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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

sobering & fascinating

Author: peter_baldwin10 from United States
4 September 2006

i have to disagree with the opinion that "experts" were needed to provide commentary. i valued the opinions of those who were actually living there. they were quite articulate. fascinating film with many striking images/contrasts/gut checks. incredible cinematography and music as well. some of the things that linger:

1. a radio broadcasting news of Britain's troop commitment & 3 billion pounds/(dollars?) in aid toward the removal of saddam hussein in iraq - money that would have gone so much further in afghanistan.

2. mir's father explaining his latest acquisition of food (cow's stomach lining) which he said he picked up from a local butcher who was about to throw it away.

3. an obvious appreciation for the American effort to oust the taliban by the local hazari's.

4. that sickeningly empty feeling when the camera's keep going back to the cavernous areas where the statues once stood.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Very special documentary - highly recommended

Author: frydenberg-geo from Norway
24 July 2005

After being bombarded from day to day by media one would expect to be immune to feeling sorry for war-victims.

This film, however, is able to cut through the urban shield and really make an impact in how you think about the afghan people. As many others have commented, this film is true art because it is an mirror, you see your self, your friends and community reflected in the film. It is seldom you see a film that make you wanna learn more about the faith of the people in the film. Highly recommended to everyone in a time where Afghanistan is about to drown in other disasters around the world.

It is also difficult not to feel ashamed about the complaints people make in our part of the world when you see the joy and happiness of those deprived of everything.

( National Geographic Channel is showing the film in its No Borders Series this summer of 2005 )

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A very touching and different approach to a tragic situation

Author: hendrix333 from United States
19 September 2006

I loved this documentary. It was very touching and depicted the life of the young boy in a very real way. Showing us all that this innocent child still could smile and have dreams that there was still hope. The scenery was still beautiful even amongst the disaster that happened there. I enjoyed that there was no sound other than the voices of the people talking which made it more real. It takes a lot of guts to go out and film tragedy, poverty and devastation. This film makes you grateful that you are where you are and it gives you the strength to go on with your own "nothing" complaints when you see a small boy smiling and laughing and being grateful for what he does have. My hats off to those who had the courage to go out and catch a different view on a sad situation. I wish I could find that family and help them.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A great documentary!

Author: t_eddytorres from Atwater, California, USA
10 April 2005

This film is about a refugee family, specifically an 8 year old boy named Mir, living in the cave "ruins of Afghanistan's Buddhas of Bamiyan." Like most boys his age he is full of life. He lives a tough life, but knows nothing else. He plays, smiles, laughs, cries, pouts, and everything else young boys do. This film gives a view of Afghanistan I never imagined and certainly not displayed in the United States media. The film itself gives a first person view of the situation many Afghans are experiencing.

I watched this film over a year ago at the 5th Annual DC Independent Film Festival. It was the final of about 8 films that night. Listening to Phil Grabsky speak after the screening gave insight to both the film and his experience in Afghanistan.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Walking in the shoes of others...

Author: karmaDhyana (karmadhyana@yahoo.com) from Salem, Oregon
12 June 2007

I was initially interested in this film for two reasons: 1) I am a Buddhist, and was greatly distressed--as were many others--to hear of the destruction of the sculptures of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001 by the Taliban, and 2) I am particularly interested in Middle Eastern cultures and the challenges and conflicts that the people face, especially in regard to the political exhibition being played out since the United States' military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

This documentary is evidence of the turmoil and hardship suffered by a particular 'cave dwelling' Shia family of Afghanistan refugees, seen through the eyes of an eight year old boy named Mir.

There are no happy endings in subject matter concerning war-torn countries and the innocent civilians who suffer at the hands of the 'liberators' as well as the 'invaders', and this documentary is no exception. However, the smile on the face of young Mir is a testament to the enduring shining spirit that lies within even the most downtrodden and oppressed members of humanity.

This is a must see for those willing to put aside political ideologies long enough to tap into the compassion that lay within all of us.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The face of a child teaches a lesson of joy in a world with so much greed.

