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The Clay Bird (2002)

Nurul Islam Bablu , Russell Farazi , Tareque Masud  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nurul Islam Bablu, Russell Farazi, Jayanto Chattopadhyay, Rokeya Prachy, Soaeb Islam
  • Directors: Tareque Masud
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Bengali
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories/Milestone Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GRUMZA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,238 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Clay Bird" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Video Introduction to the film by Tareque and Catherine Masud
  • Video Interviews with the Cast and Crew of The Clay Bird
  • "The Making of The Clay Bird Video Documentary (30 Mins.)
  • Three Songs from the Soundtrack
  • Stills Gallery
  • The French and American Theatrical Trailers
  • DVD-ROM: Theatrical press kit

Editorial Reviews

Review

"4 stars! Sumptuous landscapes & moving performances by a cast of nonprofessionals evoke the classic art-house cinema of Satyajit Ray." -- Ty Burr, BOSTON GLOBE

"One of the finest films of this year or any other." -- Elvis Mitchell, THE NEW YORK TIMES

"The acting is superb and understated, while the scenes of East Pakistan’s waterways buildings, and village life are unforgettable." -- Jonathan Curiel, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Product Description

A visually stunning, culturally fascinating, politically timely film based on the director’s own childhood, THE CLAY BIRD has been called one of the most important works to come out of the Muslim world. Set against the backdrop of Pakistan during the turbulent 1960s, a family is ripped apart by religious beliefs and civil war. Anu, a shy young boy from rural East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), is sent away by his father Kazi, an orthodox Muslim, to a Madrasah. Far from his family and the warmth of his region’s vibrant Hindu festivities, Anu struggles to adapt to the Islamic school’s harsh monastic life. As political divisions in the country intensify, a split develops between moderate and extremist forces within the Madrasah. In the village, these same tensions create a growing divide between the stubborn Kazi and his increasingly independent wife, Ayesha.

THE CLAY BIRD is an authentic and loving portrait of Bangladesh, showing the country in all its color and complexity – its seasonal beauty, rich folkloric traditions, extraordinary music, and pluralistic culture. Touching upon themes of religious tolerance, cultural diversity, and the complexity of Islam, Tareque Masud’s poignant film has a universal relevance in a crisis-ridden world – THE CLAY BIRD should not be missed .


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of a beautiful place, the story of struggle January 9, 2007
Format:DVD
Bangladesh is a country of idyllic beauty, sublime culture, and unceasing, often violent struggle. Matir Moyna is a beautiful ode to director Tareque Masud's home and the the identity crisis that continues to throw the nation into tumult.

Matir Moyna, however, is not simply a film about Bangladesh. Intentionally or not, Masud's film speaks to struggles not unique to the subcontinent. While the impact of communalism, of language, of borders may be particularly stark in Sonar Bangladesh, these struggles are found around the world.

There is something particularly amazing about watching a film that takes place in a time and place about which most of us know nothing, yet seeing in the struggles not only Bengalis and Pakistanis, not only Hindus and Muslims - but all people, from the dispossessed in urban ghettoes, to the families fighting to survive in the rural countryside; men and women not in control of their government, their society, their nation, but determined to fight, to survive.

Matir Moyna is a beautiful film, and can be enjoyed as such. But it also speaks to us at a deeper level, one in which we recognize not only our faults, our mistakes, but our hopes and dreams for a better life.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Trying to fly March 15, 2007
By R. Sohi
Format:DVD
From 1947 till 1971 Pakistan was split into two wings on either side of India, the Western wing being what is currently Pakistan and the Eastern one being what is now Bangladesh. Both wings were predominantly Muslim but the political power rested in the Western wing despite Bangladesh being the more populous of the two areas. The tension between the two regions culminated in riots and ultimately a civil war that led to the countries being the separate nations they are today. "The Clay Bird" is set in the late sixties in the Eastern wing when this tension was growing and the struggle against military rule was building. The film presents the political upheaval within the country by showing it in microcosm through the struggles of one family: the patriarch, a kind of born-again-Muslim, standing in for the oppressive forces of the military, the rest of the family, led by the mother's brother representing the growing impulse to break free. The plot is constructed around the family's young son as he is sent to a madrasah (in this case a strict Muslim school) where, unable to connect with most of the other boys, he befriends the outcast of the class - a young boy who escapes the tormenting of his classmates by living in an imaginary world.

The film exoticizes the world it portrays by showing many of the folk traditions of the culture from a tourist's point of view, probably to maximize its appeal to a western audience. It is also fairly heavy-handed in presenting its message through dialogue rather than action and occasionally lapses into melodrama. The characters often come across more as types than real human beings. Yet, despite these flaws, it somehow pulls you into its world through the sheer beauty of its imagery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bird Trapped in the `isms' September 1, 2011
Format:DVD
`Clay Bird' (Matir Moyna) depicts the story of a young boy as he struggles to come to terms with his new life as an inmate in a religious school (Madrasah). Anu is never at home in the staid and gloomy atmosphere of the monastic academy, where he has been sent by his deeply religious father, Kazi, against the wishes of Anu's mother and little sister. Anu's transfer to the religious school in the town is apparently disapproved by Milon, Kazi's level-headed younger brother too, for whom the sights and sounds of the village, rather than rigours of religious pedagogy, are crucial for blossoming of a young mind. The difference of opinion between the father and the other family members is a microcosm of the many discordant `isms' that characterised the East Pakistani society during the years leading up to its liberation as a new nation, Bangladesh.

In a society in turmoil, the arguments mostly revolved around what form of Islam to follow, the liberal, tolerant and the indigenous type--propagated by the sufi saints or the strict tenets of Arabic variety, not in harmony with that particular society. Questions emanating from this polemics suffuse the narrative of the movie--in the fraught relationships at Anu's home; between the headmaster and the liberal minded teacher, Ibrahim at the Madrasah; in the many folk songs and in the belligerent politics of Pakistan, ominously looming in the background. Things come to a head with Pakistan's military action, which in turn opens doors for a new identity for the beleaguered people.

The strength of the movie lies in succinctly depicting the malady and the dilemma of a nation in a simple story of children's psychology, unfolding amid Bangladesh's stunning landscape and its earthy folk culture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of heart December 25, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I watched this film with my parents, who lived through the 1971 war between Pakistan and Bangladesh. I was struck by the beauty, imagination, and intense development of the characters. My mother and I both cried at moments, as if we were ourselves in the shoes of the little boy, Anu. I had no idea what madrasas were like, but even in these types of schools, there is some beauty that children hold onto. The director also depicts the superstition that permeates small villages, where people are accused of madness for erratic behavior. For me, the clay bird is both faith and a symbol of the arts, a thing that is often squashed when there is violence. When the Nazis persecuted the Jews, they seized their books, their literature, their music, along with property. There was an annihilation of the spirit and the heart of culture, which again flourished after the war. I remember when I first read Ann Frank in school, I considered what totalitarian thought really accomplishes--maybe self-hatred and cultural amnesia. That's what happens when extremism of any kind is made to dictate every thought and control every behavior--which is what the film reproaches. Strangely, The Clay Bird reminded me of the Pianist, with Adrian Brody.

This was one of the most beautiful films I have seen. I will find a way to watch it with others. I highly recommend this film.
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