Osama | Chicago Reader

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This bleak tale of a young girl trying to stay alive in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is compelling despite an almost complete lack of subtlety. Marina Golbahari leads a wonderful cast of nonprofessional actors as the 12-year-old, whose mother disguises her as a boy in the hope that she'll have some semblance of a normal life under the notoriously misogynistic regime. The plan succeeds to a fault, however, when a local cleric sends the girl off to a Taliban indoctrination camp for boys. Writer-director Siddiq Barmak takes a blunt approach to the material, which actually works in its favor, stripping the story of any sentimentality and leaving a simple but effective portrait of the Taliban's cruelty. In Dari and Pashtu with subtitles. PG-13, 82 min.

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