The Clay Bird

The Clay Bird, directed by Tarique Masud ★★
This film is a quasi-historic depiction of life in Bangladesh just before the 1971 independence. It selects out a family whose father turns hard-line Muslim, sending his child off to Madrasa (Muslim education school), and depending on Allah during a child’s illness, leading to the death of his daughter and alienation from his wife. There wasn’t much of a plot– this is more a depiction of daily life and the struggles for faith and country that a typical Muslim household might have experienced in the pre-war years. The movie attempts a gentle and supportive rendering of the Islam faith but instead shows it as a cruel uncaring religion before a merciless god. Sadly, most reviewers of this film on Amazon didn’t see it as such. The film has its strengths in showing regular life in Bangladesh, which is little changed since independence. Being a strict Muslim country, it still possesses much of the religious behavior that is shown in this film, though the intellectuals of the films were wiped out during the war with West Pakistan which I feel has led to an even more oppressive and depressive public ethos. The film ends in tragedy, which is exactly what a combination of hardline Muslim faith and war among Muslims will do. I enjoyed the film as being one of the first that was spoken mainly in Bengali, and I even was able to understand a few words.