I am in North Carolina to take part in several events around the mural exhibit Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan. At the beautiful Carolina Friends School I was joined by the documentary film director Phil Grabsky who showed part of his new film “The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan.” We spoke to a school assembly. Later this week he will be showing the feature at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Here is the description of the film.
We first met Mir in Phil Grabsky’s acclaimed 2004 film, The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan. An unforgettable eight-year-old Afghan refugee with an infectious laugh, Mir lived in the stony ruins of the world-famous Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban. For that film, Grabsky spent a year with Mir and his family documenting their hardscrabble life deep inside war-torn Afghanistan, but Mir’s story was too compelling to end there, and the filmmaker went back and spent ten more years with him. Boy Mir is shot in Northern Afghanistan, in an area so remote that Mir’s brother-in-law must hike two hours up a mountain for cell phone service. The landscape is stunning, but daily life is decidedly tough. We watch the mischievous boy grow into a young man whose former hopes of becoming a teacher or president of his country give way to the struggle for basic survival. Yet Mir never loses his good-natured spirit. This is a raw, intimate, and often humorous tale of life in present-day, turbulent Afghanistan.