Taliban Oppression Portrayed in Afghan Film

October 1st, 2004 by Adam

Osama, the second film in the Plymouth State University International Film Series, will be shown at 7 p.m., Tuesday, October 12 in the Frost Academic Commons on the PSU campus.

The award-winning film was directed by Siddiq Barmak, who fled the country when the Taliban assumed power.

The film highlights the plight of a 12 year-old Afghan girl and her mother, who lose their jobs when the Taliban closes the hospital where they work. The Taliban forbad women from leaving their houses without “legal companions” and since the mother’s husband and the girl’s brother are dead, they have no way of supporting themselves.

Feeling she has no other choice, the mother disguises her daughter as a boy. Now called Osama, the girl embarks on a terrifying and confusing journey as she tries to keep the Taliban from finding out her true identity.

This is the first movie entirely shot in Afghanistan after the rise and fall of the Taliban.

Director Barmak escaped Kabul two weeks after the Taliban assumed power and, after crossing the Shamali Plain, immigrated to Pakistan. He returned to Kabul after the Taliban fell.

While in exile, he was inspired by a letter from an old Afghan teacher about a little girl who had a burning desire to attend school — girls were forbidden from going to school by the Taliban — and cut her hair and wore boys’ clothes to appear to be a boy so she could go to school.

Rated PG-13, the film is in Dari and Pashtu with English subtitles.

Upcoming films in the series include: Amélie, November 18; The Fast Runner, February 23; Monsoon Wedding, March 30, and Goodbye, Lenin!, April 28.
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