August 8, noon, Hoyts 10
This documentary about street kids in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, from Australian war artist George Gittoes, is overlong, unruly and utterly fascinating.
The focus is on three gangs: the Snow Monkeys, who sell ice-creams from handcarts; the Ghostbusters, who wave smoke into cars to exorcise spirits and extract small tips; and a posse of thugs headed by razor-wielding 10-year-old Steel.
They're all old before their time, and Gittoes' mission is to give them back some small part of their childhood while offering a glimpse of an adult life beyond the street.
Towards the end of its 2¾ hours there's shocking footage of a bomb blast, filmed by a 13-year-old Snow Monkey. That such things happen is reason to despair; that a street kid has been empowered to show them to the world is some small reason to hope.
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The story MIFF 2015: George Gittoes' Afghanistan film Snow Monkey is overlong but fascinating first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.