Frame by Frame (2015) Movie Review: Life Within a Shot

Drinking Game

Take a Sip: every time Farzana is disrespected, but politely keeps her cool

Take a Sip: every time your view of Afghanistan is changed or widened in some way

Take a Sip: every time you hear photographer lingo

Take a Sip: whenever you’re schooled on photography by Najibullah

Do a Shot: whenever Mossoud says “Oh my God”

Community Review


Movie Review

By: The Cinephiliac (A Toast) –

In every photograph there is intention within its frame. Whether the subject of the picture is in the foreground or background, the photographer that purposefully reflects what is within a frame longs for the spectator to learn something new. Frame by Frame uses its own framing to encapsulate an intriguing, yet dangerous time in the history of Afghanistan.

For many years under Taliban rule, Afghanistan’s journalists and photographers were banned from doing what their heart most desired. The uprising of the Taliban deprived the country of its life force, individuality, and liberty among its people by making sure that none of what was going on inside the city made its way out, just as nothing from outside of it was going in. With the fall of the Taliban came a reserved freedom for photographers to reclaim their passion and return to photographing the country they love. Frame by Frame follows a group of well-known photographers in the area and their desires to keep an artist’s eye on their community despite the obstacles that still stand in their way.


Sometimes you need a thousand words to explain a picture…

A Toast

Directors Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli are masters of their own photographic craft as every frame of the film seeks to remind audiences of the importance and beauty of pictures. Each shot is set with intention, either to highlight rule of thirds, spatial awareness, or color theory. It’s obvious that a devoted care and passion goes into each frame of the documentary based on the remarkable images we receive as viewers. The intrinsic passion for capturing an image, thus telling a compelling story within it, isn’t just an ideology held by the subjects of the film but also the filmmakers.


GQ life in 1970s Afghanistan

Frame by Frame is bold in its topic and where it chooses to go. As we quickly learn, Afghanistan is still very conservative, and at times downright rejecting towards journalists looking to highlight the skeletons in the country’s closet. Each shot shown by the filmmakers is simply astounding and makes visually beautiful moments of horridly awkward ones.

As Frame by Frame continues to follow each photographer it reveals the struggles that many still face in the country. For some the struggle lies in continuously seeing tragic events happen to the country’s inhabitants, ranging for terrorist attacks to drug use. For others like Farzana, a female photographer covering the plight and lives of women in the country, the struggle is getting reminded of the inequality among genders along with the lurid, cautious relationship most people still have with photographers. Some the film’s most fascinating moments come from watching the hesitation and downright disrespect Frarzana receives as both a photographer and a female, giving us an enlightened view of the roadblocks women continue to endure in the country.


Frame by Frame is a fascinating look into the world of a country the West usually only sees through skewed news media outlets. Frame by Frame allows us to see the totality and beauty of Afghanistan as we are introduced to the progressive thinkers and artists who inhabit the country. Hopefully the images of Frame by Frame will expand the West’s interpretation of the country and also reflect back to Afghanistan the galvanizing changes that need to take place.


About The Cinephiliac

Twenty-something film reviewer, social critic, and cultural analyst searching for a place in the sun. Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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