December 12, 2009



Screenshot from the 2003 Afghan film Osama. The pictured character is a girl who lives with her war-widowed mother and grandmother in a remote village. Their town is controlled by the Taliban, who, in all their spiritual and material wisdom, have forbidden women to work or even be outdoors without male accompaniment. In order to avoid starving to death, the female family opts for androgyny. The young daughter dresses as a boy to go out and work for food, where she is conscripted into military training. Her new name: Osama, naturally.

It's not the tale of a plucky, resilient heroine who daringly flaunts repressive norms. Rather, this compact movie is a raw, bitter glimpse into the terror and desperation of living under crushing tyranny with no hope of improvement.

If you want the feeling of a punch to the gut, or seek additional fodder for detesting the Taliban, put this stunning film at the top of the queue.

1 comment:

  1. I just picked it up from the library - to watch this weekend.