Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi

Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi

Director: Ian Olds

Cast: Ian Olds, Ajmal Naqshbandi, Christian Parenti

     
 

In 2006, documentary filmmaker Ian Olds (Operation: Dreamland) spent time in Afghanistan with journalist Christian Parenti and his "fixer," Ajmal Naqshbandi. Olds interviewed Naqshbandi extensively, trying to develop an understanding of the relationship between Western journalist and their Afghan guides/translators, as part of the larger subject of the war in…  See more details below

Overview

In 2006, documentary filmmaker Ian Olds (Operation: Dreamland) spent time in Afghanistan with journalist Christian Parenti and his "fixer," Ajmal Naqshbandi. Olds interviewed Naqshbandi extensively, trying to develop an understanding of the relationship between Western journalist and their Afghan guides/translators, as part of the larger subject of the war in Afghanistan. Olds discovered a fragmented society in which corruption was so rampant, that some otherwise rational Afghans, Naqshbandi included, began to wonder whether or not they might be better off under the iron fist of the Taliban. Six months later, Naqshbandi was kidnapped by the Taliban, along with the Italian journalist for whom he was working. As Olds follows the story of the kidnapping and the negotiations for the release of the hostages, he exposes ineptitude and hypocrisy among government officials, and a widespread (and justifiable) observation among Afghanis (including the friends and family of Naqshbandi that their lives do not seem to be worth as much to their own government as those of the Westerners among them. Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi had its North American premiere at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, in the World Documentary Competition, where Olds won the Best New Documentary Filmmaker Award.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi is an insightful and timely look at the harsh reality of wartime Afghanistan. The film is densely packed, as filmmaker Ian Olds navigates the treacherous waters of Afghani politics, in telling the tragic story of the eponymous translator/guide. The murderous Taliban are on one side, a venally corrupt and incompetent occupation-backed transitional government on the other, and Olds does a good job of showing how the increasingly cynical and despondent Afghan citizenry are stuck in the middle. Olds also raises ethical questions about the role of foreign journalists in Afghanistan, as he examines the fraught friendship between Naqshbandi and journalist Christian Parenti. Parenti, who served as a producer on the film, is clearly a decent sort, concerned with Naqshbandi's safety and interested in getting to know him as a person. It's also clear that Parenti's job, which serves an important function, would be impossible without Naqshbandi and others like him. But Fixer makes it clear that the relationship is also unavoidably exploitative, and that becomes painfully obvious as Parenti moves on, and Naqshbandi is kidnapped while working with another journalist. While the Taliban views Naqshbandi as a traitor, Olds's interviews with the fixer's justifiably angry friends and family paint a much more complex portrait of the doomed young man. Fixer offers a stunning, intricate, and sometimes despairing view of a complex and dangerous world, unseen by most Westerners.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/2010
UPC:
0728028033199
Original Release:
2009
Rating:
NR
Source:
G. Films
Time:
1:24:00

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