Magazine article New Internationalist

Osama Directed by Siddiq Barmak

Magazine article New Internationalist

Osama Directed by Siddiq Barmak

Article excerpt

We never learn her real name but she lives with her mother and her grandmother. Her father is dead, a casualty of war. The Taliban - this is the late 1990s - ban women from working and even from leaving the home without a male escort. The mother, a nurse, cannot work and so the family face starvation.

To survive they disguise the 12-year-old girl as a boy - Osama. This is no theatrical convention. The film is bleakly, vividly realistic and the crop-haired girl is often terrified - the transgression could mean her execution. At first the risk is low. She helps an old comrade of her father who runs a bare little-frequented cafeteria and at the end of the day scurries home with bread and milk. But when the Taliban press-gang local boys and she finds herself in a military training camp, she's in trouble. Although, in her father's cut-down clothes, she can pass for a boy in appearance, she just can't act like one. …

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