Osama, The Movie (2003)

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Osama, The Movie (2003)

Postby Ahreeman X » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:48 am

Osama, The Movie (2003)

Director: Siddiq Barmak
Osama played by Marina Golbahari

Awards

Best Foreign Language Film: 61st Golden Globes 2004
Special Mention: Cannes Film Festival 2003
Best First Feature: London Film Festival 2003

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Osama The Official Site
http://www.osamamovie.com

Osama on IMDB
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368913

OSAMA
Written and directed by: Siddiq Barmak.
Cast: Marina Golbahari, Arif Herati, Zubaida Sahar, Gol Rahman,
Ghorbandi, Mohamad Haref Harati, Mohamad Nader Khadjeh,
Khwaja Nader, Hamida Refah.
Choreography by: Ebrahim Ghafori.
In Dari with English subtitles.

Siddiq Barmak
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Siddiq Barmak's Osama
http://www.afghanland.com/entertainment/barmak.html

Barmak Films
http://www.barmakfilm.com/
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Postby Ahreeman X » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:57 am

Afghan boys don't cry
Review by Peter Theis

"Osama," the first film made in post-Taliban Afghanistan, is a gripping small story with big implications about what happens when a desperate family commits the unthinkable crime - sending a daughter out in boy's clothing to earn a living.

Barmak's indirect approach evokes the nature of Taliban repression. It is not excessive; no massacre is needed. Just enough to sow fear and terror.

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In the cinema of witness, a movie's merit lies largely in its fidelity to the reality of oppression. Yet the film has to have more - else it would only be journalism. In the first film made in post-Taliban Afghanistan, writer/director/editor Siddiq Barmak succeeds, skillfully and without a false note, in making an engrossing drama of life under the Taliban. It is an Ockham's razor of narrative and image which reaches out from the screen and cuts the viewer; more than the heart bleeds as the twelve-year old protagonist (Marina Golbahari) negotiates her impossible world.

The film takes place sometime after the rise of the Taliban, and opens with a scene of a demonstration. Women clad in blue burqas cascade down a dusty hill, demanding the right to work to feed their families. These are women without men, who were taken over years of war and chaos. Notwithstanding the chanted qualification to the women's demands, "We are not political!" the Taliban know what Western feminists teach: the personal is the political. Through weapon and water cannon, the Taliban break up the demonstration.

Barmak conveys the violence obliquely. The agents of the Taliban are left out of frame, and the carnage is mostly symbolic. A ruined burqa washes down the street as the demonstrators scream and flee pell-mell. Barmak's indirect approach evokes the nature of Taliban repression. It is not excessive; no massacre is needed. Just enough to sow fear and terror. Throughout the film, Taliban agents are omnipresent to police even the slightest departure from prescribed gender conduct, even in private spaces. Their malevolence, even without violence, is strongly felt.

The young protagonist, not named, gets caught up in the demonstration, and she is terrified. To her pre-adolescent eyes, the ubiquitous Taliban men are inexplicable bogeymen, raw representives of menace. But for lack of any other option, the mother (Khwaja Nader) insists that her understandably trepid daughter pass as a boy, and go out among the bogeymen to work. Although the request seems extreme, the mother is simply applying the logic of deception that allows every woman to survive. Throughout the film, women must dissemble constantly, pretending that they are mourning when they are celebrating, and pretending that they are with a male relative when they are not. Passing, in one form or another, is the norm.

However, the girl's act of deception is made difficult when she is drafted, along with every other village boy, into the local madrassa, a religious school. Her inability to execute boyish rites of masculinity - she can't even tie a turban - begins to give her away to her schoolmates. In a desperate attempt to allay suspicion, the girl's one ally, a beggar child (Arif Herati) who is in on the deception, christens her Osama. Yes, she is named after Osama bin Laden, who is deemed an ideal of manhood, a warrior. But even one of the madrassa's clerics (or rather, a satyr in cleric's clothing) intuits the girl's femininity, likening her to a nymph.

Without giving away too much, the remainder of the film follows the logic of its premises faithfully and creatively. The narrative unspools amidst a sequence of striking and symbolic imagery: an abyss of a well, a ruined lawcourt, a thread of locks. It is a looking-glass world where womanhood is a tragic flaw, but nonetheless has utility for the men in charge. The resolution of the film brings this home, proving that gender disempowerment, no matter what ideology sustains it, ultimately keeps women where men prefer them most.

Osama benefits from its spare production (it is the first post-Taliban film, made on the only 35mm camera in the country). Cinematic minimalism provides the perfect feel to a story about lack of freedom in a spartan nation. The performance of the young girl - a non-professional found in the street - is natural, conveying all the terror and confusion of her situation. Most importantly, the story is gripping and unflinching, and Barmak (who cites Russia's Andrei Tarkovsky and Iran's Abbas Kiarostami as influences) deploys a subtle symbolism, and memorable imagery, which reinforces the narrative arc. The result is a film of power, with its despair on its sleeve.

