Search - Osama on DVD

Actors: Marina Golbahari, Mohamad Nader Khadjeh, Zubaida Sahar, Arif Herati, Mohamad Haref Harati
Director: Siddiq Barmak
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
PG-13     2004     1hr 23min

Inspired by a true story, this Golden GlobeĀ(r)-winning* drama is the first film made in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Hailed by critics as 'stunning (Entertainment Weekly), breathtaking (Slant) and 'emotio...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Marina Golbahari, Mohamad Nader Khadjeh, Zubaida Sahar, Arif Herati, Mohamad Haref Harati
Director: Siddiq Barmak
Creators: Ebrahim Ghafori, Siddiq Barmak, Julia Fraser, Julie LeBrocquy, Makoto Ueda, Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/27/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: Arabic
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Mamie H. (towncar1997) from TAHLEQUAH, OK
Reviewed on 2/7/2011...
It is so very, very SAD the way that Women are treated in other countries. It certainly makes you appreciate our Freedom in the United States. I would highly recommend this Movie!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 09/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This 2004 Golden Globe award winner for Best Foreign Language film, directed by Afghani Siddiq Barmak, is a stunning indictment of the repressive, fundamentalist Taliban regime and its treatment of women. Filmed on a shoestring budget, the film is a composite of a number of true stories, coalescing into one. It is harrowing look at a feudal sort of government that equated women with little more than chattel. Forced to be totally dependent on men, the question arises as to what would be their fate, if all the men in their world were to no longer be there for them.

This is the issue that confronts one particular woman, a widowed doctor, who treats patients in secret. Unfortunately, the hospital, if one can call it that, has not paid her for some time, and she can no longer work there. Moreover, it has become too dangerous for her to travel the streets, as she is a lone woman forbidden to travel the streets without the accompaniment of a member of the male sex. As her household consists solely of three generation of women, having lost her husband and her brother, circumstances are dire indeed.

She must devise some plan of getting or earning their daily bread, if they are to survive. She turns to her young timid daughter, a girl on the cusp of womanhood. She decides that her beautiful daughter must disguise herself as a boy and go out into the world to help earn some food for the family, or they will die. Thus, the daughter is transformed into a boy called Osama. The mother then takes Osama to see a kindly former comrade of Osama's late father, who now runs a small dusty shop. There, Osama is left to work, stirring cauldrons of steaming milk, scenes that are positively medieval.

Passing as a boy, Osama is obliged to do those things that a male is expected to do. So, when the Taliban police come to the shop looking for boys for indoctrination at a mullah run school, Osama has no choice but to go. Thus, begins the downfall of Osama. Despite the best efforts of Espandi, an enterprising street urchin who has befriended Osama and knows her secret, Osama is to continue a harrowing journey that only one of her sex may travel.

This is an intriguing film that, despite being somewhat choppy and disjointed in the telling, provides a birds-eye view at what life was like for women under the Taliban. The beautiful imagery of the film is a strong counterpoint to the harshness of Taliban rule. It is a mercy for women that the Taliban is no longer in power. This film certainly brings home the absolute cruelty of that regime towards women.

Though the director uses non-actors for the roles in the film, each one of them does a yeoman's job with the given role. Arif Herati, who plays the role of Espandi, has a great deal of screen presence. Marina Gobahan, who has the starring role of Osama, is excellent as the timid and shy girl who reluctantly cross dresses as a male in order to help her family. Her terror of being killed and her fear of the Taliban is palpable throughout the film. Her eyes are most expressive, world weary and infinitely sad. It were those very eyes that drew the director to cast her in the role of Osama. This is a film that will leave its imprint on the viewer.

The DVD offers little by way of special features, though it does offer a moderately interesting interview with the director that runs about twenty minutes in length."
Putting a human face on Taliban rule in Afghanistan
S. Calhoun | Chicago, IL United States | 02/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"OSAMA is a stark and grim film that highlights the oppressive regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Based on a true story, this film follows the life of a 12-year-old Afghan girl and her mother. After the Taliban shut down the hospital that the mother works at she is desperate to find work but her efforts are bleak because she cannot go out in public without being escorted by a male. With no men in her family and no one else to help her the girl is transformed into a boy to help support the family. Aside from escorting her mother through the streets she finds work in a small foods shop. Each time she ventures outside she fears her life because if she is caught the Taliban will do serious harm to her. In addition, she fails to fully personify a boy since she speaks with a high voice, wears feminine slippers, and doesn't know the proper prayer rituals. But soon enough she is forced to join a Taliban school. During sessions of religious and military training her secret is close to being revealed. The only other boy who knows the truth names her Osama in an effort to try to ward off suspicions from the other boys. After her disguise is revealed and the Taliban has arrested her she is sure to suffer an unspeakable sentence for imitating a boy. Her future is bleak and desperate. There is no happy ending in this film, and the audience is left with a sad feeling of despair and shock. Surely we've all heard the atrocities committed by the Taliban since 9/11/01, but OSAMA enables the viewer to get a powerful glimpse of the horrendous events in Afghanistan under the Taliban. This is the first film to come out of this impoverished country since the end of the Taliban regime, but I hope it's not the last. There are a multitude of stories of Taliban victims that deserve to be heard. These people should not suffer alone. Putting a human face on this tragedy often results in the outside world understanding the horrors that happened. OSAMA is an excellent film that succeeds on many levels, and is highly recommended."
One Girl's Survival in Afganistan; Strong and Sad
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 05/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Golden Globe Award winner "Osama" may remind you of a certain person. The fact is, the "Osama" is about a 12 year-old girl who must survive the life in Afganistan when the Taliban ruled the city with their rigid dogmas, prohibiting many things -- photoes, music, and women going out without a male accompanied, let alone working.[STORY] is about the unnamed girl whose family have no male relatives. This means they cannot go out to work, and the girl takes a desperate remedy -- she has her hair cut, and disguises herself as a boy, in order to work at a kind milkman's shop. Only a boy who sells scent in the street knows the truth, but how long can this trick go on when the Taliban regime seizes the power, ruling the place with fear?[DIRECTOR] Siddiq Barmak, born in Afganistan, learned the filmmaking in Russian school (then USSR), so "Osama," often slow and quiet as it is, has a very sophisticated touch with the smooth camarawork. If you are not accustomed to watching the non-English speaking films from, say, Iran, you find it a rather tough watching at first, but as the story goes on, the film gets more intense, drawing your attention to the film's world.[THE GIRL] is played by Marina Golbahari, who was literally "found" by the director when she was begging on the street to provide for the family. In spite of the fact that she was an amateur (the Talibans banned any films), she is THE heroine the director was looking for, and you know it if you see her very sad eyes. Actually, her eyes are strikingly pure, telling every emotion of the heroine so naturally.[ABOUT THE ENDING] Don't worry, no spoiler. Still, you have to know that the director's first intention was different. In the original version, the girl goes away into the "rainbow." (That is why the grandmother's short story about the girl and the rainbow is included.) But Director Barmak decided on deleting it completely, watching that Golbahari could not stop crying, remembering the painful past while shooting (her father was tortured by the Taliban). So, the film ends with an open ending, which, unintentionally gives an impact, heightening the authentic tone of the film."Osama" is no political adenda though it will make you think about the gender, religion, and the US policies. Above all, however, this is an intense drama about a girl's life. I simply wish the happiness of the girl in film, and Marina Golbahari herself."