Panj e asr itself seems to be available on Youtube. Iranian-French cooperation - and set in Kabul in 2003.
At Five in the Afternoon (Persian: Panj é asr) is a 2003 film by Iranian writer-director Samira Makhmalbaf. It tells the story of an ambitious young woman trying to gain an education in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban. The title comes from a Federico García Lorca poem and is a tale of flourishing against the odds.
At Five in the Afternoon was the first film to be shot in Kabul after the NATO invasion. It was an international co-production between the Iranian company Makhmalbaf Productions and the French companies Bac Films and Wild Bunch.
The film premiered at 2003 Cannes Film Festival and was awarded the Jury Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.
Samira’s 14-year old sister Hana Makhmalbaf made a documentary about the making of the film, entitled Joy of Madness (Lezate divanegi). It documents Samira’s trials and tribulations whilst trying to persuade people in Kabul to take part in her film. As a teenager, Hana was able to amass a lot of digital video footage unnoticed.
Also re: Joy of Madness (Lezate Divanegi)
Shot on a digital video camera by the then 14-year-old Hana Makhmalbaf, Joy Of Madness is, in the words of its precociously talented young director, “a documentary on the surface but a feature film in essence.” Partly it’s an idiosyncratic account of Hana’s elder sister Samira attempting to cast her own film, At Five In The Afternoon, with non-professionals in war-scarred Kabul in autumn 2002. It’s also a revealing portrait of a shattered society still traumatised by its experiences under the terrifying rule of the Taliban.
“A REVEALING PORTRAIT OF A SHATTERED SOCIETY”
What connects the various characters in Joy Of Madness are their feelings of fear. An elderly mullah goes back on his agreement to Samira and her colleagues to play a cart-driver because he’s worried that his professional status will be affected, and that film itself is sinful. Meanwhile an impoverished gypsy family is convinced that the crew will kill their malnourished baby during the shoot. And the widowed teacher Agheleh, herself only 22 and whom Samira is determined to cast as the lead, writes a letter explaining why she feels she can’t take on the role: who will look after her three children and how will she be able to return to her previous job?
Joy Of Madness captures the determination, the persuasiveness, and the single-mindedness of the Makhmalbaf clan at work, with father Mohsen and stepmother Marziyeh Mehskini also part of a close-knit production team. Samira herself, who also directed The Apple and Blackboards, comes across as a volatile and demanding figure as she flatters, cajoles, and criticises those she seeks to cast. Mohsen reinforces her sales pitches by stressing to people how famous his daughter is in the world beyond Afghanistan (“a thousand newspapers have written about her”, he explains), and he’s the one asked to ensure the wavering Agheleh signs up to the project. But it’s Hana who deserves the credit for such a candid view of her own filmmaking family.
In Farsi with English subtitles.