Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Lizard

Tariq Ali, the devout Pakistani atheist, seems to still be reeling from the beatings meted out by his over-zealous religious tutors as a youngster. His article in today's Guardian Review about 'Islamic cinema', plods along the same well trodden, yet fatally flawed, intellectual path - conflating and confusing Islam with Muslims. Yet his observations on Iranian cinema and the likes of Kiarostami, Makhmalbaf and Panahi are astute. In particular he highlights a film I've been trying to get hold of for a while - Marmoulak (The Lizard).

A convict (known as "the Lizard") escapes from a prison hospital disguised as a mullah. He takes the train to a border town where they are expecting a new mullah. The Lizard has watched enough Iranian television to pick up the clerical style, but he becomes an ultra-humanist cleric, encouraging doubt, analysing Tarantino movies, both surprising and delighting his audience.

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