> Volume 6 > Number 25


Siddiq Barmak

Marina Golbahari
Arif Herati
Zubaida Sahar

Release: 6 Feb. 04



So, if I may be so bold as to ask, is there an Iranian or Afghan film genre that doesnít obsess over the treatment of women. Itís like all the activists make films to speak their concerns to each other but never take the time to make sure anyone else cares. By the time Osama, a noble if insignificant entrant in this film movement, comes to a close, one can only imagine the greater good that might have been done had the filmmakers instead used their efforts to extol their fellow countrymen of the mistreatment of women. Film going, Iím assuming, isnít quite the same in Tehran as it is in Mumbai, India.

Yes, there is a side to this that the Westerners are the real audience, our riches waiting to be appropriated to them in hopes of changing the areaís social mores. But Osama, like the rest of the pack, doesnít pull of the complete fight for U.S., U.N., NATO, E.U., or any other abbreviated government or non-governmental body aid. Whatís portrayed, for must of us, at least, is a maudlin story of a girl trying to survive in Afghanistan after being dressed a little boy for better potential in life. Though compelling at times, this is mighty boring storytelling for a well meaning purpose. Its claim to fame, evidently, is its willingness to utter the name of Public Enemy No. 1 in its title, but unlike most segments in 11í09Ē01 -- September 11, the impression isnít that we should remember that the problems of life, from illness to poverty to terrorism, are existent everywhere. Osama takes a more counterintuitive approach: feel bad for us, weíre worse off than you. No matter how true this might be, who wants to think their daily dramas are pitifully minor in the overall scheme of things?

©2004, David Perry,, 18 June 2004