What is Islam? What does it mean to be a good Muslim?
The 2:04-minute trailer to the film “Shahada,” release date as of yet unknown, opens with two very evocative questions relevant to much of the multi-cultural world today. This German film, featured at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival, was written and directed by Afghanistan-born and German-raised director, Burhan Qurbani and delves into the personal and social struggles of what it means to be Muslim in an ever-changing world of conflicts, specifically set in Germany. Although not yet released*, the trailer gives a hint of what’s to come: much of the imagery juxtaposes the white and orderly home with the cold and dark outside world. Scenes of personal confusion: sound pounding, lights glaring…arguments, families changing, and identities challenged…all of this is explored in the trailer. Rows of people lined up with their identification cards, people in love, and people utterly afraid and confused with their world and the expectations asked of them.
The film seems to focus more specifically on Islam as a religion, and the presence and how it might change in Germany, than on immigration and the identity of the individual practicing that religion with the rest of Christian German society. The trailer weaves beautiful and stark cinematography with a wonderful soundtrack, opening with a lone violin, culminating with loud and throbbing disco music, and receding back into folk-music and drumming. The sound of a gun going off ends the trailer. Even just the trailer is inviting and thrilling to watch.
*Although not released to the public, there are reviews of the actual film available on the internet. As I personally was not able to watch the entire film (although I did contact the production company to obtain a copy), I reviewed only the trailer, in anticipation for all of us, of what is yet to come.