The Beast
Guy Lochhead, 08/09/10
1988 film about a lost Russian tank during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. The heroes are Mujahadeen, speaking Pashtun. The baddies are Russians speaking English. The film was a commercial flop, but has since become a cult favourite. Its eeriness resonates even more strongly given the current occupation of Afghanistan. The Beast asks us to sympathise with the Afghan characters so often portrayed as sinister, uncooperative and expendable. It’s a surprisingly even-handed approach, in a film that transcends its Hollywood origins, but I don’t want to include it. Partly because it’s a thorny issue I don’t have enough of a clue about yet, and partly because I don’t feel that there is much to be learnt from the film that can’t be shown in other ways (using, for example, the rich ancient history or landscape – something not constantly connected to war).

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