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TIFF Kids International Film Festival Review: “Mina Walking” (2015) ★★★★★


Farzana_Nawabi. Photo by Yosef Baraki. (Courtesy of Baraki Film)

Her mother was killed by the Talibans when she was little. Her ungrateful father is most of the time ‘high’, and does not bother to support his small family financially. Her old grandfather is still alive, because of her skills, knowledge, and ability to be home just in time to save his life. In the meantime, she has sold something on the streets of Kabul in order to look after two grown up persons. Indeed, not too many people can handle the pressure and difficulties Mina had to go through… But this 12 year-old shoulders can take much more than you can imagine. Even more than that.…

Mina Walking follows Mina, who, at her young age does what some adults in well established countries do not do: cook, sew, wash, and selling knick-knacks on the war-torn streets of Kabul to feed her severely neglected father and aging grandfather. For that, she does not even get any credit. All what she does is keep moving forward no matter what the circumstances are…

When the film begins, we find Mina quickly jumping towards her grandfather to perform a few important steps to save his life. So, she continues doing that until the day when she finds him dead while she was away, working. In one of those nightmarish days, she finds her father ‘high’, while her grandfather was still alive. Torn between two men, Mina still tries to manage the best she could. However, one day, when she approaches Bashir, a local drug dealer, and demands to stop selling drugs to her father, she was kicked out of the building. When she receives a negative answer from Bashir, the little girl steals his drugs hoping that it will solve her family issues and keep her father away from drugs…

The outcome of her action brings an unprecedented result that will force Mina to make a life-changing decision, and from that moment on she will never be the same person. However, it’s not what will make your heart cry, but a few scenes before, when Mina is the only sane person at home tries to find a man who could help her bury her deceased grandfather. Only Samir tries to provide help and support as much as he could, while the rest of neighborhood showed indifference towards her unfortunate and heartbreaking situation.

I don’t know how many of you would have seen in real life what has been shown in Mina Walking, but I must admit, it was captured with honesty and without compassion. It’s not rare to see how one little girl sometimes takes responsibility to look after her damaged family without losing her dignity and face, if you understand what I mean. Mina spends all her life walking through the trouble and the unpleasantness of her life without looking back or even stopping. This is why, looking at the performance of Farzana Nawabi as Mina, it’s even more hurting as unfortunately Mina is not alone in this world whose has to go through what Mina goes through….

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