I woke up bright and early this morning to have a wide ranging chat with Najeeb Mirza, director of The Sweetest Embrace: Return to Afghanistan, about the different challenges in making of the documentary and the danger of making film in places like Afghanistan, etc. This documentary takes you on a beautiful and yet dangerous journey by Soorgul and Amir to see their families who they haven’t seen for 16 years.
This is a very well made documentary, highly recommended. Screening time of the film is available from 2008 Calgary International Film Festival here.
Here is an excerpt of the film synopsis,
“The only thing I want God to bestow on me is to sit by my parents and smell their scent.” – Amir
Soorgul was only 10 when he said goodbye to his family in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. Crossing into Soviet Tajikistan over the turbulent Amu Darya River, he clutched the sides of a wooden gondola as it slowly it made its way to the other side.
He was supposed to spend a year studying in Tajikistan, but it would take 16 years and a journey to Canada before he could return to his village.
Soorgul was one of many Afghan children sent to Tajikistan during the Soviet occupation of their country. When the Soviet Union collapsed, civil war broke out on both sides of the border and the children were left stranded. He and a few of his schoolmates were able to leave Tajikistan only after many years, when Canada accepted them as refugees.
In The Sweetest Embrace Soorgul and Amir—two of these forgotten boys of Afghanistan—return to their country in search of their families.