The Orphanage

Shahrbanoo Sadat

DK / DE / FR / LU / AF / QA
Feature Film

15-year-old Quodrat lives in the streets of Kabul, without family or a roof over his head. He usually spends his days in front of the local cinema and earns his living by selling movie tickets and small goods on the black market. In his imagination, Quodrat becomes the hero in romantic and action movies of the glamorous Bollywood era and gets carried away in the magical world of the on-screen stories. He suddenly has to leave his everyday life in the streets behind when he gets caught by the city’s authorities. A new life and an exciting journey await him at the orphanage of Kabul, where he and the other teenagers will say goodbye to the last days of childhood.

The Orphanage, the second feature film by young Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat, is a realist style entertainment film which combines powerful political statements with cinematic references and social criticism. The intimate cinematography by Virginie Surdej (Adam, Wolf and Sheep) and the amateur actors create the film’s high authenticity. But Sadat splits open this very authenticity time and again by playfully weaving cinematic ›insider‹ references of the global south into the story. The last shot is an almost uncanny precognition of the recent events in Afghanistan in 2021. In a last-ditch heroic act, Quodrat defends the orphanage against the advancing forces in one of his cinematic visions. Thus, The Orphanage not only tells a tale from Afghanistan, but also the story of Afghanistan.

Director / Script

Shahrbanoo Sadat


Virginie Sudej


Alexandra Strauss


Sigrid DPA Jensen, Anne Gry Friis Kristensen


Qodratollah Qadiri, Sediqa Rasuli, Masihullah Feraji, Hasibullah Rasooli, Ahmad Fayaz Omani


Katja Adomeit – Adomeit Film


Adomeit Germany, La Fabrica Nocturna, Samsa Film, Wolf Pictures



Age rating

FSK 12

Shahrbanoo Sadat

With her acclaimed debut film Wolf and Sheep (2016) Shahrbanoo Sadat bears indeed many hopes of young Afghan filmmakers on her shoulders. In 2009 she studied documentary film at Ateliers Varan in Kabul. She founded her own production company Wolf Pictures in Kabul in 2013. Wolf and Sheep received the Art Cinema Award, the main award of Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Festival de Cannes. Her second feature film The Orphanage premiered in Cannes as well, in 2019. Her current film project Kabul Jan received the Baumi Script Development Award by Pandora Film, the Baumgartner family and Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. Shahrbanoo Sadar lives in Germany at the moment.

Films by Shahrbanoo Sadat
Wolf and Sheep
2016 | Who Wants to Be the Wolf?? 2014 | Not at Home 2013 | Vice Versa One 2010 | A Smile for Life 2009