Amidst the wreckage beneath the ruined statue of the Buddha, thousands of families struggle to survive. Baktay, a six-year-old Afghan girl is challenged to go to school by her neighbour’s son who reads in front of their cave. Having found the money to buy a precious notebook, and taking her mother’s lipstick for a pencil, Baktay sets out. On her way, she is harassed by boys playing games that mimic the terrible violence they have witnessed, that has always surrounded them. The boys want to stone the little girl, to blow her up as the Taliban blew up the Buddha, to shoot her like Americans. Will Baktay be able to escape these violent war games and reach the school?
A thoughtful and emotionally challenging look at the lives of two children living in modern day Afghanistan, STRAY DOGS lifts the lid on what it is like living in the country, post-Taliban. The film focuses on a young brother and sister who are forced to share their incarcerated mother’s prison cell by night, but roam the streets during the day. For they are homeless; only allowed to stay within the prison’s confines after dark, the children are not permitted there during the day. Fed up with having to fend for themselves, and in a desperate bid to get locked up on a more permanent basis, the siblings concoct a cunning plan; using American cinema as a guide, they begin to perform robberies on the streets of Kabul.