Of course, a detached observer might cast a wary eye towards this film's reception in America, given the political establishment's interest in Afghanistan and reductive view of Islam. Will this film contribute to the new Orientalism which demonizes Islam and rationalizes armed intervention? Will this film contribute to the idea that Taliban Afghanistan was merely a unique aberration - now an artifact - in squashing the rights of women beneath a reign of men?

These questions and others must be asked, but Barmak can likely be absolved from any complicity. His film is a local one, concerned with the specific techniques of fear and control through which the Taliban ruled. He makes no generalization of Islam, but condemns a police society where women must surrender any semblance of life upon pain of death. To the extent that his film is a well-imagined dramatization of a life under that poisoned social model, it deserves its accolades, and an audience.
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Osama The Movie, a must watch study on Islamic Societies

Postby Ahreeman X » Thu Oct 06, 2005 12:06 pm

Osama, The Movie
A must watch social study on Islamic Societies.
Review by Ahreeman X
October 6, 2005

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A 12 Year old girl & her mother lose their jobs working in a hospital. After the rise of Taliban, women cannot work, nor can they browse outside the house without a guardian or a male family member. Little girl's father and uncle have been martyred and out of the picture, so there is no one to support the family consisting of the little girl, her mother and Grand Mother.

Out of desperation, the family cut her hair and disguise her as a boy, so she becomes Osama, to work and support her family (Reminds you of the Persian movie Baran). She ends up working in a local store. Taliban, mistaken her for a young boy, take her to religious studies "Maktab" to become a young Taliban!

Eventually they find out about her secret and she is to be judged by the judge and the Shari'a Law. An old Mullah asks the judge to forgive her sins and instead of killing her via stoning or shooting, allows her to become wedded to him! The judge accepts Mullahs recommendation and forgives Osama. Instead of execution, Osama (12 year old girl) becomes the 4th wife of the Old Mullah (Senior Citizen in his 70s).

Somewhere in the middle of the movie, before Osama was discovered as a girl, The Mullah, as an instructor, was teaching all the young boys including Osama, on how to Qosl (after sex, Islamic bathing/washing). At the end of the movie, after legally raping Osama (Jenabat), Mullah jumps in the Khazineh (Middle Eastern Tub) to Qosl!

I strongly recommend for "All" to see this movie. This movie can portray and inform you of psyche of the Muslim, Middle Eastern environment, and the True Nature of Islam and Muslim. After viewing this movie, you will get a much better understanding about the Value of women in Islam!

This movie happened in Afghanistan, but similar stories are presently happing all over Middle East, even in small villages of Iran!

Girls as young as 9 years old, with father's permission, can legally be wedded to men as old as 60 or 70 years old! Prophet Muhammad himself married a 6 year old Ayishah and supposedly awaited her 9th birthday before he had sex with her!

In today's Iran (The Most sophisticated Islamic nation), a 9 year old girl can be married to an adult male; however, she does not have the right to vote in elections, until she is 16 year old! Set aside that a 16 year old, by no means has the maturity and political knowledge to vote in an election! But then again what part of life in Islamic Republic of Iran is logical, that this will be the second coming of logic in Iran?! When shari'a laws and theocracy allows one to vote @ 16, then why not marry @ 9?!

Today's Afghanistan has changed, Taliban are gone to mountains and out of government. Women can once more work and they don't have to wear Burqah. But certain questions remain unanswered:

Since the fall of Taliban, how much is the Mentality of the society as a whole, has changed? Do you believe an enforced American/Western Change, has truly changed the mentality of the region? Can a 1400 year old Dogmatic Superstitious way of life, be changed by a couple of forced regime changes in Iraq and Afghanistan? What if tomorrow, Americans pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Would the American backed regimes be able to maintain the Status Q? Or would these Barbie Doll, Civilized and Democratic Regimes be swallowed by Theocratic and/or Dictatorial Middle Eastern thought patterns? Do people of region really comprehend the meaning of Democracy?

While ago, in a meeting, the tribal leaders of Iraq were telling Chalabi, they don't care about democracy, but they need a strong leader to lead Iraq!

The Whole region needs to do some serious soul searching thorough their old ways and today's modern ways. They must find their identity and seek for their true desires!

You can watch this movie on Sundance Channel, rent the DVD or purchase it.

For more Iranian/Foreign Movies on Sundance Channel, go to:

Sundance Channel
http://www.sundancechannel.com

Search for "Iran" (in this case Afghanistan or Osama)
and you will get the current month's list of screenings.

Every Month, Sundance Channel screens a number of award wining Iranian Movies.

This movie is the first Afghan made movie since the rise and fall of Taliban!

See you @ the movies

AX
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