Thursday, 21 June 2007

Siddiq Barmak a Brilliant Director

Panjshir in the Mirror of Civilization

(Part Twelve)

Siddiq Barmak was born in Panjshir, Afghanistan, on September 7, 1962. He got his M.A (Master of Arts) degree in cinema direction from the Moscow film institute (VGIK) in the year 1987.

He has written a few screenplays and has made a few short films and also his first feature film "Osama" in
Afghanistan. He was the manager of the Afghan Film governmental organization from 1992 to 1996 and after the establishment of the new government he was once again chosen to manage the Afghan film organization. All his works were banned during the time of the Taliban.

He has written a few screenplays and has made a few short films. His first feature film Osama won Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004.

There is a stylistic echo in Osama of the "Afghan" films by the Iranian Makhmalbaf dynasty - father Mohsen's Kandahar and daughter Samira Makhmalbaf's At Five in the Afternoon, the latter also shot in post-Taliban Kabul. Barmak directed Osama with significant funding and assistance from Mohsen Makhmalbaf; the Iranian director invested thousands of dollars in the film, lent Barmak his Arriflex camera and encouraged him to send the movie to international festivals, which eventually generated further funding from Japanese and Irish producers.[1] Barmak received "UNESCO’s Fellini Silver Medal" for his drama, Osama, in 2003.

Barmak is also director of the Afghan Children Education Movement (ACEM), an association that promotes literacy, culture and the arts, founded by Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. The school trains actors and directors for the newly emerging Afghan cinema. Barmak is one of the celebrated figures in Persian cinema as well as emerging cinema of Afghanistan.

the films which Mr.Barmak directed are as the following:

(1)The Wall


The wall Children are creating their world by painting on the old destroyed wall and street. they are playing together… but suddenly war breaks out and destroys this small beautiful world! The kids try to complete their painting but they are victims of the war too

(2)The Circle


Dawar is a young terrorist who comes back to his homeland after a long time abroad he is supposed to blow the movie theater up with the help of his guide Faiz.

Dawar sets a time bomb there while watching a film about war and peace(Rustam and Sohrab, based on great tragic poem of Ferdawsi, Shahnamah), but the action fails and Faiz gets killed by the guardian of the cinema. Dawar escapes and looks for his old home; he remembers his childhood. The man who drove him into the eventually shoots him.

(3)The Stranger


Morads wife Sanowbar has a nice voice and sings folk songs. They live in a village and work on the land of the village land lord Homayun. One day the chief and his foreign guest come to their cottage and ask Sanowbar to sing for the foreigner! But Morad thinks this is unusual and against tradition. Homayun threatens Morad and forces Sanowbar to sing!

Morad is caught between tradition, religion on and his social prestige in the village. he has no choice but to kill Homayun and his foreign friend!

(4) Osama


A 12-year-old girl, her mother and a boy (spandi) have survived the repressed demonstrations launched by Afghan women at the beginning of Taliban regime. The girl and her mother work in a hospital and soon become aware that the Taliban have dismissed all the people working there and have closed its gate.

The Taliban make sure that no women can get out of their houses without a legal companion (without any member of their family). If they do so they will be punished.

To support the family, the girl’s mother, who has lost her job, decides together with the girl’s Grandmother to change the appearance of the girl in order to look like a boy. This decision terrifies the girl. She is afraid of what will happen if the Taliban finds out that she is a girl.

To get a job, the mother and the girl go to the milkman who was an old friend of the girl’s slain father.

The next adventures begin from here….

The religious police of the Taliban force the people to go to masque for noon prayer. The girl who is still not familiar with these regulations makes mistakes during prayer session, which then causes a Taliban to become suspicious.

On the next day all boys including the girl (looking like boy) are taken to the religious school called Madrassa, which is also the center for military training by the Taliban. After some adventures the Taliban discovers the real face of the girl. The girl is put in jail. The Taliban’s judicial court, which advocates stoning and execution, force the girl to marry an old Mullah. After they are married the girl discovers that she is the Mullah’s fourth wife…

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