Jung (War): In the Land of the Mujaheddin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jung (War): In the Land of the Mujaheddin 

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Here's what it looks like on the ground, if you think you can handle it. During 1999 and early 2000, Italian TV documentarians Fabrizio Lazzaretti and Alberto Vendemmiati lugged their video cameras through the snowy mountains and barren valleys northeast of Kabul, following an Italian surgeon and a British nurse as they tried to build a hospital for casualties of Afghanistan's 20-year civil war (or jung). This 2000 video, receiving its Chicago premiere, records frontline skirmishes between the Taliban and the mujaheddin soldiers of the Northern Alliance, and though the latter are portrayed as popular heroes (including the recently assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud), Lazzaretti and Vendemmiati go out of their way to fathom the cruelty and religious fanaticism of the Taliban. The film is devastating in its treatment of the war's innocent victims and the medical team's desperate attempts to aid them; in one particularly heartrending sequence, a badly injured boy asks to be put out of his misery. This is essential viewing, and not just for artistic reasons. 114 min. Admission is free. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Sunday, October 14, 12:30, 773-281-4114.

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