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4.5 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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(Apr 27, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Inspired by a true story, this Golden GlobeÂ(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 'emotionally charged (Screen International), Osama is a striking work of cinematic art (L.A. Weekly). After the brutal Taliban regime bans women from working and forbids them to leave their homes without a male escort, a 12-year old girland her mother find themselves on the brink of starvation. With nowhere left to turn, the mother disguises her daughter as a boy. Now called Osama, the young girl embarks on a terrifying and confusing journey as she tries to keep the Taliban from discovering her true identity. *2003: Foreign Language Film

The first movie produced by Afghanistan filmmakers after the fall of the Taliban, Osama is a searing portrait of life under the oppressive fundamentalist regime. Because women are not allowed to work, a widow disguises her young daughter (Marina Golbahari) as a boy so they won't starve to death. Simply walking the streets is frightening enough, but when the disguised girl is rounded up with all the boys in the town for religious training, her peril becomes absolutely harrowing. Golbahari's face--beautiful but taut with terror--is riveting. The movie captures both her plight and the miseries of daily life in spare, vivid images. At one point, her mother is nearly killed for exposing her feet while riding on the back of a bicycle; for the entire scene, the camera shows only her feet, with the spokes of the wheel radiating out behind as she lowers her burka over them. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • In Pashtu with English subtitles
  • "Sharing Hope and Freedom" featurette with director Siddiq Barmak

Product Details

  • Actors: Marina Golbahari, Mohamad Nader Khadjeh, Zubaida Sahar, Mohammad Arif Herati, Mohammad Nadir Khwaja
  • Directors: Siddiq Barmak
  • Writers: Siddiq Barmak
  • Producers: Siddiq Barmak, Julia Fraser, Julie LeBrocquy, Makoto Ueda, Mohsen Makhmalbaf
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Arabic
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001IXTDG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,168 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Osama" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Calhoun on February 21, 2004
Format: DVD
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.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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