The Taqwacores Film

A film about muslim punks in America and the Taqwacore scene. It was based on a novel originally written by Michael Muhammad Knight and was directed by Eyad Zahra.

The film is based on the culture clash between traditional muslim views and western culture. How there are many people who are too punk to be muslim or too muslim to be punk. Ever since 9/11 there has been much islamophobia in the US; this film highlights the daily struggle against prejudice and racism that muslims face in America. This film came out in 2010, before Trump was elected. I think it would be interesting to see how different the film would be, if it was made now.

The film explores feminism and its link to the punk movement. Then goes on to explore how feminism juxtaposed to the muslim belief can function within a western society.

They reference real Taqwacores bands like The Kominas, which are active in the US today. The Kominas is an activist band that try to bring about social awareness and social change through their music. So it’s very fitting that their music was used throughout the film, as it gives the film a level of authenticity.

The action throughout the film is intercut with scenes where the different characters have fallen asleep in front of the TV. In each scene where will different kinds of casually racist comments on the TV about muslims in America. It highlights how accustomed and complacent many people are about the shit that is said on TV against different minority groups.

The film is desaturated but the red stands out. This filter is used consistently throughout the film and gives it a grungy, oppressive atmosphere. The bright red is used to represent the punk movement, bloodshed (foreshadowing) and hope. The main character, Jehangir [Dominic Rains], has red hair too, showing that he is a symbol for what the core of the movie is about. While simultaneously making him a leader or idol. The intentional use of colour links to my research into colour theory.

The one of the main characters is made a martyr in this film. Dying for what he believes in, which is the hope of unity between all peoples no matter what their belief is. This is used as a strong call for change within our societies worldwide and an even stronger reminder of all of the people in the past that have done the same in the name of peace between religions.

Yusef (Bobby Naderi) is the other main character in this film. Like many other films that have come out in the last 10 years, this character acts as “the mask”. What I mean by this is that since he is so passive and neutral, it makes his character more relatable as the viewer’s can apply their own emotion and responses onto this character. Due to the film is following his story, it assists the viewer in seeing the world through his eyes.

How can you progress with the times when you have a rigid belief system?

Rabeya (Noureen DeWulf), is the main female in this film. Personally, I think that it would have been far more interesting if she would have been the lead for this film. As her character explores how feminism can function within religion and the struggles that many women face within Islam.

Her ultimate protest against zeitgeist of western culture is wearing a full burka, despite her potentially blasphemous approach to her religion. She clearly is a believer and follower of Islam but struggles with the conflict between her feminist views and her belief. Leading her to cross out the parts of the Qur’an that don’t fit her hopes of equality and to talk to men without another person present. Actions that are considered haram (against God) by many muslims. She is very liberal with her views and approach to life. Openly talking about sex and vaginas, not in a vulgar way, but in an informative way. Opening up the dialogue between the men and women in the film and inviting these themes to be explored. Hinting at the solution to all of the issues that are raised in this film. That if everyone would just talk to each other, and learn about each other, that all of those issues can be easily resolved. The way to prevent islamophobia, racism and sexism, is to break down prejudice through education and an open dialogue between minority groups.


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