The Boy Mir: Ten Years in Afghanistan – review

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.


Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

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