Osama

Osama

4.2 7
Director: Siddiq Barmak

Cast: Marina Golbahari, Khwaja Nader, Mohamad Aref Harat

     
 

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Writer/director Siddiq Barmak makes his film debut with Osama, the first all-Afghan feature released since the end of the Taliban rule. In the early days of the regime, a young girl (Marina Golbahari) and her widowed mother (Zobeydeh Sahar) participate in a demonstration for women's right to work. When the demonstration is broken up by the Taliban, they hideSee more details below

Overview

Writer/director Siddiq Barmak makes his film debut with Osama, the first all-Afghan feature released since the end of the Taliban rule. In the early days of the regime, a young girl (Marina Golbahari) and her widowed mother (Zobeydeh Sahar) participate in a demonstration for women's right to work. When the demonstration is broken up by the Taliban, they hide out with local street kid Espandi (Mohamad Aref Harat). When the Taliban take over a hospital where the mother secretly works, they are arrested and jailed. In order to go to work, the mother dresses the young girl as a boy. Forced to attend school, the girl reunites with Espandi, who refers to her as Osama. She struggles to maintain her disguise in order to survive. Osama won an honorable mention at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
Osama is more than a moving film -- it is a historical milestone for war-torn Afghanistan, where this 2003 production was the country’s first since the Taliban outlawed filmmaking in 1996. The story puts a contemporary, intrinsically Afghan spin on the age-old story of a woman passing as a man in society. Under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, only men were allowed to work, so in order to help her widowed mother and grandmother stay afloat, a young girl (Marina Golbahari) masquerades as a boy and becomes the family breadwinner. In times of poverty, strife, and political paranoia, this is a deeply courageous masquerade, and a boy whom the girl confides in (Mohamad Aref Harat) begins calling her Osama, a name that means "lion" in Arabic. With its gripping scenario and natural ease, this would be a praiseworthy film for any writer-director. But the fact that it’s Siddiq Barmak's debut bodes especially well for his future. The film is exquisitely rendered, moving yet not manipulative, arty but not alienating. In a time when Iranian movies have defined South Asian cinema in the art house, Barmak has raised the bar, paving the way for a new generation of Afghan filmmakers.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The first major Afghan movie produced after the fall of the Taliban, Siddiq Barmak's Osama (2003) is not only a vital social document, but also an intense, moving film. Centering on a girl who must disguise herself as a boy to work so her family can survive, Osama mercilessly exposes the effects of the sub-human status of women under the Taliban, including father-, son-, and brotherless families who face starvation because professionally trained mothers can't work, brutal punishments for those who help females find jobs, and the mullahs' power to force marriage upon young fatherless girls. Barmak's arresting visuals reveal how such tiny details as a pair of shoes or an exposed ankle can be a girl's undoing; the lyrically shot opening sequence of a women's protest is at once a startling image of a sea of blue burkas and a potent reminder of the women's dehumanization. The poignant relationship between the girl and the street boy who nicknames her "Osama" to protect her when they're taken to a madrassah attests to Barmak's skill with his non-professional actors (Barmak found lead actress Marina Golbahari when she asked him for change), as well as the invidious effect of the Taliban regime on malleable young males. Criminally overlooked by the Academy, but winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe, Osama is one of the rare overtly political films that succeeds as a work of cinematic artistry.
Entertainment Weekly - Lisa Schwarzbaum
The movie is a rare uncensored postcard from a ruined place, a document at once depressing and hideously beautiful that sketches the real hardships of trampled people -- specifically women -- with authority and compelling simplicity.
New York Times - A.O. Scott
Osama's unvarnished vulnerability, along with the director's combination of tough-mindedness and lyricism, prevents the movie from becoming at all sentimental; instead, it is beautiful, thoughtful and almost unbearably sad.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/27/2004
UPC:
0883904127086
Original Release:
2003
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)

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