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The Boy Who Plays On The Buddhas Of Bamyan Review

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Documentary about the 250 families who eke out an existence in the caves beneath the ruins of the destroyed the statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan.

★★★★

The world was outraged when the Taliban destroyed the 1,600-year-old statues of the Buddha in the Afghan settlement of Bamiyan, but little attention has been paid to the 250 families who eke out an existence in the caves beneath the ruins.

This humanitarian dereliction gives Phil Grabsky's poignant documentary its extraordinary power. The focus falls on eight year-old Mir, whose spirited innocence and trusting hope stand in stark contrast to the disbelief and despair of his family and neighbours who first sought sanctuary in the shrine to escape religious extremism.

Capturing the struggle through three seasons, Grabsky lays equal stress on this scarred country's past, present and future and, consequently, there are moments of humour and optimism amidst the pain and resentment.

Grabsky takens an even-handed approach to this difficult subject, which produces both gems of tragedy and those of humour.

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