Many thanks to Mr. Masud, both for making this
beautiful film, and for coming to talk to us about it. He told
his story in a very loving and respectful way. It was easy for
me to identify with Anu, as his experiences reminded me very much
of my own Hebrew school days; some teachers strict and unbending,
others loving and sweet. The teacher who changed Anu's name to
Anwar was no different than my daughter's teacher, who felt the
Hebrew name we had given her was not "really" Hebrew,
and made her use her middle name, Sarah. This "foreign" film
hit very close to home.
As a window into another time and part of the world, it added
to the bringing together of the world. We saw that people are the
same all over the world with the same fears and desires to everyone.
This film should be seen by many people around the world. It is
a tender tale of life as seen through the eyes of a child with
the perspective of an educated, humanistic man. The sensitivity
and clarity of this film articulates a cultural landscape that
is hidded to most North Americans. I was moved to tears by the
poignancy of this story.
Interesting that Mr. Masud included the debate between differing
views of Muslim thought through music. Very effective for me as
I knew nothing about it.
Absorbing story, especially knowing it is basically autobiographical
and historical. Touches the heart, gives insights to people's beliefs
and persuasions. I love the songs and how they fill the role of
newspapers and letters to the editor to which all ages listen.
Thereby the people absorb the culture and current events.
I hope this film will have a wider audience via the T.V. for the
benefit of Western audiences.
An excellent film which gives insights into another culture. I
loved the music, it was wonderful to have Tareque Masud for the
We in North America need to be confronted with other cultures.
I have a feeling of this being a credible view of the director's
experience. I personally thank him for sharing his early childhood
life with us. He was so right in his opening remarks to us, to
comment on how much we share similarities, even though superficially
life in other countries seems so different and strange. But family
bonds and friendship between children are so universally the same.
The tender caring of Anu for his friend Rokon rings true, as does
Anu's love of his sister and his gift to her. I kept hoping Anu
would find the blue clay bird again after his sister died.
I liked this film. I learned more about the problems in Bangladesh.
I was happy to see this movie and I would like to say thank you
to the director and te producer for this beautiful movie.
An unbelievable cultural and educational experience. It transported
me to understand a historical period in another country and culture.
Very moving...I'm still thinking about it.
Beautifully balanced movie. Open sympathy for all characters.
Wonderful insight into another world we need to know about. Loved
the photography, especially the use of light. Thoroughly enjoyed
opportunity to hear Tareque.
I liked the movie because it is set in a time and place that is
not typically explored.
Excellent film of childhood memory through a child's eyes that
allows the audience to experience Mr. Masud's difficult childhood
and explore the social, political and cultural events in Bangladesh.
I found the film fascinating and didn't expect to be so moved
A wonderful film.
Excellent insight into orthodox Islamic and Bangladesh culture.
I enjoyed the folk music and the depiction of festivals immensely.
The filmmaker's depiction of childhood was accurate - the young
actor who played Anu was wonderful. A moving film. I also appreciated
the feminist perspective in the film.
This powerful film has a message that is right for the times:
That Islam must be a religion and a away of life filled with love,
rather than a diplomatic, restrictive dungeon that promotes hatred.
Masud's father and the Head Sir at the Madrasa represent that "other" side
of Islam - which is what we are all facing today. The debate about
the meaning of Islam is carried on between characters - even family
members - in song and in the Madrasa itself, lending the film a
certain tension and complexity against a backdrop of growing political
unrest. A powerful, cohesive film.
It was a nice treat to watch a foreign film, especially one based
on a true story. The cinematography was great and the story unfolded
beautifully. It was sad to see what is happening in other parts
of the world.
If every nation had people capable of looking inwards to discover
their roots and the wisdom to share that knowledge with the rest
of us, humankind would have a powerful too to evolve.
This is the kind of movie that keeps me coming back to both Talk
Cinema and the Film Festival. Thanks!
Interesting historically and relevant to current political situation.
Fascinating view of another society and time.
Fascinating look at a culture that we know very little about.
