B R I E F   S Y N O P S I S
A twelve-year-old Afghan girl (Marina Golbahari) and her mother (Zubaida Sahar) lose their jobs when the Taliban closes the hospital where they work. With her husband and brother dead, and forbidden by the Taliban to leave the house without a "legal companion," the mother decides to disguise her daughter as a boy. Now called Osama, the girl embarks on a terrifying journey as she tries to keep the Taliban from finding out her true identity. Inspired by a true story.

It was one of my dreams to become a film projectionist. It was my dream to find something in that dark place where one line of light is shining towards a big white screen. Now I believe this line of light can be moved towards peoples' minds and enlighten them, especially in Afghanistan.

I love the poetic style of movies. In this case, I can say I was influenced by the Andrei Tarkovsky film style and Tengiz Abuladze. Also, of course, the Iranian filmmakers Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Abbas Kiarostami; all these masters have had a big influence on my way of filmmaking.

If I want to make something, I try to collect as much information as possible, especially the real experiences I have had as well as people's recollections and experiences. When I was in Pakistan, I was looking to make a short fiction film and was trying to find special subjects and characters. Coincidentally, I read a letter from an old Afghan teacher about a little girl with a burning desire to attend school during the Taliban regime when it was forbidden for girls. She changed her appearance to look like a boy by cutting her hair and wearing boys outfits. Of course, it was a story which shocked me and my friends. That story inspired my film Osama.

Osama is a bitter and tragic story of Afghan life, a story about the worst time under the Taliban regime when nobody had their own right to make a decision. It is a story about those who lost their identity and their rights, using the little girl, Osama, as the conduit for the storytelling. It is a story about fear, where people are afraid of even the sounds of the shadows. It is a story about the seemingly endless injustices brought upon women. And it is the story of a little girl and the injustice and religious extremism she's forced to carry on her shoulders.

I hope our nation's pain, sorrows and suffering shock the audience and change their minds about the future of the human psyche. The Afghan people have many things to say to the world and we have a lot of talented filmmakers in our country. To realize our dreams, we need international assistance.

We can now see the first steps being taken towards developing Afghan cinema and I am very optimistic about its future. I want to be a messenger of the aspiration and desire of Afghan filmmakers.


©2004 Landmark Theatres