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4.30.04 Back to the Movies, plus more

Topic 1. Last night I went to dinner and a movie with my friend Venora. We saw the movie "Osama," the first commercial movie released from Afghanistan since the Taliban got booted. It's about a little girl -- maybe about 12 -- whose family consists only of her mother and grandmother. Therefore, they are starving, because the Taliban forbid women to work. The grandmother believes men and women are equal, so she cuts the girl's hair and dresses her in her father's clothes, so she can go out and get work. Only one neighborhood boy recognizes her and nicknames her Osama.

Another movie I liked about a little girl in strange circumstances was the Japanese anime "Spirited Away." The little girl -- who is weak and spoiled -- losses her parents in a world of spirits and must dig down to find her inner ingenuity to rescue them. She succeeds.

But "Spirited Away" is a fantasy about heroism. "Osama" is about crushing reality. Little Osama has no inner resources. She's just a little girl, swept into the unimaginable cruelty of men who think women are devils.

Topic 2. After I did some complaining in an e-mail, a friend wrote: "You are such a winer." I had to write back: "Did you mean whiner or winner? Or wine-o?" Later, I though my correspondent might have meant weiner. It was an interesting typo. From moment to moment I might be any one of the above.

Topic 3. Every day a Siamese cat stalks prey in the woods outside my window. He is diligent about chasing squirrels up trees and monitoring chipmunk holes for any action. He has mastered a beautiful stalking walk. But then we noticed that on his collar there is a little bell. So much for sneaking up on his prey. But maybe, as Jim suggested, it is a handicap that is making him a much better hunter. Maybe. But I've never seen him actually catch anything.

Topic 4. Tonight there is a margarita party for the girls. Tomorrow Maria and I head to the southern tier of NY to film some foster parents. Sunday, Jim and I head down to Mexico for a week. Therefore, this whiner will be on wino-o hiatus till about May 12. Hope you miss me.




Roger Ebert on Spirited Away (2002)

Roger Ebert on Osama (2004)

James Berardinelli on Osama


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