Angels are Made of Light

United States / 2018 / 117 minutes / NR

A stirring and beautiful documentary from Academy Award-nominated director James Longley (Iraq in Fragments), Angels Are Made of Light traces the lives of young students and their teachers at a school in the old city of Kabul. Interweaving the modern history of Afghanistan with present-day portraits, the film offers an intimate and nuanced vision of a society living in the shadow of war.


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  • Director

    James Longley

  • Producer

    James Longley
    Signe Sorensen
    Joslyn Barnes
    Danny Glover
    Susan Rockefeller
    Tony Tabatznik

  • “A remarkable film. What is life like on the ground for ordinary people in another culture, another world? That’s been the bread and butter of observational documentaries for forever, but almost never is it done with the kind of beauty and grace filmmaker James Longley brings to Angels are Made of Light.

    — Kenneth Turan, LA Times
  • "A gorgeous rumination on three brothers, in school and in turmoil."

    — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
  • “Critic’s Pick! Longley has a knack for composition and for capturing telling details… The director finds beauty everywhere — in a cloud of dust, a traffic jam, the raucous din of children at play. And wherever such beauty exists, we imagine, hope can never be entirely absent.”

    — Bilge Ebiri, The New York Times
  • "A vivid portrait of daily life in Kabul and a rich look into childhood. Probing and visually inventive. Finds a resilience among the most vulnerable of its characters."

    — David D'Arcy, Screen Daily
  • "Stirring and gorgeous."

    — Nick Schager, Variety
  • "An unscripted and unmediated portrait of quotidian life in an old neighborhood of Kabul."

    — Antonia Hitchens, The New Yorker
  • “A beautiful movie.”

    — Christopher Reed, Hammer to Nail
  • "A clear-eyed and confrontational portrait."

    — David Ehrlich, Indiewire
  • "A superlative documentary. A powerful, thrillingly told rumination of life in wartime."

    — Josh Brunsting, Criterion Cast
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