Virginia Williams’ solid report on Dr. Massouda Jalal’s 2004 bid for the country’s top office. […]

  • SUICIDE SQUAD

    How Tapping a Female Writer for the Harley Quinn Movie Changes 'Everything'

    Though it seemed that a woman running for the Afghanistan presidency would never be more than a fantasy, as it was in Samira Makhmalbaf’s 2003 drama “At Five in the Afternoon,” the reality is played out in “Frontrunner,” D.C.-based documaker Virginia Williams’ solid report on Dr. Massouda Jalal’s 2004 bid for the country’s top office. […]

  • Jennifer Connelly

    Jennifer Connelly Joins Tom Cruise's 'Top Gun: Maverick'

    Though it seemed that a woman running for the Afghanistan presidency would never be more than a fantasy, as it was in Samira Makhmalbaf’s 2003 drama “At Five in the Afternoon,” the reality is played out in “Frontrunner,” D.C.-based documaker Virginia Williams’ solid report on Dr. Massouda Jalal’s 2004 bid for the country’s top office. […]

  • 'Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms'

    Film Review: 'Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms'

    Though it seemed that a woman running for the Afghanistan presidency would never be more than a fantasy, as it was in Samira Makhmalbaf’s 2003 drama “At Five in the Afternoon,” the reality is played out in “Frontrunner,” D.C.-based documaker Virginia Williams’ solid report on Dr. Massouda Jalal’s 2004 bid for the country’s top office. […]

  • Mammia Mia Here We Go Again

    Box Office: 'Mamma Mia' Sequel Heads Toward Big $41 Million Opening

    Though it seemed that a woman running for the Afghanistan presidency would never be more than a fantasy, as it was in Samira Makhmalbaf’s 2003 drama “At Five in the Afternoon,” the reality is played out in “Frontrunner,” D.C.-based documaker Virginia Williams’ solid report on Dr. Massouda Jalal’s 2004 bid for the country’s top office. […]

  • Guardians of the Galaxy James Gun

    James Gunn Fired From 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'

    Though it seemed that a woman running for the Afghanistan presidency would never be more than a fantasy, as it was in Samira Makhmalbaf’s 2003 drama “At Five in the Afternoon,” the reality is played out in “Frontrunner,” D.C.-based documaker Virginia Williams’ solid report on Dr. Massouda Jalal’s 2004 bid for the country’s top office. […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content