Review: Frame by Frame

By: Amber Friedenfelds

Photojournalism has never been so important, yet so incredibly difficult.

Since the regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan has lifted in recent years, media outlets have finally been able to exercise their freedom of speech. However, it has not been easy.

Frame by Frame, a feature length documentary directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli, follows four Afghan photojournalists as they face oppressive challenges in their every day lives’.

The documentary offers viewers a glance into the heart-wrenching lives of Farzana Wahidy, Massoud Hossaini, Najibulla Musafer, and Wakil Kohsar. These photojournalists have collected international awards for their work over the years, even though it has come to mean deciding between doing their job and continuing to witness horrible tragedies that fall upon the citizens of Afghanistan.

For example, Hossaini reluctantly speaks about an experience at the scene of suicide bombing that has scarred him for the rest of his life. Coincidentally, a photo he took that day awarded him the Pulitzer Prize.

While stories such as Hossaini’s and Farzana’s (who are also married, by the way) are hard-hitting and leave viewers with a sense of completion, the stories of Musafer and Kohsar are underdeveloped.

In the same vein, even some of Farzana and Hossaini’s stories lead to dead ends.

However, this might be an accurate reflection of what it is like to be photojournalists in a country limited by their own government.

Though the documentary has a lack of sensible organization, viewers will be so perturbed by the violence, misogyny, and life-threatening daily life of the photojournalists’ that they might not even notice.

Overall, Frame by Frame is an eye-opening documentary that will leave viewers’ with a more accurate idea of life in Afghanistan as well as a new feeling of awareness in regards to what it means to work in a difficult and challenging environment.


Rating: 3.5/5