Timely `Osama' has clout

FILM

First lady and two senators promote it

February 27, 2004|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

At this furiously partisan point in history, first lady Laura Bush and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have found twin issues to unite them: the need to help women and children in Afghanistan and to promote the Afghan feature Osama, a harrowing depiction of their plight under the Taliban. (The movie opens today exclusively at the Rotunda.)

Senator Clinton, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, Afghan ambassador to the United States Said Tayeb Jawad and Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao presented the film two weeks ago in Washington. In her remarks, Chao mentioned that "The president and the first lady recommended this film to the Cabinet" and used the occasion to rouse support for "$6 million in grants that the Labor Department has given to help women and children in Afghanistan."

Clinton's support extends to her presence in the press kit, which includes a reprint of her Nov. 24, 2001, article in Time, "New Hope for Afghanistan's Women." Clinton writes, "Long before the Taliban was at war with the civilized world, they were at war with half their population" - a fact given shocking life in Osama.

Cinema Sundays

Women in Iran were the tragic center of Jafar Panahi's stunning The Circle, a hit at the Charles in 2001. Baltimore moviegoers can get an advance peek at Panahi's latest film, Crimson Gold, when it plays this weekend at Cinema Sundays.

J. Hoberman of The Village Voice has called this story of a tormented pizza deliveryman "a deceptively modest undertaking that brilliantly combines unpretentious humanism and impeccable formal values."

Critic Michael Giuliano will introduce the film and conduct the discussion afterward. Coffee and bagels: 9:45 a.m. Show time: 10:30 a.m. Admission: $15. Go to www.cinemasundays.com for more information.

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