Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

A THOUSAND AND ONE VOICES: THE MUSIC OF ISLAM

 

Year: 2001
Country: France/Belgium/Tunisia
Run Time: 90 minutes

From the call to prayer by the solitary muezzin in the mosque to the mass-chanting of thousands of disciples in the streets, the words of the Prophet are written on the soundtrack of this remarkable documentary. Sadly, the notorious edict of the late Ayatollah Ruholla Khomenei banning music (and subsequent depredations of the Taliban regime of Afghanistan) have fixed a stereotype in Western minds of Islam as being a religion of stern intolerance to melody; "The Music of Islam" would seem to be a contradiction in terms. But filmmaker Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud's poetic, cinematic pilgrimage through the Mideast and North Africa demonstrates otherwise. Hearing his deceased father's voice lifted towards Allah in a temple chorus impelled Ben Mahmoud on a personal tour of Muslim holy sites and sounds throughout his native Tunisia, the Middle East and North Africa, to the heart of the mystical universe of Sufism. Islam's many faces (and tongues) manifest themselves in the ancient and honored Koranic schools of Cairo, a festival dedicated to India's greatest Muslim saint, the fabled whirling dervishes of Turkey and the bustling celebrations of Dakar, Senegal. If music is, as Thomas Carlyle said, the speech of angels, then divinity can be touched by this film. (Partially in Arabic, Hindi, Farsi, Urdu and Wolof with English subtitles)

Director
Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud

Producer
Olivier Mille, Hassan Daldoul

Print Source
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