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Taqwacore: Find Your Inner Punk Tonight at The FNC

Posted by Jer / October 8, 2009

20091008taqwa.jpg Muslim Punks. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Come to think of it, the paradoxical pairing* of those two ways of life seems to defy preconceived ideas about both Muslims and punks. Which I guess is the point of Taqwacore: The Birth of Islam Punk, a new documentary by local filmmaker and Midnight Poutine alumnus Omar Majeed. The movie tracks how one author's fictional manifesto sparked a vibrant and conflicted music scene that has mashed up issues of identity, politics, religion and spirituality. Taqwacore is premiering tonight at the Imperial Theatre as part of the 38th edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema and you should go and break something to celebrate. Or pray.

Now, lest you think this preview is completely partial and biased because I am friends with the director, I'll simply say that since Omar's left MP and gone off to do his fancy film stuff (i.e. touring around the U.S. on a shoe-string budget in a punked out school bus), we barely see him anymore. Credentials established? Read on.

(*did I just pull an Alanis and ironically use paradoxical in the wrong way. that'll teach me to use fancy words)

Since I haven't seen the movie yet, I'll give you the press line about it. The film "follows the progression of the Muslim Punk scene: from its imaginary inception in a novel written by a white-convert named Michael Muhammad Knight to a full-blown, real-life scene of Muslim punk bands and their fans." Majeed spent three years documenting taqwacore bands and concerts across the U.S. and Pakistan, catching glimpses as he went of the many and complicated faces of contemporary Islam. Oh, he also was there when a line up of taqwacore acts shocked the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Chicago with a frenetic concert that ended with hundreds of conservative Muslims fleeing the building and the cops showing up to shut the event down.

All this is to say the movie is as much about music and Islam as it is about the way ideas migrate from place to place and person to person. Taqwacore (Taqwa, arabic for 'God Consciousness' + Core) and the cultural footsteps it leaves behind mean something different for each of the people who follow the scene. I'll report back once I've watched it and hopefully I can even cajole Mr. Majeed into an interview.

Fresh off its world premier at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Taqwacore storms into town tonight, and will be playing at Cinema du Parc next week. Read more about it here, or check out Majeed's appearance on Q, with the hunkish and punkish Jian Ghomeshi. Tickets available through Eye Steel Films

Taqwacore: The Birth of Islam Punk
QUEBEC/NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE!
Festival Nouveau Cinema, Montreal
October 08, 2009 | 9:30 pm |
Imperial Cinema | 1432 Rue De Bleury|

Discussion

9 Comments

Daviel Lazure Vieira / October 13, 2009 at 09:08 am
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It's a great movie, both funny and thoughtful. Don't know if you've been to the official screening and the following reception, but it was the best time ever - a group of Muslim punk rock playing for Nouveau Cinema crowds = amaaazing.
Jer / October 13, 2009 at 09:44 am
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I was at the official screening on Thursday, but sadly due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to take off before the show. I was dying to see how the filmtypes reacted to the raw punk.

Plus, after watching a whole movie about them, I really wanted to hear what they sounded like live.

Hope it was a good show.
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