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3 items from 2011

The Boy Mir: Ten Years in Afghanistan – review

29 September 2011 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

This documentary chronicling a decade in the life of a young Afghan is an eye-opening insight into the country's difficulties

An epic labour of righteousness from British documentary-maker Phil Grabsky, who evidently travelled to Afghanistan every year since 2002, to film updates on the charismatic little kid he found while making an earlier film, The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan. What emerges is an unadorned chronicle of grinding poverty: Mir starts at school, but is gradually sidetracked into a life of ploughing and coalmining as his father becomes too ill to work. In some ways, Mir's story is that of the universal early-teen – he pines after a motorbike, wants to ring girls, skips lessons – but there's the extra edge of civil war and Taliban-inspired carnage in the background. But the most powerful warning is Mir's rueful stepbrother Khushdel, who bitterly regrets his own lack of schooling.

Rating: 3/5

DocumentaryAfghanistanAndrew Pulver

guardian. »

- Andrew Pulver

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The Boy Mir: coming of age in Afghanistan

15 September 2011 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Two film-makers followed an Afghan boy and his family over 10 years. The result is a startling documentary full of hardship – but humour, too

It was while he was stopping for a cup of tea on the 24-hour drive from the central Afghan province of Bamiyan to Kabul that film-maker Phil Grabsky caught some unwanted local attention. "There was a whole bunch of guys standing around watching us. One of them looked at me and shouted something in my direction. I asked my translator what he'd said, but he wouldn't tell me. He just said, 'Right, we'd better leave now.' I kept pressing him to tell me. Turns out it was, 'If I had a knife, I'd slit the throat of that American right now.'"

Grabsky isn't American – he lives in Brighton – but he was an obvious outsider who, with his camera in tow, looked dubious enough to garner mistrust from bystanders. »

- Huma Qureshi

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Sbiff Announces 2011 Winners

7 February 2011 12:00 AM, PST | Scott Feinberg | See recent Scott Feinberg news »

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced its 2011 prize winners earlier today.

The highly-coveted Audience Award went to Morgan Neville’s “Troubadours,” an engaging doc about the rise of singer-songwriters — most notably Carole King and James Taylor, who feature prominently in the film alongside other headliners of the period — in Los Angeles, generally, and at the Troubadour Club, specifically, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (The film premiered at last month’s Sundance Film Festival and will air nationally on PBS on March 2 at 8pm Est.)

The other top honors were determined by a jury that included actor Billy Baldwin (“Gossip Girl”), writer/director Paul Brickman (“Risky Business”), director Andy Davis (“The Fugitive”), producer Frank Donner (“Deliver Us from Evil”), actor Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”), and actor Anthony Zerbe (“The Matrix”), among others, and went to the following films…

The Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema (given »

- Scott Feinberg

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