The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan - screener

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The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan

Year: 2003, 96 mins
Code: SEV-Boy

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For over 25 years, Afghanistan has been at war. Over two million civilians have been killed. In March 2001, the ruling Taliban destroyed the tallest stone statues in the world, the 'Buddhas of Bamiyan'. Over the course of a year, this film follows the story of one of the refugees who now lives in a cave among the 8-year-old boy called Mir.

British film-maker Phil Grabsky travelled alone to central Afghanistan a few months after the fall of the Taliban. His aim was to produce a cinema film that would explore the lives of ordinary Afghans. One young boy caught the film-maker's eye. Mir is ever-optimistic; a smile always on his face. He is cheeky, inquisitive and full of humour. And yet, when the film starts he is living on bread and water, and owns nothing — not one toy or book.

Through summer, winter and spring we follow Mir's life - the scrapes, the fun and the naughtiness  - against the magnificent backdrop of Bamiyan and its ruined statues. As Mir grows, the adults around him reveal what life has been like over the past two decades, a period in which hundreds of thousands of children like Mir have been killed.

A follow-up on Mir's story by Phil Grabsky is also available:
The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan

Winner - Grand Jury Prize: Washington DCIFF
Winner - Full Frame Documentary Festival
Winner - Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Runner-up - Audience Award: One World Filmfest, Prague
Nomination - Nominated for a oneworld media award

“Astonishingly intimate… As vivid a portrait of present-day Afghanistan as you will ever see.”
- Santa Barbara IFF

“…a compelling documentary… Watching it is a reminder … that you don’t necessarily need massive budgets to be distinctive, public service and engaging. But you do need mavericks who are brave.” - The Guardian

“Images of arresting beauty provide the backdrop to this subtle film” The Sunday Telegraph “Poignant and moving, a must see” - Sunday Express

“Phil Grabsky’s beguiling documentary … a languorously and lovingly told story… enchanting”
- Independent on Sunday

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