Few Americans have any real notion of what life is genuinely like for ordinary Afghan citizens. We receive snippets of information here and there but they only give us small pieces of material…not really sufficient for forming a whole picture. One way or another, from the time that the soviets invaded in the late 70s during the Carter administration, to the senseless, unimaginable horror of watching the newsreels of Taliban destroying the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001 to later the same year when the US invaded, news from Afghanistan has been popping up sporadically for three decades. It was very intriguing indeed to learn about a documentary the premise of which is to follow the life of an Afghan boy for a ten-year period.
The Boy Mir not only gives us a whole picture but several majestic shots of the rural Afghan landscape over a period of time. Phil Grabsky is an award winning documentary filmmaker and some of his work has attracted a lot of favorable attention. For example, his film The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan has played to audiences around the world and has won thirteen awards including first place at the prestigious Valladolid International Film Festival also known as also known as Seminci or Semana Internacional de Cine de Valladolid in Spain. Phil devoted a significant amount of time to filming The Boy Mir. In Fact, by Hollywood standards it was a monumental task. Nobody in Hollywood has that kind of attention span. With the backdrop of Bamiyan and later a different rural Afghanistan landscape, the audience literally watches this friendly, amiable boy named Mir grow up amidst the aftermath of the Taliban and including the era of an Afghanistan/USA partnership.
The film doesn’t set out to make social commentary although that is perhaps an inadvertent byproduct of watching the intimate details of the day-to-day life of an average Afghan family. What the film does do is to allow the audience to see Afghanistan through Phil Grabsky’s lenses. It is extremely authentic. One of the first impressions is the humanity of the people. Cultural anthropologists have expressed concern regarding the difficulty of going in and studying a people group because the fact that the people are being studied alters their behavior. Their very pressence skews the data. In this case; however; it appeared that the local natives had become so accustomed to seeing cameras around that they were more or less indifferent to them. It seemed much more real than reality TV that seems increasingly scripted.
DocuWeeks is the annual film festival presented by the International Documentary Association. It’s a significant event not only for audiences who find documentaries fascinating but also for filmmakers as it will allow them to compete for the ultimate Hollywood accolade, an Academy Award. The following is the schedule for screenings of Boy Mir at the Laemmle Sunset 8000 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA – (323) 848-3500
OFFICIAL SCREENING TIMES – LAEMMLE SUNSET 5 – LOS ANGELES
Friday August 19 3:40pm (no Q&A) 9:50pm (no Q&A)
Saturday August 20 1:45pm (no Q&A) 7:30pm (Q&A)
Sunday August 21 12 noon (no Q&A) 5:25pm (no Q&A)
Monday August 22 3:40pm (no Q&A) 9:50pm (no Q&A)
Tuesday August 23 12 noon (no Q&A) 5:25pm (no Q&A)
Wednesday August 24 1:45pm (no Q&A) 7:30pm (no Q&A)
Thursday August 25 3:40pm (no Q&A) 9:50pm (no Q&A)
The UK premiere for The Boy Mir, 10 Years in Afghanistan held on the 28th September at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
By: Seventh Art Productions