Search The Archive

Search the film archive

The Boy who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan UK/Afghanistan

'Compelling' Watching it is a reminder that you don't necessarily need massive budgets to be a distinctive voice. But you do need mavericks who are brave.' -The Guardian

The Taliban's destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001 caused an international furor. Less well known is the story of the refugee families who fled the Taliban's brutality, hoping to find work in rebuilding the treasures. Eight-year-old Mir Hussain is cheeky, inquisitive, energetic and bright. He also lives in a cave and owns virtually nothing. To him this is normal; it is all he's ever known.

In Afghanistan today there are no guarantees, just sickness, dust, and a lack of water and food. Yet Mir's engaging story is not one of gloom but that of a normal child who takes life as it comes and finds entertainment wherever he can. His playground is the rubble and tunnels of the destroyed Buddhas and the burnt-out town bazaar. Through his eyes we see the destruction of the town and the presence of the Americans. Mir has no clue what it is all about but he knows how to have fun.

'astonishing and beautiful' There seems no better way than this film to see the effects of war and displacement on an ordinary family.' -san Francisco Weekly

D Phil Grabsky P Amanda Wilkie WS Seventh Art Productions L Hazara w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2003/91mins

Phil Grabsky was born in the UK. Films include: Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World (2001).