Tuesday, April 12, 2016
TIFF KIDS Film Review- MINA WALKING
The 2016 TIFF KIDS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 8-24 at Bell Lightbox.
MINA WALKING - Screens Tuesday April 12 at 12:15. Ages 12-13
12 year old Mina (Farzana Nawbi) wakes up in a makeshift dwelling in Kabul. She is greeted to sounds of her grandfather foaming at the mouth in the next room. Mina runs outside amongst the rocks and dirt in her yard then up a ladder to find a stash of medicine for her granddad. She returns administers it then proceeds to get ready for school. Next Mina is next off to school where she takes her place in class having completed her homework. Mina is active and engaged in school but her day is just beginning. After school she heads to the local market to obtain the goods that she all try and sell for the day. She is given scarves that are often hard to sell to businessmen and tourists as they pass through the market area.
Director Yousef Baraki uses two distinct shooting styles in the film. The main camera work is handheld. The camera is right on Mina as she walks through the streets of Kabul into the alleys and amongst the nooks and crannies of her home compound. The other is a series of overhead shoots where the camera is stationary that is mainly used during the market scenes. You see the street urchins following the townsfolk as they walk past trying to persuade them to buy as their item is of the highest quality. The stationary overhead camera is also used for shots to set the scene for the town. You the rubble, the half collapsed buildings, the broken down military vehicles that serve as climbers for the towns children and the small vehicle whipping though the cities dirt roads.
The first reveal answers the questions about Mina's parental figures. We learn that he mother died at the hands of the Taliban and her father is a heroin addict hence the need to hide her grandfathers medication. Mina's dad is mean to her on a regular basis. He spends most of his time passed out in his room berates Mina for restraining her grandfather so he does not wander away. He dad doesn't see the point of her going to school when she should be working full time to support her family. Mina suggests that he should look after her dad but he insist that he out looking for work. Mina has her doubts as the leader of her Street Urchin pack Bashir is also the main drug supplier for her dad.
Farzana Nawbi turns in a natural and powerful performance as Mina. She is always in motion has anther task to perform as she tries to survive in a shell of a town doing whatever she can to help her family and herself. He is a fighter, stand up for herself and will sell her position and make her thoughts herd whether she is dealing with a customer, her employer or her father. Nawbi is at her best in the scenes at school when she interacts with her fellow classmates and her teacher. Massoud Fanaie is also strong as Bashir the street boss. He is the only one that Mina does to get the upper hand on for a god part of the film. He is friendly on occasion but can switch to scary confrontational at a moments notice.
Mina Walking is a up close study of a young girl in a turbulent environment. She is doing tasks that no 12 year old should be performing. She is nursemaid to her grandfather, mother to her dad, and the breadwinner for her family. The film is a painful and hard watch but the experience is exactly what director wants for his audience to see the world through Mina's eyes and realize that her hard choices are what she has to do to keep moving forward.
**** Out of 4.
Mina Walking | Yousef Baraki | Canada / Afghanistan | 2015 | 110 Minutes.
Tags: Kabul, 12 year old Girl, Burka, Street Urchin, Heroin, Taliban, Afghanistan.