Tell Spring Not to Come This Year

When NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan, the Afghan National Army (ANA) took over control of Helmand Province, an extremely dangerous region where attacks by Taliban fighters are the order of the day. Security, much less peace, would seem to be unattainable; it is even difficult to find a common language in a country where everyone mistrusts each other. The directors of this film accompanied an ANA company during a year of frontline duty in Helmand. The soldiers are paid irregularly, there are not enough supplies and their equipment is substandard. They cannot fight a war with the equipment left behind by the ISAF.

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  • ★★★★ review by Ryan on Letterboxd

    A harrowing look at the chaos in Afghanistan. This documentary follows a group of soldiers who haven't been paid in nine months, yet somehow must find the courage and discipline to continue to fight the Taliban. This isn't some glorious Hollywood depiction of battle, this is guerrila warfare at its rawest.

  • ★★★★ review by Taylor Genovese on Letterboxd

    This film was enlightening, beautifully shot and unbearably depressing. The unfair and impossible situation that the Afghan National Army is thrust into due to US Imperialism is truly nightmarish and this documentary shows the horrid mission that has been dropped into the lap of overworked, underpaid (it is mentioned at one point that the soldiers were not paid for over 9 months) Afghanis.

    The first half of this film is a little slow. The second half includes a well executed combination of edge-of-your-seat action and poetry, both literally and visually. This is an important documentary to see, especially as an American, and I couldn't help but heave a large sigh at the end and sit in silence for awhile.

  • ★★★½ review by Chris Hormann on Letterboxd

    We travel with an Afghan army unit on patrol in the wake of US forces leaving the country while also hearing their thoughts about the political situation in their strife-ridden land. It's simple but effective filmmaking that takes on another dimension as we are brought right into the thick of this ongoing civil war. A window into a terrible situation which goes in, despite the West having left it behind.

  • ★★★★ review by LWLies on Letterboxd

    There’s a haunting sequence in Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy’s Tell Spring Not to Come This Year in which a rag-tag squad of Afghan peace keepers – many of whom are there through National Service requirements – happen across an abandoned fortress. Upon entering, they discover that it was once inhabited by their American saviours, who have since upped sticks and left and have even taken the internal wiring with them. What has been left behind – possibly strategically? – is a paperback book detailing George W Bush’s triumphant incursions into the Middle East, and a whiteboard containing a bubble chart with “9/11” as its nucleus...

  • ★★★★★ review by jimparker on Letterboxd

    A view of the war in Afghanistan from the ground, as seen by members of the Afghan National Army in 2014, as they struggle to replace NATO's Security Assistance Force. 

    What a freaking nightmare.

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