SIFF Says:While the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photograph was a crime. After the regime’s ouster from Kabul in 2001, a fledgling free press began to emerge, and a photography revolution was born. In FRAME BY FRAME, directors Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli follow four photographers in the vanguard of that revolution: Massoud Hossaini, who received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography; his wife, Farzana Wahidy, who chronicles the lives of Afghan women; Wakil Kohsar, whose work focuses on the margins of society; and Najibullah Musafar, who teaches photography in addition to his own photojournalism. Believing that photographic images are integral to a country’s identity, these four seek to reframe their country for its citizens and for the world. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, the stakes are high, and the number of cases of violence against journalists is rising. Exquisitely crafted and emotionally powerful, FRAME BY FRAME offers an exceptional illustration of the power of art, and its price.
Afghanistan was a country without photography during the Taliban, and this doc follows the core crew of four photojournalists—one of them a woman—trying to rebuild the practice. Their story is incredible. We see them fighting for access, getting bombed but taking pictures rather than panicking, visiting children who are past subjects they watched nearly die, looking into the eyes of women who are never seen. “And also I will be seeing the self-immolation section in the hospital” is a sample line. Maybe that sounds depressing. But seeing matters. See this film, and tell everyone you know to see it, too. (JEN GRAVES)
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