Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Taqwacores




Not really a proper review per se, but felt like giving a few thoughts on the movie.

Summary of the movie goes as such:


Yusef, a first-generation Pakistani engineering student, moves off-campus with a group of Muslim punks in Buffalo, New York. His new "un-orthodox" house mates soon introduce him to Taqwacore- a hardcore, Muslim punk rock scene that only exists out west. As the seasons change, Taqwacore influences the house more and more. The living room becomes a mosque during the day, while it continues to host punk parties at night. Ultimately, Yusef is influenced by Taqwacore too, as he begins to challenge his own faith and ideologies. The Taqwacores deals with the complexities of being young and Muslim in modern-day America. Written by Eyad Zahra


My impression of the movie is that it tries to throw out all the 'fuck yous' to the oft stereotyped (but not far from truth) orthodox Muslim values. I don't know, I'm leaving as confused as the main character. Something as in 'and what points are they trying to make?'

Personally, I'm not in synch with much of the punk scene/idea (I'm more in tune with the rock/metal scene - and even in this I can be an outsider... but enough about that). The ones more accustomed with the marriage of punk and... liberal and open interpretation of Islam (?) might see a point out of this movie. But yes, I don't really get it.

I'm pretty secular when it comes to music, yeah. Yes, music is all about expression and emotion and whatever it is you're trying to say. But there's just something a bit... off about putting the Muslim label, from my eyes. I mean, music are music whatever form they are right? But... I guess the whole idea of the movie is more on the various interpretation of the religion rather than the whole punk/music thing, so yeah.

It's pretty hard for me to relate with this movie. Coming from Southeast Asia, even the more orthodox Muslim values shown in the movie (alluding to the Middle Eastern culture which they have been exposed with - more on that in a moment), I couldn't fully relate with their point of view on what Islam really is.

Is it as hard as it's supposed to be? Are we to just bend the rules where we see fit? Can we just cherry pick points that we view as 'right' and throw out the 'wrong' ones?

Unfortunately that is something which I don't have the answer.

Now about the culture thing, sometimes you have to wonder if our understanding of the religion is really backed up by our own understanding, or the values that we have been brought up with. Take the character Yusef - there are several instances where he protested against actions which was deemed as wrong in the traditional sense of the religion. And that would have gotten you thinking, why do others see no qualm in doing said acts then?

Is it because of the values that they are brought up with? Or is it all just a big rebelling against what they viewed as being narrow minded sets of cultures that they are brought up with? And if so, on what basis does their understanding of Islam based on?

Is it based on understanding, or is it all just a case of 'fuck everything'? Because it does seems to me that the second one seems more likely. There's a lot of nonsense going on in my opinion.

Of course, the ultimate decision depends on for you to watch this on your own. Don't take my words for it - just as it is with any case when dealing with religious matter, isn't it? You gotta find out on your own, even if it doesn't sit well with your own set of values.

Because the world isn't as clear and black and white as we'd like to make it. Far from it - it's very messed up.

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