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Christian

Bush Loves 'Osama'! Do You?

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I didn't see any mention of this on the board. Hope I'm not repeating.

Check out this story, which I came across a few days ago but was unable to post before today. I first came across this news in a follow-up story in the "Wall Street Journal," quoting the nervous distributor of "Osama." Seems they're afraid of alienating more people than they bring in by trumpeting the president's endorsement. That article was in the print WSJ and is not available online.

This is fun to watch. I think it's fair to say that a lot of people who appreciate foreign films do so because they appreciate other viewpoints around the world. And that may be due to their suspicions about U.S. motives and policies, and the attempt to get an outside perspective on certain issues.

To see a U.S. administration endorse a film that surely has many fans who don't see eye to eye on Bush's war on terror is intriguing, to say the least.

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Christian wrote:

: I didn't see any mention of this on the board. Hope I'm not repeating.

I mentioned it in my post to the In This World thread, since I saw the two films so close together, but no, I don't think it has its own thread yet.

: Seems they're afraid of alienating more people than they bring in by

: trumpeting the president's endorsement.

Ha!

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I'm sure it's more me that the film, but I found it sorta ho-hum. The Taliban are assholes who did (and will probably do again, given the chance) shameful things, especially to women. But there was really no news there. In fact, I would expect the Taliban is even worse than the portrayal here. I think there was some more development needed, both of the Taliban and of the girl forced to act as a boy.

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I initially gave Osama a B-. Now that time has passed i realize it's actually a C+

with an A- first fifteen minutes. There were certain thematic elements i wish would have been developed more, others less, and i think it could have worked better a little rougher and a little longer. Still, it felt like a more political version of Baran, and no one's complaining about that.

The beginning of the film was as gorgeous as it gets. In the intro, when we are introduced to the land and its many kinds of people, we see hundreds of women dressed in blue in a formal protest in the streets, chanting for work, food and equal rights. Then there is a blended montage of scenes where the Taliban swooops in on them, beating them and firing into the crowd at will. It's extreme rapid fire editing, very real to life pictures, that are colofully sad. Later a child, perhaps an orphan, is seen limping along as adults with their backs to him leave him behind. It's not that they don't care about him. It's just that everyone in the land is struggling to survive.

It was a good film and i'd be happy having heard that anyone else saw it, whether they're the President or not. However, there are other foreign films that are much better made, with better scripts overall. I think Hertenstein summed it up best when he said that he didn't really feel this was a foreign film, as much as it felt like it was an American film that was made about the struggles in a foreign land. Something like that. To which i would have to agree.

-s.

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I just saw this last night, and while it won't displace anything on my all-time favorites list, I was quite impressed. I found myself thinking of Baran as well, although they are quite far apart in tone: Baran is a poignant drama that borders on romantic comedy in some scenes, whereas OSAMA borders on white-knuckle fury against Islamic extremism. Effective too, as I felt enraged at the Taliban, but also overwhelmingly grateful that my daughters are growing up in the abundance and security of Canada. Interesting choice for the opening, though, a quote from Mandela: "I cannot forget but I can forgive."

spoilers1.gif

I didn't expect the film to be slick, having been made so close to the end of the Taliban era, but it was quite artfully done. For one thing, we experience the terror of the Taliban in three encounters before we actually see them; they are a sort of omnipresent oppression, always lurking just out of view. The use of color (women in blue, boys with white turbans, etc.) is great. I loved some of the shots, like the shot of the crippled boy limping alone behind a crowd... and when "Osama" plants her braid in a flower pot. There is also a brilliant shot when she draws a stick figure in the steam on a window -- the figure of a girl -- and we really only see it when a blue truck filled with Taliban passes behind it. The scene where the Mullah lets her choose her padlock is just amazing. And the scene of punishment in the well is, I dunno, perfectly desperate, and a taunting perversion of the cleansing bath demonstrated earlier by the Mullah.

Some of the dialogue is wonderful:

-I wish I had a son instead of a daughter.

-What are you saying? Men and women are equal.... they are equally unfortunate.

It does contain fleeting glimpses of hope, like when friends celebrate a wedding in their traditional fashion until the Taliban arrive, and when the neighbor offers work for Osama even though he can't afford to do so. Even Espandi, the scheming begger and potential blackmailer, takes huge risks in protecting and defending her, his sense of moral outrage overtaking his opportunism. In the midst of hopeless oppression, these people were free on the inside.

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It does contain fleeting glimpses of hope, like when friends celebrate a wedding in their traditional fashion until the Taliban arrive...

Is it ever too late to resurrect an old thread? Just finished this tonight--will try to post more thoughts later, but I'm wiped out. Only wanted to briefly comment on Tim's note--the most stunning thing for me than the little glimpse in the wedding was that a photograph (banned by the talib laws) was serving as a standin for the groom (who was hiding in Iran). And the best part--this is seen only after the mother destroys all her hidden photos of her deceased husband before sending out her daughter as Osama. Marvelous--I'm curious to see this didn't get as positive a reaction here as I would have thought.

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