The Miscreants of Taliwood
May 7, 2011 10:41 PM   Subscribe

The Miscreants of Taliwood is probably one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. And it defies all types of film making (in a good way). The subject? The Talibanization of a certain part of Pakistan and the assault on art, entertainment, and humanity. But it’s not quite a documentary. It is a surreal trip through the fiction and the nonfiction of Peshawar, NWFP and FATA. It is fake, it is real, it is unbelievable. Basically, it is Pakistan.

A very interesting clip from The Miscreants film

The Miscreants of Taliwood, website.

The Miscreants of Taliwood takes us on an extraordinary journey to another forbidden zone - the remote Tribal Belt of the North West Frontier of Pakistan.

The Miscreants blog

Director George Gittoes gathers an astonishing cast of characters, as they dodge the anti-entertainment forces, and are caught in the current of events which are turning back the clock on the digital age.

To enter this world, Gittoes dresses in local costume, and agrees to become an actor in the low budget Pashto Telie Movie industry. Teaming up with Pashto action and comedy stars, they make the ‘last telie movie’ - an over the top action drama, played out in what must be one of the craziest of film locations - just a cave or two away from where the most wanted man in the world runs ‘Terror Central’.

Rampage is Aussie documentary filmmaker George Gittoes' follow up to Soundtrack to War. It follows the story of Elliot Lovett, an African American rap artist serving with the US Army in Iraq. Lovett told Gittoes that his home town of Miami was "more dangerous than the streets of Baghdad". In Rampage, Gittoes visits the Lovett family in Miami and meets Elliot's 14 year old brother Denzell, also a promising rap artist.

George Gittoes' website | WITNESS TO WAR: George Gittoes

Pollywood, the Pashto film industry | Wild Scenes [nsfw] by Akram Zadiq, an entertaining documentary, free online, about the Pashtu film industry.

Pashto Cinema - Craziness

Pashto cinema then and now (warning, has loud live streaming radio from Peshawar, Pakistan, quite interesting itself, especially in light of recent events, for those who speak Urdu)

Bonus links, two free, watchable online full length documentaries by Gittoes:

Soundtrack to War, 1 hour 31 minutes. Gittoes talks to U.S soldiers and Iraqis about their favorite music. An amazingly insightful doco coming from a strange angle.

Rampage, 1 hour 44 minutes. When George Gittoes began filming US troops rapping in Iraq, he didn't know the return home would be more disturbing
posted by nickyskye (12 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
Amazing post!
posted by 2N2222 at 11:56 PM on May 7, 2011

Wow. That looks like an amazing film.
posted by bstreep at 12:06 AM on May 8, 2011

A bow to you for this.
posted by salishsea at 12:58 AM on May 8, 2011

Thanks heaps, great post
posted by the noob at 1:24 AM on May 8, 2011

! Wow.
posted by waa at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2011

Nothing to say but thanks for this post.
posted by Falconetti at 10:40 AM on May 8, 2011

Dumbstruck. It's a mad, mad world.
posted by Swordfish7 at 10:51 AM on May 8, 2011

I just watched Rampage with my morning coffee, it was sad and inspiring and scary and wow!

awesome post btw
posted by mannequito at 11:56 AM on May 8, 2011

Fantastic post. I would also recommend seeking out "Son of a Lion," which is a beautiful no-budget drama that was made surreptitiously in the North West Frontier Province town of Darra Adam Khel. Darra Adam Khel is most well known for being almost entirely devoted to the sale and production of small arms.
posted by scottjlowe at 2:58 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ooh, thanks for that recommendation scottjlowe. Love a good North West Frontier story and this looks like a really good one.

Cool seeing that part of the world, not often seen by Western eyes for the last 32 years. Just saved Son of a Lion as a selection on NetFlix.

Looking at the trailer on YT it sounds like it promotes peace in the region by talking about sons maybe wanting different things in life than their militant, gun-toting fathers and that being okay.

So fascinating about the border towns of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Interesting to know about Darra Adam Khel being known for its ordnance. Just looked, prompted by your comment, and there's a good YT vid about the Darra arms biz.

Anecdote: In 1975, having not gotten a permit to cross the Afghanistan into Pakistan border, I had to go back to Jalalabad for it and then, hitch hiked by myself, in the company of other Afghanis on the top of a van from Jalalabad, now heart of the Taliban, over the Khyber pass into Peshawar, Pakistan. For the occasion I wore a vest (like this one) bought in Jalalabad, gray with burgundy and embroidered trim, handmade there. Nothing like being 21 years old.

It was a great view to see the ancient adobe fortresses there on the hillsides, the local men typically holding their large guns casually crooked and ammunition belts striped across their chests. The town I passed through was called Landi Kotal. It became a Darra of sorts too after the Russians invaded Afghanistan 4 years later. But not ordnance, heroin, in some ways another weapon in that war.
posted by nickyskye at 4:49 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thanks, nickyskye. About six months ago I became fascinated by Afghanistan and western Pakistan. Son of A Lion was one of the most sensitive documents I could find about what life was like on the ground there. It's difficult to imagine from a liberal western perspective. Rory Stewart's "The Places In Between," about his long walk across Afghanistan just a few months after the U.S. invasion, was also especially interesting.
posted by scottjlowe at 12:11 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ooh, another excellent recommendation. Thanks again scottjlowe. Just read the rave review, sounds like an awesome book! I wonder why Rory Stewart, the author, learned Farsi. He learned to speak Indonesian as a kid. Curious about him now. Dang, it only took him 32 days to cross Afghanistan on foot. That was fast.He must have some serious walking legs.

What an interesting character! "Stewart, whose family hail from Crieff in Perthshire, Scotland, was born in Hong Kong, raised in Malaysia and Scotland and educated at the Dragon School, Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied modern history and politics, philosophy and economics (PPE). While a student at Oxford, he was a summer tutor to Prince William and Prince Harry."

Sounds like he's doing some good in his political career. Eager now to read his work. Thanks again.
posted by nickyskye at 6:13 AM on May 9, 2011

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