A powerful documentary about Afghanistan and the difficulties of delivering aid to a country that is suffering from “aid fatigue” and prolonged exposure to Western misunderstanding. The psychological and physical damage caused by war, exacerbated by mistrust of foreigners, is at the heart of this honest and challenging film.
Newly-weds Maggie Haertsch and clown doctor Jean Paul Bell, arrive in Kabul amidst riots, only to discover that their precious cargo of humidi cribs and advanced medical equipment is strewn over a dirty hospital floor, useless in a country where electricity is unreliable and 1000s of children are dying of malnutrition and dysentery every year.
The film explores the politics of aid in a country long suffering from “aid fatigue”. One of the central themes of the film explores issues and sensitivities around charity and aid: whether well-intentioned amateurs could actually make any difference in a country where the fundamental problems are so profound that they’ve cracked the very bedrock of Afghan society
Humour in the face of this adversity is a major theme in the film. Maggie and Jean Paul’s stoicism and sense of humour is reflected in equal measure by many of the Afghan characters we meet in the story.
n the film we witness Jean Paul’s belief in the power of humour to entertain and transcend cross-cultural barriers with his simple paper bag trick. He entertains gun wielding Afghans, nervous American soldiers, doctors and sick children as he endeavours to introduce his “paper bag revolution.”
Maggie and Jean Paul find their motives questioned by one of Afghanistan’s most respected political activists and parliamentarian Malalaya Joya, when they visit her safe house armed with donations of baby clothes and a few toys.
Fear turns to relief in the end of the film, when they are lucky to get out alive.
Honeymoon in Kabul is an inspiring story about two passionate Australians who discover that the delivery of aid in Afghanistan is a complex and delicate process.