International Competition

The Land of the Enlightened

Pieter-Jan De Pue
Screening time  
27.02. / Monday, 13:00 - 15:00 Theatre 2  
28.02. / Tuesday, 16:00 - 18:00 Theatre 1  
04.03. / Saturday, 20:00 - 22:00 Theatre 1  
A stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan

In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over seven years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look at the condition of Afghanistan left for the next generation. As American soldiers prepare to leave, we follow De Pue deep into this hidden land where young boys form wild gangs to control trade routes, sell explosives from mines left over from war, and climb rusting tanks as playgrounds making the new rules of war based on the harsh landscape left to them.


Pieter-Jan De Pue

Pieter-Jan De Pue, born in 1982 in Ghent, Belgium, is a photographer and independent filmmaker who completed his studies at the Brussels’ Royal Institute for Theater, Cinema & Sound (RITCS) with the short documentary O (2006). His feature documentary debut was The Land of the Enlightened (2016), which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and screened at 2017 ZagrebDox, in the international competition program. His photo work was presented in numerous top publications and at a variety of galleries.

General sponsor

Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands
2016, 87'

Directed by:
Pieter-Jan De Pue

Screenplay by:
Pieter-Jan De Pue

Pieter-Jan De Pue

Edited by:
Stijn Deconicnk

Bart Van Langendonck, Morgan Bushe, Femke Wolting

Produced by:
Savage Film, Submarine, Fastnet Films, Eyeworks Film & TV Drama NV, Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion

Festivals & Awards:

Sundance Film Festival 2016 – World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Best Cinematography; International Film Festival Rotterdam 2016; Hot Docs 2016; True/False Film Fest 2016; Hong Kong International Film Festival 2016; Visions du Réel 2016; Documenta International Film Festival 2016