starring Nurul Islam Bablu, Russell Farazi, Jayanto Chattopadhyay, Rokeya Prachy
screenplay by Catherine Masud & Tareque Masud
directed by Tareque Masud
by Travis Mackenzie Hoover There's no sense in overestimating the virtues of Tareque Masud's The Clay Bird, a gentle--sometimes too gentle--look back at a Muslim education on the eve of Bangladesh's separation from Pakistan. The film has its share of problems: expository dialogue, sketchily drawn characters, and a determination to underplay some potentially charged material whether it serves the narrative or not. And yet, The Clay Bird's remaining pluses more than make up for its failings, serving as they do a humane sensibility and a keen visual sense that refuses, for better and for worse, to play into sensationalism or spite. Masud may have toned things down a little far for dramatic purposes, but he's still a sensitive man uninterested in rigid dogma of any sort--and as he's counteracting the heated polarization that led to violent repression in his country, he can be forgiven for erring in the opposite extreme.