Rising like a phoenix.
Afghanistan is a country that has, for almost as long as I've been alive, been embroiled in conflict of some sort or other...an invasion by Soviet forces, internal strife at the hands of the Taliban and myriad other warlords, an invasion by allied forces as part of the "war" on "terror" and goodness knows what else.
The result should be a country and a people full of despair, hopelessness and bitterness but instead a different attitude altogether is evident in this beautifully observed documentary from directors Leslie Knott, Lucy Martens and Timothy Albone about the efforts of the Afghanistan national cricket teams attempt to reach the cricket world cup.
Hope, determination, belief, good humour and a particularly charming sort of patriotism all serve to show that even in the most awful of circumstances humanity can find a way to clamber through the rubble.
From humble beginnings playing on the sort of field that one would normally associate with potatoes to the rarified arena of international recognition the players, bureaucrats and coaches all display the sort of charm, wit and humility sadly lacking in the cash rich world of sport in the West (hello Mr Rooney). These men are propelled by a desire to prove to the world that their country has more to offer than an arena for war and by virtue of the purity of their goal they succeed.
A film that shows that hope is important.