Film Screening 7th September, 2004

Poster for Osama


8:00 PM, 7th September, 2004
No Guests

  • M
  • 83 mins
  • 2003
  • Siddiq Barmak
  • Siddiq Barmak
  • Marina Golbahari, Arif Herati, Zubaida Sahar

This outstanding piece of cinema opens in a documentary style, slipping the audience effortlessly into bombed-out Afghanistan under the Taliban. Forbidden to work or to leave their house without a male relative, three generations of women (daughter, mother, grandmother) face starvation with no man to earn a living. The 12 year old girl (Golbahari) has her hair cut and is presented to the world as a boy, sent out to make money. A mullah takes the 'boy' off to a Taliban training camp. The other boys suspect something, even after street urchin Espandi (Herati) defends her and gives her the name Osama. Eventually her secret is revealed and her patriarchal oppression intensifies.

This heart-breaking film is anti-fundamentalism, not anti-Islam. It's too easy to see the Taliban as evil, and the complicated themes (gender, society, religion) raised by such a simple film make it truly outstanding. It still resonates with me, and I wonder how far our 'modern' society is from such disaster. A confronting must-see.

Scott Hopkins