This story of female friendship forged amidst America’s longest war is told by a filmmaker who spent 18 years in-and-out of Afghanistan. In this war movie, the battlefield lies behind the curtains of an Afghan home as Bibi Hajji struggles to survive the loss of her youngest child, and the impact of a brother’s death on her remaining sons. A haunting image of that boy surviving a bullet wound prompted director Carol Dysinger to investigate, what happened to him, who fired the shot? “One Bullet” evolves from procedural to an excavation of the human experience, of loss and redemption. It asks: how might we make peace across vast social, cultural and religious divisions? Two women drinking one cup of tea at a time.
Who shot Fahim? Filmmaker Carol Dysinger shares how one Afghan family’s loss in 2006 forged a surprising friendship. ONE BULLET utilizes footage from 2005 to 2020 to tell a tale of tragedy, war, and interconnectedness.
Following the incident, Colonel Elliot has the impossible task of finding out who shot Fahim. Although, at times, it appears that his job is more to prove that it wasn’t an American bullet that went astray. The deliberate mistakes by the original interpreter are haunting, promising Fahim he would walk again when we’ve just heard the doctors tell him he will most likely remain paralyzed. The US government promised he would receive fully paid care in Turkey. That is not exactly what went down. In 2011, Dysinger tracked down the family only to discover Fajim had died two years after the incident.
Dysinger does her best to respect Afghan culture, treading lightly, all while trying to make amends on behalf of the US. The evolution of Carol’s relationship with Bibi’s sons is fascinating, moving through anger, curiosity, and respect as the years pass. The passing conversation that goes untranslated ranges from innocuous to well-intended, intrusive to insulting. Bibi’s grace and hospitality are endless. You see, hear, and feel the protective nature of Carol. It is a tumultuous task, one that Bibi covers with food.
The particular ripple effect on one brother concerns Carol. Fawad’s mental and emotional decline intertwined with an eventual religious zealotry. The details from the night Fahim was shot slowly come to light over the years, despite the report essentially not existing in an official capacity today.
ONE BULLET is Fahim’s story. It is Bibi’s, Carol’s, and America’s story. Slamdance 2024 audiences should always keep this film in the not-too-far reaches of their minds.
(Unavailable for streaming in Afghanistan)
Screenwriter:Carol Dysinger, Steen Johannessen
Producer:Ashim Bhalla, Su Kim, Carol Dysinger
This year’s festival runs Fri, Jan 19, 2024, 12:00 PM – Sun, Jan 28, 2024