Christophe De Ponfilly’s L’étoile du soldat launched the third annual Montreal Human Rights Film Festival last Thursday night at the Hall building.
The film is a fictionalized account based on De Ponfilly’s real life reporting during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s.
De Ponfilly went underground as a journalist with the Afghan resistance and risked his life to film on the front lines with Mujahadeen fighters to document the Afghan people’s struggle.
Shortly after finishing production, the self-taught director committed suicide, never to see his first feature film’s official release in 2006.
The film tells the story of the friendship that gradually grows between Nikola’, a captured Soviet soldier, the Moudjaheddins and the French journalist who documents the conflict.
Despite humble comments made by the film’s star Sacha Bourdo, who was present at the screening, the story is relevant, powerful and funny at times.
Programming director Diya Angeli came across the film by accident while in France and commented on the festival’s mission for social change. “All I ask is you watch and experience these films for yourself.”
The film made a clear impact on filmmaker Frédéric Julien, another presenter at the screening.
He summed up the value of L’étoile du soldat: “I can’t do anything now, but the next time I see Afghanistan in the news I will have a different perspective on things.”
The Montreal Human Rights Film Festival showcases a combination of avant-premieres, premieres and films shown in other festivals. It includes feature films, documentaries, and animated films.
As of today, there are 24 films that you can still catch at the festival. For a complete listin,g go to www.ffdpm.com.