21st Century Cinema
The Clay Bird
Directed by Tareque Masud • 2002 • Bangladesh
Starring Nurul Haque, Russell Farazi, Jayanto Chattopadhyay
Set during the turbulent late-1960s period leading up to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan, this lyrical drama tells the story of a family torn apart by religion and war. Anu (Nurul Islam Bablu), a shy young boy from rural East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), is sent away by his father, an orthodox Muslim, to a madrassa, or Islamic school. Far from his family and the warmth of his region’s Hindu festivities, Anu struggles to adapt to the school’s harsh monastic life. As the political divisions in the country intensify, a widening split develops between the moderate and extremist forces within the madrasah and within Anu’s own family. Touching upon themes of religious tolerance, cultural diversity, and the complexity of Islam, THE CLAY BIRD has universal relevance in a crisis-ridden world.
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