Pakistan: ‘The Miscreants’ – The popular culture of war in Pakistan

The Australian documentary film director George Gittoes gets up close to the clash of fundamentalism and entertainment, virtual and real, in this off beat doc-drama mix, in which he enters the no-go zone of the Taliban controlled Tribal Belt in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.

Included in the Taliban’s list of ‘miscreants’ are singers, dancers and store owners who sell music videos or any kind of entertainment. Store bombings and public beheadings are the public messages of the local enforcers.

To enter this world, director George Gittoes agrees to double as an actor in a Pashto telie-movie, and takes us into the lives of a local action hero, Javed Musazai, and his crew, as they struggle to make a living and hold onto the entertainment industry under threat by Taliban enforcers.

Crossing the lines between doc and drama, real and unreal, this circus-like troupe shoot their ‘Taliwood’ feature film in one of the craziest locations in the world – just a cave or two away from where the most wanted man in the world runs ‘Terror Central’.

Shot over a period of a year, George Gittoes based himself in Peshawar for six months on two extended shoots, which allowed him time to develop his contacts for the extraordinary and world exclusive access he gained to Tribal regions and leaders. Shot on mini DVD, Gittoes was the sole Australian crew member on location, where he collaborated with local Pakistani filmmaking teams.

Access to the locals, subjects, and interviewees are a world exclusive. Gittoes filmed most of ‘The Miscreants’ behind the Tribal Belt in Pakistan, entering the hills of the reputed hideout region of Bin Laden and his highest advisors. Standing knee deep in snow in the Mountains, at the opening of a cave in which his actors shelter, Gittoes, in his “CIA Agent Bad Guy’ costume for his acting part in their Telie Movie, continues his documentary.

The film demanded a lengthy Post Production process in Sydney, where producer, director and editor grappled to bring it’s complex structure, extensive information and multi layered storylines into a cohesive and stylish whole.





YouTube video:
THE MISCREANTS – George Gittoes (Soundtrack to War, Rampage)’

4 September 2008

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