Author: Fred C. Dobbs from Australia
19 June 2005

This documentary is about the life of a young boy named Mir in post-Taliban Afghanistan. We follow Mir and his family as they survive over three extreme seasons living in a cave. They shelter from not only from the brutal climate and dust but also manage as they can in the face starvation. Yet amazingly this is not a tale one of gloom but rather one of a normal child. Mir takes life as it comes by finding joy wherever he can. He is full of delight despite his situation and that of those around him.

Through Mir's eyes we see the devastation that poverty and war has has had on its human casualties. The scarcity faced by these people is at times staggering yet the expression of this a child still often leaves the viewer surprisingly uplifted. The real impact of this film however for me was mostly found in post-viewing-reflection. Despite the enormity of poverty depicted here the simple spirit of joy and hope of a child survives - it could not help but make me feel ashamed when thinking how much we in the developed world have, yet such happiness often evades us. This is not a film for those who wish to escape reality. Rather it is a chance to extend your heart to a little boy, his people and indeed remind us that we are in fact all part of one people.

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Amazing film

Author: bluedaniel-1 from United Kingdom
24 June 2009

A truly moving documentary about a young boy called Mir living among the ruins of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. Mir is so charismatic and a joy to watch and is always smiling despite everything he and his family have been through. I have yet to see the recently released "Buddhas Collapsed out of Shame" which has also received great reviews but I would really recommend watching "The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan" You can make a donation to Mir at http://www.theboymir.com/. The follow-up is currently in development so I'm really looking forward to it being released. It will be really interesting to see the transition from boy to young man and whether his attitude has changed.

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1 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

human inaptitude

Author: tvashtar2919 from United States
7 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The name of this movie should be 'The boy who lives in a cave with losers'. While the boy is making the best of life, the rest of his family are embarrassing examples of adults. They show no ability or desire to change their situation in life. Much of this is a look at before and after the Taliban. With commentary by the adults we learn how a political vote brought about a terror on the valley. "Afghans welcomed them with open arms, because they were Muslim, with a strong belief in the Qu'ran, Mullahs and mosques. They said they were Talib, religious students. People didn't realize they were enemies of the land and their lives." Perfect example of why you should never blindly follow someone who professes morality. By demanding religious doctrines on the community by law, it only comes down to the zealotry of those now in charge.

We are watching a year of life after the breakdown of a society. While we do not know the mentality of the rest of the valley, we are subjected to this group of beggars. While living in a cave, eating grass or tripe when given by the butcher, sitting around freezing to death, the brother and father are unwilling to bother getting a job, even to the extent of being too lazy to go outside and get some wood. The one thing they managed to accomplish in this subsistence, below the standards of an animal, is the creation of a baby. While the documentary is done quite well, the people presented are horrible.

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2 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

What this film needs is more information, and less empathy from the filmmakers

Author: Colette Corr from Melbourne, Australia
14 March 2006

This documentary has been highly rated in Australia and overseas, winning several awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Washington DC Independent Film Festival.

The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan follows a year in the life of eight-year old Mir, who lives in the ruins of what was formerly Afghanistan's foremost tourist attraction. In 2001, the Taliban dynamited the 1600-year old Buddha statues, condemning them as idolatrous.

Although Mir's family and neighbours are so poor they literally eat grass, Mir's cheerfulness is a vivid demonstration of human tenacity. The community that surrounds him are also very candid in their interviews.

Filmmaker Phil Grabsky has avoided voice-over to concentrate on the human aspect of the story, letting the Bamiyan community speak for itself, with occasional BBC news reports playing over the scenery. The soundtrack, by Dimitri Tchamouroff and Dawood Sarkhosh is very emotive and, although beautiful, illustrates one of the flaws of this film.

The Boy Who Played on the Buddhas of Bamiyan is sentimental, sometimes overstated and also very slow. Although the plight of Mir, his family and neighbours is compelling, a more conventional approach to documentary-making, including voice-over and expert interviews, would give us more insight into the situation and speed up the pace.

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