War and Love in Kabul

Mein Herz sieht die Welt schwarz – Eine Liebe in Kabul

War and Love in Kabul

Helga Reidemeister

The Dortmund Documentary Film Award

»Right from the start, Afghanistan and the people there moved me very much. (…). The most impressive thing about them is their ›upright stance‹ – no matter whether there is a leg there or none. They are so decisive in both bearing and in look. Added to which, it is hugely inspiring to experience a country that has been afflicted by war for over 30 years but where the people, displaying such an enormous will to survive, have not yet capitulated and will never capitulate. This pride, such incomparable tenacity, just won‘t go out of my mind.«
– Helga Reidemeister

Hossein and Shaima have loved each other since childhood. As teenagers they were separated by war. They meet again in Kabul in the 1990s. Poverty forces Hossein to fight in the war. A shell splinter leaves him a paraplegic. Shortly afterwards, Shaima is sold in marriage to a man 40 years her senior. Shaima, who is the man‘s fourth wife, falls pregnant. But Shaima‘s husband still owes half the dowry, and so her father brings her back into the constraining patriarchal fold of the family, where she lives today with her fiveyear-old daughter. This situation doesn‘t prevent the two lovers from seeing each other as much as possible – even though this means going against their families‘ hard and fast rules. Caught on the horns of a dilemma, and in constant fear of revenge on the part of the male members of both families who adhere to the harsh tribal laws handed down from the Middle Ages, Hossein and Shaima struggle under the most difficult circumstances imaginable to hold on to their love. This film describes the infringement of a taboo, the outcome of which is still uncertain. In an environment where war and want have dealt heavy blows on compassion and humanity and the family is the only remaining social bond, the chances of personal happiness are very slim indeed.

Awards for für ›Mein Herz sieht die Welt schwarz – Eine Liebe in Kabul‹
Identity and Diversity Award, Ourense International Film Festival 2009 | Grand Prix du Festival ânûû-rû âboro, Festival international du cinéma des peuples New Caledonien 2009 | Prix Anna Politkovskaïa – Mellieur long-métrage documentaire, Festival International de Films de Femmes Créteil 2010

Director / Script

Helga Reidemeister


Lars Barthel


Marzia Mete


Nic Nagel


Zolan Solomun, Helga Reidemeister, Co-Produktion WDR Köln, SWR Baden-Baden


Basis Film

Portrait of director Helga Reidemeister

Helga Reidemeister

Helga Reidemeister, born in Halle an der Saale, studied art at Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin and film at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). Politicised by the student movement; she was active as a social worker in the new housing development in Berlin‘s »Märkisches Viertel« from 1968 to 1973. It was here that her first film was made: Der gekaufte Traum (The Bought Dream) about a workingclass family. Many award-winning films were to follow – with subject matter such as children on cancer wards in Moscow, women in prison, peace activists and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Berlin – until in 2002 she took off to Afghanistan where she made two documentaries: Texas – Kabul and Mein Herz sieht die Welt schwarz – eine Liebe in Kabul (War and Love in Kabul).

Films by Helga Reidemeister (Selection)
Texas – Kabul 2004 | Gotteszell – Ein Frauengefängnis 2001 | Im Leben bleiben 1999 | Lichter aus dem Hintergrund 1998 | Frauen in Schwarz 1997 | Rodina heisst Heimat 1992 | Aufrecht gehen. Rudi Dutschke – Spuren 1988 | Drehort Berlin 1987 | Mit starrem Blick aufs Geld 1983 | Von wegen Schicksal 1979 | Der gekaufte Traum 1977 | Wohnste sozial, haste Qual 1971