The Clay Bird | Chicago Reader

The Clay Bird

Hypnotic musical sequences link parallel stories in this absorbing 2002 drama, set in eastern Pakistan on the eve of its 1971 secession and rebirth as Bangladesh. Determined to shield his son from multicultural influences, a rigidly pious Muslim villager sends the boy away to study at a madrassa, where he befriends a disturbed orphan. Back home the father imposes a painful isolation on his wife and daughter, while his Marxist brother dreams of revolution. Winner of the International Critics' Prize at Cannes, Tareque Masud's debut feature draws on his own childhood experiences; the largely nonprofessional cast is beguiling, the locations stunning. The most seductive musical passages feature an indigenous form of rap called bahas—mellifluous duets lampooning extremism and promoting tolerance and love. In Bangla, Bengali, and Arabic with subtitles. 98 min.

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