The United States ended its occupation of Afghanistan in the spring of 2021. While leaving, they left behind an estimated seven billions worth of military equipment.
The director Ibrahim Nash’at arrived in Afganistan soon after the United States’ departure, intending to document the first steps of the Taliban taking over the country. For a year, he followed the Taliban commander Mawlawi Mansour and his troops while they wondered about the remnants of the US occupation.
The film Hollywoodgate, named after one of the locations, a former United States base, deals with the Taliban. The guerrilla soldiers reflect on the challenges of state administration, often on a very mundane level. One recurring problem is how some of the medicine left behind by the United States is expired and must be separated from the ones that are still usable. Suicide bombing squads participate in a military parade.
Taliban soldiers get to rummage through the liqueur cabinets of the American soldiers and marvel at the hand sanitiser dispenser. While justifying the restriction of women’s rights, the soldiers come across exactly how they are: country boys who are confused about the big world and its events.
Juhana Pettersson (translated by Jenni Kaunisto)