Osama (2003): Siddiq Barmak’s Family Drama is First to be Entirely Shot in Afghanistan

The first feature to be entirely shot in Afghanistan since 1996, Osama centers a young girl living under the Taliban regime, who disguises herself as a boy named Osama, to support her family.

There is no direct reference to Osama bin Laden, just lending a more symbolic relevance.

Written and directed by Siddiq Barmak, the tale is set against the abusive and repressive treatment of women, who are not allowed to work outside the home.  What is a family, consisting of three women, a young girl, her mother, and her grandmother, to do?

The mother’s husband and uncle have been killed in battle during the Soviet invasion, and there are no men to support the family. The mother works as a hospital nurse, but the Taliban cut off funding, and there’s with no meds or adequate equipment. She’s forced to do unpaid nursing outside the hospital but, after the patient dies, she’s unable to find employment.

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Running time: 82 minutes