International Artist SPOTLIGHT: Phil Grabsky

I found Phil Grabsky‘s beautiful The Boy Mir–Ten Years in Afghanistan on PBS this fall. Sans narration, the filmmaker unfolds the peaceful village life of the enthusiastic, impoverished Hazara boy, Mir, he filmed for a previous documentary, The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamyan.

The Boy Mir

Mir boxing with the camera. Image belongs to Seventh Art Productions (UK).


Grabsky captures no footage of the Taliban.

Americans don’t play a significant role.

And there’s no cry for aid.

But most striking of all is Mir’s smile. This is Mir’s Afghanistan: Afghanistan from the perspective of one child growing up separated from the entire world–including other ethnic groups in his own country–by land mines and mine shafts. Though isolated, he’s neither ignorant nor naive, and though hungry, he never stops relishing life.

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