A film and a talk this weekend

This weekend there are two (2) exciting events to attend. There is a screening of an award-winning film from Bangladesh, produced by Copeland Fellow Catherine Masud, and a talk by Erik Ehn, an experimental playwright, puppeteer, and pedagogue. 

Friday, Stirn Auditorium, 4:30 — "Matir Moina" (The Clay Bird) (95 min)

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A feature film based on director Tareque Masud’s own childhood, set in rural East Pakistan during the turbulent years leading up to Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. A young boy, Anu, is sent off to a strict Islamic school, or madras, by his deeply religious father Kazi. Far from his family and the festive pagan culture of his village, Anu struggles to adapt to the school’s harsh monastic life. As the political divisions in the country intensify, an increasing split develops between moderate and extremist forces within the madrasa, mirroring a growing divide between the stubborn but confused Kazi and his increasingly independent wife. Touching upon themes of religious tolerance, cultural diversity, and the complexity of Islam, "Matir Moina" has universal relevance in a strife-ridden world.

Originally banned in its home country, the film won the Critics’ Prize at Cannes in 2002, and became Bangladesh's first-ever entry to the Oscars. It is presented in celebration of producer, co-writer and editor Catherine Masud’s fellowship this semester at Amherst College. Masud will introduce the film & answer questions after the screening.

Sunday, Pruyne Lecture Hall, 4:30 — Strangeness & Healing: a lecture by Erik Ehn.

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Experimental playwright & puppeteer Erik Ehn will visit Amherst College to discuss experimental art practices which use strange or unknowable images & texts to address trauma and recover historical memory, specifically touching on his own work. Ehn holds the position of Director of Writing for Performance at Brown University. He is an Artistic Associate at Theatre of Yugen, a graduate of New Dramatists, and a former Dean of the CalArts School of Theater.

Ehn’s work is imbued with a passionate interest in social issues. He conducts annual trips to Rwanda/Uganda, taking students and professionals in the field to study the history of these countries, and to explore the ways art is participating in recovery from violence.

“My interest is in populations at risk, or responding to violence or to kinds of brokenness; people farming the extreme edges of spirituality. Those are the kind of situations that demand a play. … I’m very joyful as a writer. The subject matter is difficult, but I have such faith in the ongoing conversation and in the community that builds around social idealism that writing is light for me, even though it’s serious.”


Hope to see you there!