Sunday, May 02, 2004


We just watched the Afghan movie, Osama (available on DVD), which could be subtitled, "Mom, I told you it wouldn't work."

It's a very good film, the first released in post-Taliban Afghanistan, by a good Muslim who focuses directly on the corruption and cruelty of the former regime. In it, a 12-year-old girl cuts her hair and pretends to be a boy so that she can help support her widowed mother and grandmother, who are not permitted outside the house without a male relative accompanying them. Like many Afghan women, their male relatives have died in the country's devasting wars.

Besides the compelling story line, the filmmaker, Siddiq Barmak, shows himself to be a master of the cinematic image.

Most interesting fact learned from the bonus materials on the DVD: the burqa is not a traditional Afghan or Muslim outfit, but was a fashion import from India, which the Taliban used as a means of confining women. So many of them are blue because it's a beautiful color.

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