The filmmaker Siddiq Barmak was born in Afghanistan in 1962. After studying film in Moscow, he returned to his homeland where he made a number of documentaries and short films. However, these were all banned when the Taliban seized control of most of the country in 1996 and he was forced into exile. During the Taliban's rule, women weren't allowed to work, they had to be fully covered in public, and they weren't allowed out in the first place without a male relative - that could mean starvation. And that's the story behind Barmak's debut feature, the first film to come out of Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban two years ago. Made last year on a shoestring - with Irish help from LeBrocquy Fraser Productions - it won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. It's called 'Osama', a boy's name, in this case a cover for a 12-year-old girl who passes herself off as a boy in order to feed her mother and grandmother.
Susan McKay, Belinda McKeon and Margaret O'Callaghan discuss 'Osama'
The Exhibition: Teenage Kicks
Artists in all media continue to deal with the subject of adolescence, not least those working in photography. So, curator Ruth Carroll has put together a new show of photographs, 'Teenage Kicks', at the RHA Gallagher Gallery in Dublin. There are 10 featured artists, half of them from the US, two from Britain and one each from Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
The Panel discusses 'Teenage Kicks' at the RHA Gallagher Gallery
The Play: Take Me Away
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the theatre company, Rough Magic. The company began by staging the work of international figures like Harold Pinter, David Mamet and Caryl Churchill, then moved on to commission and stage original work by Irish playwrights such as Declan Hughes, Gina Moxley, Donal O'Kelly and Arthur Riordan - touring these both at home and abroad. To launch its anniversary programme, it has two new plays by two new writers, Ioanna Anderson and Gerald Murphy, winner of a PJ O'Connor award for his 2001 radio play 'Stranger in the Night'. 'Take Me Away' is his second stage play. Directed by Lynne Parker, it's a black comedy about a father, played by Vincent McCabe, and his three sons - Joe Hanley, Aidan Kelly and Barry Ward - and what happens when the women in their lives abandon them.
The Panel discusses Rough Magic's production of 'Take Me Away' at the Project
The Book: Rebellions - Memoir, Memory and 1798
The historian Tom Dunne was born in Co Wexford. He joined the Christian Brothers but left after seven years to study history and politics at UCD and, later, Cambridge, and he is currently Professor Emeritus of History at UCC. His new book, 'Rebellions - Memoir, Memory and 1798' is not what you'd call a typical history book. Although it contains a historical analysis of the events in Wexford in 1798, particularly the rebel's defeat at the battle of New Ross and the massacre of over 100 innocent Protestants by rebels in a barn at Scullabogue, it begins with a very personal memoir about its author's family and childhood. This shows how far the author has moved from the nationalist version of events his mother, and others, once held dear but, as the blurb on the cover makes clear, it is also a polemic. Looking back at the bicentennial commemorations in 1998, Dunne describes a 'failure of responsibility' among his fellow-historians, and he sees them as being 'complicit in eliding and sanitising brutal events through a filter of selective amnesia and denial'.
The Panel discusses Tom Dunne's ''Rebellions - Memoir, Memory and 1798'
The Performance: Preston Reed
The American guitarist Preston Reed can get more out of a single acoustic than most manage from an entire band. His unique sound covers the spectrum from an intense, almost electric sound - and complex rhythms - through jazz and blues to the most chilled-out melody. He's recorded 13 albums to date, and also composed for the cinema and for the likes of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet. He begins an Irish tour tomorrow night.