Watching The Taqwacores, the feature for the “I’ve lost track” how many times.
The Taqwacores (2010)
I just bought this, I’ve been craving to watch this. I’m not even sure how many times I’ve watched this (it’s on Instant right now by the way)
On a strictly film basis, it’s great, and it’s adaption from the book is excellent— incredibly close to it, from what I remember and being impressed with how much is taken from the book.
The story (it’s fictional) takes place in present day Buffalo, NY where a house of Pakistani-Americans punks live, Yusef an engineering student moving in to a house where a riot grrrl, a straight-edger, skater, the west coast punk, the queer punk. Yusef is used to traditional Islam and with the freedom to find his own definition and in a house that runs of punk rock ethos. Filmed in an independent, DIY fashion where the house on Friday prayer in the morning, then at night it’s a crazy party house— and when Jehangir calls to prayer with an axe… and knowing all the punk bands and convincing them to come to the house for a show, all beliefs, all the outcasts, the devout followers, everyone- no judging all there for the same purpose— there is something absolutely wonderful in that. The scene where Jehangir and Yusef take the car to get beer, and yell at citizens “You make me feel uncomfortable!” putting what they receive on a daily basis right back on them, the balls of some their ideas just makes me happy to throw it right back. See it from their perspective, see what film can teach you about multiple things— about a religion you might be unfamiliar with, a music genre, something new and something you may be intrigued about and step into their world with a little more understanding.
I don’t know what it is about this book, film(s) that makes me think about how I love punk rock, what’s so great about it, and how much I don’t know what to think about any religion, I claim none, I will not judge you for what you do or do not believe. I’m still researching, still seeing aspects in all religion or lack of religion that I agree with. But the questions they ask in this film, and with the social context of Muslims in America and the stereotypes they face and defy (most of the time).
Now on to the documentary, and I highly recommend you watch both on Netflix!
Reviews coming this weekend:
- The Taqwacores (because I’m re-watching it tonight)
- Iron Man
- The Adjustment Bureau
300 & Iron Man reviews/thoughts coming up in a few hours
gotta watch Watchmen first.
then probably The Taqwacores (I highly recommend the book also— it’s dead on with the film), if I’m not asleep.
just ordered! :)
- Jack White Blunderbuss
- The Taqwacores
- Paris, Texas
just saw The Taqwacores!!!!!
THIS WAS WHY I GOT NETFLIX. SO GOOD ON SO MANY FUCKING LEVELS.
If you like (first 3 are from the trailer suggestion): Trainspotting, Fight Club, Gus Van Sant *check, I’d add SLC Punk! to the list.
The Taqwacores is going to be hard to describe to people who haven’t seen the trailer or not read the book. It has a lot of levels, so it’s complicated. And hard to tell what not to tell you.
A West-Coast Punk. Straight-Edger. Skinhead. Riot Grrl. Queer Punk. A Reverted Muslim. A College Kid. All in one house. Friday morning prayers, Friday afternoon/night party.
Ok, you know the Punk Rock movement— the freaks, weirdos, the ugly ones who all ban together for a cause. They destruct, offend, etc. Rebel.
Well, add Muslim into this house.
You have this “normal” smart boy who comes into this house, purely because it is a Muslim house— keep on his beliefs, be a good kid with the influences of Islam around him. Well— when he gets to this house, things change for him.
I read the book beforehand, a few things were changed/edited out. The author wrote the screenplay so I knew it’d be very accurate, which it was. :)
What the film brings up is Muslim stereotypes, which aren’t always accurate and from their perspective.. just more punk, sub-genre perspective. But damn, good points are made THAT MAKE YOU THINK.
It also has many different views on religion. In general, it works for Christianity also— how far you take the rules stated in the holy book of each. Some think drinking and smoking is fine, sex before marriage, etc. The main man in this film, a punk rocker from out West, wanted to bring together everyone. The queers, riot grrls, straightedgers, all playing Taqwacore for the same cause. Fuck the interpretations.
I’m personally interested in all sorts of religion. They all have something beautiful in each of them.
This film is basically the story of Yusef’s story while living at this house for a year, with these characters and the interactions, conflicts and conversations (some really deep and smart, philosophical) and how they change Yusef. Jehangir is the West Coast idealist punk, who puts on a major punk rock show to prove all these points, where crazy shit happens. It literally read like the book— it was wonderful.
I’m going to give a few examples of the conversations: talking about Johnny Cash, about the Riot Grrl wearing a full burka (do you ever feel like you don’t want the world to see you?), interpretations of the Quaran, etc. It brings up good points. They even have a reverted Catholic-bred girl who converted to Islam and her perspectives, I’m not saying they fit for everyone, but it doesn’t forget that idea also.
I can’t describe this accurately, it’s an experience. I know/knew I will be watching this a few times before sending it back. :D :D
Ok— to the technical film stuff. It’s an indie film, so some things are more forgivable in my opinion, and I think it worked for it. The shooting was wonderful, editing worked magnificently and they made it more punk rock by changing a few things from the book so it could read as a film.. loved it. There was a few points in the acting that they could have been more enthusiastic, but hey they were trying to evoke casual conversation… it was fine. Minor shit. Music was great.
It’s a controversial film in the best way— it fucking makes you think. It’s social commentary, for all sorts of people. Does it make it real? Hell no! But it’s great to watch and learn from, gain insights.
I just suggest you see this, I sped read the book thinking I was getting the film instead. It took a few days, the characters are wonderful and challenge thoughts, stereotypes, prejudices, even discriminations.
The West-Coast Punk, Jehangir, was sooo hooot. Then I saw his headshot and didn’t recognize him. Weird. He looks like a friend of mine, if he had a pink mohawk, which I might recommend- he’s done crazy shit with his hair.
If you like Fight Club, Trainspotting, Gus Van Sant films, SLC Punk!, and world religion point of views… GO FUCKING SEE THIS!!!!!
Also— it had a spot on SXSW film festival and also Sundance.
My writing on it doesn’t do it justice, trust me. I’ll put up the trailer again, it’s just THAT GOOD. And there isn’t much promo and stills on it.