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American Women's Club of Hamburg

The Berlinale Cloud: Featuring Mina Walking

With hundreds of films on offer during the Berlinale, followed by press conferences, interviews, planning and of course, coffee, it is inevitable that you cannot possibly screen every film that you would like to see. In the past, I have worked with Culinary Cinema to watch videos of a film in a private office on a small flat screen or I could borrow a DVD and watch it on a laptop. This year I was advised that some films are available on The Cloud. Although the film I needed from the Culinary Cinema was not on The Cloud, I received a press release on another film which indicated it was available to see on The Cloud. Intrigued, I contacted the press agent, sent him my Berlinale press account name and then received an answer that the film was ready to watch. The problem was, no one seemed to know where to find The Cloud. After a lot of running around to different press offices, and being sent back and forth from one to the other without a clear result, I finally asked the lovely young lady who sits in the press computer room monitoring the “15 minutes only” computers. Probably thrilled to leave her perch, she ran around and came back with a web address. At first that address didn’t work, but after another trip into the secret back rooms of the Hyatt press area: success! I could not view the film on my iPad without downloading more software so I waited until I returned home. There I was able to watch Mina Walking (Canada, Afghanistan 2015) on our large, flat screen television. The Cloud is a terrific way to see films as a journalist when press schedules prevent viewing during the festival. Next year I will definitely make better use of the option.

FILM REVIEW: Mina Walking
Yosef Baraka, Canada/Afghanistan 

Mina (Farzana Nawabi) is only twelve years old but takes care of her ailing senile grandfather, sells trinkets on the streets to earn money that is demanded by her junkie father, collects scraps of cloth from trash to sew into clothing to learn to be a seamstress and, despite family objections, attends school. Her mother was killed by the Taliban. She lives with her father and grandfather behind a stone wall, in an area with a dirt floor, bare of furniture, no running water and with just a metal door to separate them from the street. Mina collects water, buys food and cooks the meals. She begs for fresh milk. When her grandfather dies, she must ask neighbors and then the local Oman for help to bury him before sunset while her father remains oblivious, completely wasted on heroin. She sews her grandfather’s burial shroud. They take him in a donkey cart to be buried.

After her grandfather dies, her life does not get easier. Mina realizes her father wants to sell her into marriage. She has a fight with her best friend because he also deals drugs. She angers the local drug lord which begins a series of events that end in tragedy. This is the story of a resilient young woman, left to fend for herself like so many more orphans and widows on the streets of Kabul. Shot on location, in a documentary style, the devastation of war and the lack of a working economy are startlingly depicted. (MN)

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