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Thursday, August 11, 2011

343. Taqwacores



    In a crazy world, there are movie-makers who try to at least make a little sense of it all.
    Taqwacores is based on the book by Michael Muhammad Knight and surrounds the American Muslim punk rock scene.
    Yes, you read it correctly. Islam meets US anarchists.
    Actually, Eyad Zahra's film contains very little music but instead explores the relationships between young Muslims who share a house in Buffalo.
    One, Yusef (Bobby Naderi) has just joined the household and is taken aback by how his mainstream Muslim views differ so much from his new friends.
    Jehangir (Dominic Rains) has a red Mohican but preaches tolerance, while Rabeya (Noureen DeWulf) wears a Burkha but has a sewer mouth. Another housemate seems to have lost all regard for Islam while the another member is aggressively traditional.
    It is a movie of much soul-searching and is surprising to see how some of the flat mates gravitate to one another's point of view.
    But, whatever their interpretations of the Koran, they all go to communal prayers on a Friday.
    These are prayers with a difference, however, because each of them takes a turn at leading them and does so in a very individual style.
    As said, Zahra deserves praise for a film which is quite different from any I've seen this year.
    It certainly exposes the fact that some Muslims are like lost souls in the west, not knowing whether culture should dominate religion or vice versa.
    And while it certainly has a low budget feel, the actors give polished perforamnces to the point of it having a feel of a documentary.
    What's more the finale gives an idea that both Zahra and Knight are despairing of the current relationship between Islam and the West and certainly offers no easy answers.
    I'm giving it a rating of 7.5/10
    And thanks to Grace at Network Releasing for this preview DVD.

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