Sunday, January 02, 2005

Film Review: Osama

Osama is a heart-rending movie that provides some insight into the plight of women in the early Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Sidiq Barmak, the director, has based this story on a true event. A young girl (Marina Golbihari) and her widowed mother (Zubaida Sahar) participate in a demonstration for women's rights to work to earn a living. The Taliban break up the demonstration and the mother and girl hide from the Taliban with a local street kid, Espandi (Mohamad Aref Harat). Later, when the hospital where the mother works is taken over by the Taliban, the mother loses her job and livelihood. In a desperate move to survive, the mother shaves her daughter's head and dresses her as a boy to send her out to work. The girl is forced to attend school and she meets up again with Espandi who becomes her friend. Espandi names her Osama. She has to struggle to survive by maintaining her disguise as a girl. A 'depressing' but important movie - the first all-Afghani-acted feature film since the end of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Marina Golbihari is outstanding as the young girl who conveys (mostly without speech) deep emotions. This film won an honorable mention at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. My Rating **** out of 5 Other Reviews '"Osama" is like a film from some long-ago age. Although it takes place in Afghanistan, it documents practices so cruel that it is hard to believe such ideas have currency in the modern world.' - Roger Ebert 'Without a word of preaching, Barmak provides a stinging condemnation of the kind of social and cultural stagnation that can arise when religious fanaticism becomes the Law.' - James Berardinelli Buy Osama from

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