About

For centuries, a Jewish population thrived in Afghanistan. By the year 2000 there were only two left. They lived together in a derelict corner of Kabul, surrounded by the Taliban. And they couldn’t stand each other.

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My Brother's Keeper 2012

The extraordinary and little-known story of Yitzhak Levy and Zebulon Simentov, the last Jews of Afghanistan, came to the attention of writer Michael J. Flexer in the mid-2000s. He turned their story into a play, My Brother’s Keeper, which became a fringe hit in the UK. (You can read Michael’s New Statesman article about interviewing the real Zebulon here—but it comes with spoiler warnings).

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Among those wowed by the story was director Jack Jewers, who was determined to bring it to the screen in one form or another. An ambitious new adaptation for a five-part web series version was prepared. The long process of fundraising for such a difficult and complex production took several years, but finally, nearly a decade after My Brother’s Keeper was first performed, Shalom Kabul began shooting at Shepperton Studios in London.

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The main challenge for Jack as director was to pull off the fine balance between comedy and pathos that the story demanded. Handling such a sensitive subject through comedy was bound to be controversial—but the series is all the more powerful as a result.

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Shalom KabulTo create this world on screen, Jack assembled a cast and crew of major talents, both established and up-and-coming. The performances of Damien Thomas as Yitzhak and Jake Yapp as Zebulon perfectly capture the absurd futility of the conflict at the heart of script. 

Meanwhile, Sara Deane’s impressive cinematography creates an air of lush visual fantasy. And the soundtrack, composed by Debbie Wiseman MBE and performed by the Royal Philharmonic orchestra, ties everything together with a virtuoso balance.

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