This gritty, realistic, depressing, and thoroughly compelling depiction of the life of women under the Taliban is told through the eyes of a young girl whose mother disguises her as a boy. This disguise is not a ruse to get ahead or get her an education, it is a necessity to survive as the girl lives with her mother and grandmother: none of the three are allowed to work or even go out in public alone. Although the story is harsh, and there is certainly no Hollywood ending, it’s still inspiring for a number of reasons: this is the first feature film filmed in Afganistan after liberation from the Taliban; it’s the first film for writer-director Siddiq Barmak, and first film for former street-urchin Marina Golbarhari. [afganistan, 2003]

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