Again this year, Denver Film Festival artistic director Brit Withey is offering his must-see picks for each day of the fest — including many flicks that movie lovers might otherwise miss amid the flood of silver-screen goodies. Today, he spotlights a selection for November 12: Karbala.
A film from Poland, the international country of focus at this year's festival, Karbala is "about Polish troops in Afghanistan," artistic director Withey says, "and it's based on a true story.
"These soldiers get pinned down in a section of Karbala in 2004 and have to endure a really brutal, oppressive, three-or-four-day onslaught of fighting from the Taliban and the insurgents there. And one of the best things about it is how it gives you a new perspective on these coalitions we always hear about — countries that have some sort of skin in the game even though their troop levels are pretty small.
"One of the subplots is about how the Polish troops are taking orders from the U.S. and they're not perfectly thrilled with that. When the whole fight is over, there's a bit of dismissiveness from the U.S. about what they've just gone through. The idea is, 'Let's just forget this happened. You weren't really there.' But they were there. They were cut to shreds and no one came and really helped them. So it's a very contemporary, very well-done war drama."
As a bonus, Withey adds, the filmmakers behind the project will be in Denver for the screenings.
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Look below to see the trailer for Karbala; it's largely in Polish, but with occasional English dialogue. To access all the film festival's selections and purchase tickets, click here.