AUDIENCE COMMENTS FROM FEB 9TH SCREENING OF “MATIR MOINA” / Organized by Toronto International Film Festival – Talk Cinema Series

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. Very touching.

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 discussion.

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 by it.

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 so important.

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 and understanding.

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.

Very moving.

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 though-provoking.

Interesting history lesson on part of the world most of us know little about.

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.




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Copyright 2002 Novita Rahman