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Son Of A Lion
Australia/Pakistan 2008
Directed by Benjamin Gilmour
Running time 92 minutes
Rated PG
4 stars

Anyone who thinks America has a gun culture will want to revise their opinion after seeing Benjamin Gilmour's fine film about Niaz, the 11 year old son of a gunsmith in Darra Adam Khel, a small town on the north-west border of Pakistan that lives off munitions making. The father is a crotchety old former mujahadeen whose fundamentalist prejudices make him obdurately resistant to Niaz’s desire to broaden his horizons by going to school rather than becoming his father's apprentice.  Fortunately he has a sympathetic ear in his uncle who lives in Peshwar. Son Of A Lion is a striking work, mixing social commentary with its simple narrative and an impressive instance of guerrilla film-making by Gilmour who was a novice filmmaker and was working in an area of Pakistan where foreigners are not allowed. Despite the enormous obstacles he faced, he believed enough in his project to get the film made over a 5 year period and no-one would dispute that he has realized his ambitions. Using non-professional actors and with a documentary style of filming Son Of A Lion is a convincingly authentic portrait of a place and time that actually benefits from the rigours of its production. BH

DVD Extras: Commentary by Gilmour with actors Niaz Khan Shinwari and Hayat Khan Shinwari ;  Behind-the-scenes footage; Deleted scenes. Theatrical trailer

Available from: Madman




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