Monday, April 14, 2014

Nacer Khemir's "Looking for Muhyiddin" Screened at Fes Sufi Festival

The Fes Festival of Sufi Culture took a break from the chanting last night to watch a screening of a film by Tunisian filmmaker Nacer Khemir

Looking for Muhyiddin is a film about the great mystic Sheikh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi. The film begins as a man returns home to bury his mother. In order to keep a promise he made to his father to hand over the “amana” to a certain Sheikh Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi, he begins a journey that takes him to ten different countries. Along the way viewers learn the most important aspects of Islam.

With the expected showers arriving, the organisers of the Sufi Festival made the right call in switching the venue from the Batha Museum to Dar Batha belonging to the French Institute.

Dar Batha - a delightful venue but too small for the number of people wishing to attend

However, the lack of advance notice caused some people to arrive late and the very small venue could not hold all of those wanting to see the film. Rumour has it that there may be an extra screening on Wednesday - we will keep you posted.

The large screen at the French Institute gave everyone inside a good view

Those lucky enough to get a seat were treated to a remarkable journey through cultures and languages as the search for the spirit of Ibn Arabi unfolds. It is an delightful, thoughtful and at times moving piece of cinema.

It was the filmmaker Nacer Khemir's intention that anyone who sees this film gets a very clear idea of what Islam is and when Khemir was asked what is the Islam of Ibn 'Arabi? he responded with a poem from Ibn Arabi.

"My heart is now capable of taking on all forms.
It is a pasture for gazelles and a monastery for monks,
a temple for idols, and the Kaaba for pilgrims.
It is the tables of the Torah, the book of the Koran,
it practices the religion of love wherever its caravans take it.
Love is my faith, my religion."

Khemir says this is "a pretty accurate explanation of Islam: it is about a little-known vision of Islam. Given all the confusion surrounding Islam, it was important to me to spread the thoughts of this sheikh. He brings clarity to this confusion".

Nacer Khemir (Arabic: ناصر خمير‎) was born in 1948 in Korba in Tunisia, and has had a long career as a writer, artist, storyteller, and filmmaker. Khemir has a dozen publications and his work has been displayed in places such as the Centre Georges Pompidou, the City of Paris’ Museum of Modern Art and other European cities.

Among his films are works such as The Story of the Land of God or The Dove’s Lost Necklace, which won the Special Jury Award at the Locarno International Film Festival, in Italy, the First Award at the Belfort International Film Festival, in France, and the Special Jury Award at the Francophone Film Festival of Saint-Martin.

In 1984, he won the First Award at the Festival of Three Continents in Nantes, France, for his film The Searchers of the Desert. He also won the Opera Prima Award at the Festival of Carthage (Tunisia), the Palme D’or at the International Film Festival of Valencia and the Critics Award of the Mostra di Venezia.

Nacer Khemir


Looking For Muhyiddin ( Tunisia 2012 )
Direction: Nacer Khemir
Screenplay: Nacer Khemir
Director of Photography: Alexendre Leglis, Hazem Berrabah , Moez Chaabane ,Nacer Khemir, Pascal Poucet ,Soufiane Ben Haddada
Sound: Dana Farzanehpour, Khaled Ben Younes, Mouhamed Ali Chiboub , Vincent Villa, Yoland Decarsin
Music: Shiraz Jerbi
Editing: Nacer Khemir , Abir Messaoud
Cast: Gabriele Manndelkhan, Denis Gril, Nacer Khemir

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday) at the Batha Museum at 9pm: Samaâ with the Tariqa Charqawiyya

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