Amazing child performances on relationships of children - at home,
in schools, at play with varying environments and under contrasting
influences, most of which are universal.
This is a moving, fascinating and timely film. I am very glad
that we saw this in part because it humanizes "the enemy" and
counteracts the unending propaganda about "the axis of evil" and
the drum beating going on to spur the North American population
to support war. There are stories going on in this that are personal
(the coming-of-age of Anu), familial (the unhappiness of the mother
and her love for here brother-in-law) and political (the uprising
that created Bangladesh) and religious debates. I was astonished
to see the scene of the singers presenting the two alternate viewpoints
of the Sufi and the orthodox Muslim - especially on the verge of
war! There are the villagers, presumably uneducated, listening
to this very sophisticated debate in song between quite polarized
religious views! Obviously, the reality of life anywhere is much
more complex, fluid and contradictory - unlike the stereotypes
we hold. Many ironies here - the husband's religious fanaticism
destroys his family instead of bringing it together, the attempts
to "indoctrinate" the boys at the Madrasa backfires,
with Anu at least. Lovely cinematography, symbolism. Thank you
for showing this.
A beautiful experience. The first scene in the fog was worth the
light day wait. Also, the depiction of oral tradition.
An extremely human story. Very topical subject.
A wonderful film that let's us look at another culture. A film
that is ver pertinent to today's events. This is my feeling why
Americans should not invade Iraq because the ordinary people will
end up like these villagers. The chance to see films like this
is what makes Toronto International Film Festival and Talk Cinema
Fantastic presentation of Tareque Masud's story. The film blended
the perspectives of Anu, Anu's mother and father, and the onset
of political and civil turmoil in a captivating way. Mr. Masud,
thank you for being here for the presentation and for sharing your
insights on your film!!!
North Americans have a very negative, stereotyped perspective
of other cultures, told through the CNN prism. It is vital that
we get to see the work of filmmakers like Tareque Masud so that
they have a cinematic voice. I enjoyed today's selection and was
so impressed with the way the film developed. Rich, lush cinematography;
sad, mournful music to score the tragedy of civil strife and vibrant
colours to offer hope and puncture the darkness with life. Good
choice. Thank you for offering something that I would not have
chosen on my own.
Very insightful, very depressing. The director has been very sensitive
in his agreement of his country and fundamentalism - a brave film.
A fascinating glimpse into a world I am not at all familiar with.
This is one of the great powers of film: expanding our boundaries
A very good introduction to a culture I know very little about.
I am glad I viewed this film. It helps in my understanding of the
people and political events. The talk after the film was also a
very informative experience.
Thank you for bringing this touching and charming film to Talk
Cinema. It was also a delight to meet the director. I enjoyed his
stories and insights.
Wonderful insight into the Muslim faith; the complexities and
conflicts were approached with a unique blend of dramatic and documenting
styles. Imagery was magnificent, capturing the contrasts between
magnificent architecture, poverty and beautiful geography.
Great to see a Bengali film and very interesting to have the director
there. Thanks to him for making that trip!
A courageous and very political film. Timely in its portrayal
of the underpinnings of Islamic fundamentalism.
I enjoyed this movie very much. It is very well done. It is very
brave to do a film now that is so honestly critical of Muslim fundamentalism
and the Madrasas.
I like this movie. It shows a different world and the futility
of blind fundamentalism. I commend Mr. Masud for his courage.
So interesting, both thematically and visually. Beautiful and
Interesting history lesson on part of the world most of us know
The "singing debate" (man and woman) near the end of
the film was fascinating.
Incredibly interesting learning about a different culture, a different
time and an important historical time for Bangladesh and Pakistan.
A very fascinating and worthwhile picture of a world we do not
know and unfortunately do not understand. We can only hope that
the lessons that the film portrays can impact the mind-set that
exists in both Muslim and Western societies. On another point,
it was unfortunate that I lost a great deal of the dialogue as
much of the subtitling disappeared on the white background. Is
there no modern technology that can deal with this problem? It
could make subtitled films much more widely accepted and appreciated.