WITH TAREQUE MASUD/
From Le Monde's weekly supplement Aden
May 15, 2002
Believes in Dialogue. My film raises questions only. It's then up
to each person to make their own judgment."
The director of Matir Moina wants to show the beauty and diversity
of his country.
This is your first feature film. It also tells your own personal
My childhood was the most intense period of my life. Like Anu, the
little boy in the film, I underwent religious schooling in madrasa.
These schools are very strict. At the same time, they help the most
disadvantaged children. I myself had come from a relatively privileged
background, and in the madrasa I found myself surrounded by children
who, for the most part, had no family.
This was a period of growing political tension between Islamic
extremists and secularists. At the end of the film, civil war breaks
out. Despite all this, you have adopted a very contemplative stance
on these dramatic events.
a child, I saw these events from a distance. It was this sense of
distance-which I believe is essential-that I tried to recreate in
the film. Anu is an passive observer of the world around him. He
does not try to intervene. This puts him in a privileged position.
Adults already have preconceived opinions and judgments. But through
Anu's eyes, without discrimination, the diverse aspects of my society
are revealed: religious pluralism, the moderate Sufi sects, the
secular traditions, nationalism
In this context, political
upheaval is just one aspect among many. It's then up to each person,
following Anu's lead, to make their own judgment. If my film raises
questions, it does so from the innocent perspective of a child.
Through all its contrasting impressions, an image emerges of a country
which is culturally very rich.
is a complex country. This reality has nothing to do with its image
abroad, of a poor country of famine, flood and fundamentalism. I
wanted to convey my own image of my country, that of a moderate
Muslim Bangladesh, and to bring out its social, cultural, and political
I wanted to show the diversity of my country in
all its contradictions-for me this is the best approach, not only
because it is more credible, but also because it is more beautiful.
A beauty which also takes much inspiration from Islam.
us, Islam is rooted in our own soil, it has evolved and adapted
to our own traditions, including Hinduism. It has thus become our
own form of Islam, a popular Islam. This is expressed through the
'bahas' songs that we hear in the film. These mystical songs are
still very popular, and serve to transmit much of our knowledge
and heritage. They are a means of meditation and prayer.
However, as we see with Anu's father, many Muslims condemn these
the strict sense of the Shariah, songs are considered profane. But
this is only from an oversimplified reading of the Koran and Hadith.
It doesn't take account of the different interpretations and debates
that have always been an essential part of our religion. Unfortunately,
this aspect is often overlooked. For the rest of the world, the
image of Islam tends to be dominated by its extremist and intolerant
currents. However, our religion is founded on principles of dialogue.
This is what I wanted to show in my film. I have a deep respect
for the Islamic faith, and I hope this film will help my fellow
Muslims. It evokes the core of our religion, a religion of reflection
and personal interpretation. This is what is known in Sufism as