Week of September 1, 2004

The Clay Bird (Matir Moina) Tareque Masud. (unrated) Cultural conflicts that led to an independent Bangladesh in 1971 are reflected through the prism of one rural Pakistani family's religious and political differences. The orthodox Muslim Kazi sends his only son, Anu, to a madrasa while confining his reluctant wife Ayesha and daughter Asma to repressed roles. By contrast, Kazi's younger brother Milon advocates change, embracing modern medicine and education. Director Tareque Masud, who studied eight years in a madrasa, presents a calmly observed, highly autobiographical tale. With beautiful scenery, the story includes illuminating details of Pakistani life, especially bahas, those public, musical and philosophical duels in which a man and a woman debate Islam's complex forms. The metaphor of the lovely bird trapped in a clay shell recurs with increasing poignancy, especially regarding Asma, in this lyrical appeal for tolerance and pluralism. In Bengali with English subtitles. Screens at 8 p.m. Friday, September 3, through Sunday, September 5, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson)