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1,161 Ratings

The Orphanage


Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat
Denmark, Afghanistan, 2019


In the late 1980s, 15-year-old street kid Qodrat is arrested for illegally reselling cinema tickets, and put in an orphanage on the outskirts of Kabul. For the first time in his life, he goes to school, takes a class trip, makes friends, and falls in love—while avoiding two older bullies.

Our take

After her hypnotic debut Wolf and Sheep, Shahrbanoo Sadat returned to Cannes with an ode to Indian cinema set at a historical moment for Afghanistan. While keeping her ethnographic approach, Sadat developed a story full of humor and sweetness supported by the performance of Qodratollah Qadiri.

The Orphanage Directed by Shahrbanoo Sadat

Critics reviews

The Orphanage is a terrific child’s-eye movie, bustling with freshness and old-fashioned storytelling gusto.
May 13, 2020
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Sadat has made an ambitious and touching film in which the unnoticed details of her protagonists’ lives foretell a tragedy the children are as yet unaware of.
May 25, 2019
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What are people saying?

  • rogerpancake's rating of the film The Orphanage

    What an interesting film ..wasn’t sure about the dream sequences initially but they really added that mad touch that was in keeping with the mood..thought the child actors and the lead male were a real breath of fresh air and a real antidote to the all singing all smiling nonsense we see from Hollywood .

  • Lloyd's rating of the film The Orphanage

    Dreamy injection of Bollywood cinematography in a playful, yet not-so-carefree world of orphaned boys in 1989 Kabul. Sadat`s unique portrayal of real-life social & political issues in the unconventional lens of young, adolescent life in an orphanage is captivating.

  • bogdann's rating of the film The Orphanage

    effortless. a profoundly touching film about political changes and growing up, blended with very comedic bollywood-like scenes that provide sometimes much needed relief from the gritty reality of 1980s afghanistan. the director's young age makes this even more commendable.

  • Ritesh's rating of the film The Orphanage

    A wonderfully sweet and thoughtful film that's grounded in political realities

  • Laura Ortu's rating of the film The Orphanage

    Truly meaningful story, it is a very realistic portrait of a very complex historical moment for Afghanistan, and the twist of it is perfectly embodied in the figure of the children, the solidarity between them, their dreams, their challenges, and their hopes. A movie that should be showed in any school where teenagers can still see how important it is their learning journey for shaping their future.

  • Ömer Kazancı's rating of the film The Orphanage

    It was certainly alluring to see a film from Afghanistan taking place in late 80's period. Islamist, Russian and Bollywood influence converge in a specific era in a peculiar geography with memorable elements: children playing with bullets, killing themselves, surviving their lives as orphans. However, the film is more of random scenes from a memoir, and doesn’t add up to anything coherent in the end. Abrupt ending.

  • alan fair's rating of the film The Orphanage

    This is liberatory cinema at its best. The quietly thoughtful camera work allows us to understand the truth of these orphaned boys lives. A film of simple, poetic pathos that manages its mostly young cast with a sensitive humanity. It shifts from the oneiric to the realist in inventive ways that encourages a sympathetic relation between the viewer and the viewed. Great cinema, simple complexity.

  • jiorjioss's rating of the film The Orphanage

    A beautifully-told coming-of-age story concerning an orphanage in communist-era Afghanistan, the innocence of youth comes to a sudden end with the Islamic takeover of the country. While it's a good coming-of-age story, the historical background and the splendid use of Indian music to express feeling (as if to tell us how foreign both Communism and fundamental Islam was to Afghans) make this a great film...

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