LAILA AT THE BRIDGE
Directed by Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei
2019, 97 minutes
Purchase: $350 | Classroom rental $125
Under a dark and damp bridge in Kabul, Afghanistan, a squalid group of drug addicts is getting high or fiending for their next fix. Former child bride Laila Haidari offers salvation by inviting these lost souls to the detox clinics she runs with her brother, a recovered addict himself. Fearless and relentless in the face of physical threats, governmental opposition, and the departure of the international community from Afghanistan, Laila brings love, hope and the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) program to these victims of the global addiction epidemic.
As a result of Western intervention, Afghanistan is now at the brink of being a narco-state. Currently, 90% of the global opium supply is in Afghanistan and the country and has the world’s highest rate of opium production and addiction. But despite the crisis of addiction, there are almost no treatment services or centers available in the country. Having witnessed her brother’s harrowing 25-year battle with drug addiction, Laila now devotes her life to treating heroin-addicted men and women in her own addiction treatment center, and a restaurant where all the waiters are recovering heroin addicts. We follow Laila on her daily rounds, moving among passed-out addicts and garbage under the bridge. With the addicts that agree to come with her to get clean, Laila takes them to their new quarters and explains house rules. With no access to methadone or medical treatment, Laila relies on makeshift methods: NA group therapy, ice-cold baths, and encouragement and scolding.
A deeply personal perspective that contextualizes the Afghan opium trade and global addiction epidemic, Laila at the Bridge chronicles the resilience of not only Laila, but also of Afghans who, despite facing the daily threat of death due to an interminable war, are able to bounce back.
Subjects & Collections
Asian Studies Cultural Studies Directed by Women Health Middle Eastern Studies Cinema Studies Women's Studies 2018 2019
Festivals & AwardsWINNER - F:ACT AWARD - CPH:DOX 2018
WINNER - CHECKPOINTS AWARD - Bergern International Film Festival 2018
Official Selection - HotDocs 2018
Official Selection - DOC NYC 2018
Official Selection - Sheffield Doc Fest 2018
Official Selection - Doku Fest 2018
Official Selection - RIDM 2018