Lord of the Flies has nothing on Osama.
Would women rather be dead than live this life?
Bleak doesn’t begin to describe Osama.
Desperate doesn’t begin to describe Osama.
Arresting images of women in pale blue birkas who had dared to protest running from the taliban.
Scruffy boy speaking to the camera. He is in the beginning like a hieratic Greek chorus.
Limping children struggling in pillered walkways.
The plight of women under true oppression, their universal plight in time of war.
A mother says: "I wish God had not created women."
Her old mother corrects her saying men and women are equal. They work as hard. They are equally unfortunate.
A 12-year-old Afghan girl and her mother lose their jobs when the Taliban closes the hospital where they work. The Taliban have also forbidden women to leave their houses without a male "legal companion." With her husband and brother dead, killed in battle, there is no one left to support the family. Without being able to leave the house, the mother is left with nowhere to turn. Feeling that she has no other choice, she 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. Inspired by a true story, Osama is the first entirely Afghan film shot since the fall of the Taliban.
In despair they take the daughter cut her hair, put her in pants, make her a boy. They need a male family member who can escort a woman who goes to give health care to the sick for what ever money they can make. They talk about it while braiding her hair.
Like the Chinese King of Masks (much happier, being Chinese) or the Jewish Yenta (much happier being a musical) and also the Chinese Farewell My Concubine (much happier because… well… because…) with its scenes of forcing a choice this movie has its hideous scenario of death or life, to be a girl or be a false boy.
I was reminded of Vittorio di Sicca and Zhang Yimou who made films with non-actors. There is a starling reality to what they produce.
But bleak doesn’t begin to describe Osama. You keep looking for little rays of hope, but they elude you as quickly as you summon them.
The little girl buries her hair with a bit of pigtail sticking out like a sappling, later with the remains of an IV dripping on it. It is a harbinger of annihilation of hope.
The mother of the false boy wants an old war comrade running an apothacary, milk bar of sorts of her dead husband to hire the son who is a daughter. And so the horror begins.
Her identity can’t be hidden and you know it. And you get the sense that the mother knew it and the old woman knew it.
There are some striking moments of film making which clue you in to what is coming.
Little sounds of a scissor in advance before you see it cutting. Scrapping of a metal sittring implement on the bottom of a cauldron.
Distant and ever closer single shot gunfire.
Bare and dry… everything. The cutting of a green ripse watermellon as if it were a head to be devoured.
The prayer chant allah hu akbar during prayer.
The little actress remains obviously a girl which heightens the tension, because we know what the Talbian would do to the women in this scenario.
I was struck, on the intellectual level with a moment of change in the style of language with story telling.
The old woman, grandmother, has the other side of the story, the message that being a man is no picnic.
One wonders if Major Hassan had this in mind as he shot his victims, invoking the name of his god.