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The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan (2004)

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In 2001, the Taliban government of Afghanistan destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the world's tallest stone sculptures. By the summer of 2002, after the fall of the Taliban, more than 250 ... See full summary »

Director:

Phil Grabsky
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5 wins. See more awards »

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In 2001, the Taliban government of Afghanistan destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the world's tallest stone sculptures. By the summer of 2002, after the fall of the Taliban, more than 250 Afghans, most of them Hazara refugees, were living in caves beside the rubble. This film, organized chronologically over four seasons, follows a refugee family living there, including Mir, a smiling lad of eight. The landscape is stark, the winter is harsh, the refugees' stories are harrowing, Mir's school is crowded and ill equipped, helicopters move across the sky, and the roads carry mostly military vehicles, yet Mir's family hopes for a house and a bright future. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Their battleground is his playground


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Official Sites:

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Country:

UK | Afghanistan

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Junge und die Buddhas von Bamiyan See more »

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Followed by The Boy Mir (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
What this film needs is more information, and less empathy from the filmmakers
14 March 2006 | by colettesplaceSee all my reviews

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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