Thiedeman’s ‘Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls’ appeals to all audiences

Sacred Hearts, Holy SoulsA Catholic all-boys boarding school is an unlikely place for a red-haired, gay teenager to find unbridled acceptance, especially if he’s being bullied.

Mark Thiedeman’s short art-house film, “Sacred Hearts, Holy Souls,” is a coming-of-age film that uses the opposing themes of pain and joy, religion and sex, bullying and personal freedom to illustrate that struggle is often the birthplace of true freedom. It’s the heart that matters.

Unconditional – Atlanta Filmmaker Tackles LGBT Homelessness, Religion

Kent Igleheart is an Atlanta actor, but now he’s taking his turn behind the camera in his first short film called “Unconditional.”

Igleheart said that one reason for the large number of homeless LGBT youths in the South is because of religion. In the film, though, Igleheart addresses religion from all sides. There’s Bradley, who is left on the street by his family’s pastor. There’s the shelter director who quotes Pope Francis’ recent statement on LGBT Catholics, “Who am I to judge?” There’s a church monsignor who has a change of heart.

“We ultimately save Bradley through a church-supported group,” Igleheart said.

MIFF 2015 critics campus review: The Volcano

The VolcanoMaria (Maria Mercedes Coroy) is a peasant farmer whose parents have arranged a marriage with the wealthy farm owner’s son, but Maria’s eyes are drawn to Pepe (Marvin Coroy), a lout who gets her pregnant. There’s a progressiveness to the matter-of-fact treatment of Maria choosing to have sex with Pepe, defying tradition and religion, but the film’s radicalism mostly shines through in the way it is shot.

Official page of Ixcanul / Volcano

A Sinner In Mecca – Gay Muslim shoots guerrilla style in Mecca

Parvez Sharma’s 2007 film, A Love for Jihad, questioned his religion’s treatment of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people. It brought him both, accolades and fatwas. But neither that work nor his latest, A Sinner In Mecca, is an attack on Islam. “The film is a prayer. I have immense respect for Islam,” he says over the phone from New York.

What he does wish to attack though, is Wahabi Islam, as practiced in Saudi Arabia. “Wahabi,” he adds, “which is the Islam taught in schools in the region, the Islam that the IS believes in, is conservative. And, Saudis do not want their country painted in negative colours.”

Bangistan

BangistanDescription from IMDB:

Bangistan is a whip smart and uproarious satire on fundamentalism and the story of two unlikely terrorists, the antitheses of each other, with a common destructive goal. Concerned by the unrest in the name of religion, Subcontinental leaders of Muslims and Hindus, the Imam and the Shankaracharya, announce that they’re attending the International Peace Conference in Krakow in a joint effort to help unite the two religions in perpetual harmony. Rival rabble-rousing ragtag organizations, the Islamist Al-Kaam Tamam and right-wing political party Maa Ka Dal separately recruit and brainwash Hafeez and Praveen to suicide bomb the conference so that they may continue to wield their local influence. After a rigorous, and hilarious, ‘training’ period the two men switch their religious identities to stay under the radar. Hafeez, the jihadi, masquerades as a conservative Hindu, Ishwarchand; while Praveen, the Hindu soldier, dons the garb of a practicing Muslim, Allahrakha.

Selected reactions:

– The film could have gone a notch or two higher, if Pulkit Samrat had gone slow on his histrionics and perhaps a tad more steady handed execution by the debut director. The script and screenplay deserved a better film. – Mid-Day.com

– To generate laughter out of the grim reality of the Hindu-Muslim divide is not easy. In his debut film director Karan Anshuman takes on the  thankless task and whips up wacky welters of warm humour. – SKJ Bollywood

– With Pakistan, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain imposing a ban on the release of “Bangistan”, producer Ritesh Sidhwani today said that his film is not anti-religion and rather promotes peace and brotherhood. – The Indian Express

– All smoke and no bangs make this Riteish Deshmukh – Pulkit Samrat comedy a dull film! – Bollywood Life

– “It is a film which does not promote terrorism. It is not anti-religion, it is anti-terrorism. Those, who spread terror, should get offended by the film. It is not anti-government,” Sidhwani told PTI. – India West

– Bangistan’s ultimate undoing lies in its desperate lunge towards delivering a message in the climax. Here, Anshuman is at his most clueless, pausing the story to allow preachy banalities to take centre stage. – First Post

– As far as the humour quotient goes, mostly the film involves jokes that are really not worth laughing at. There are a few scenes in between, however, which do make you chuckle a bit. – Films of India

– Boring, Disastrous And Everything Bad – FilmiBeat

– The film culminates in a long scene at the religious summit (which looks more like comic con), where Samrat has an embarrassing breakdown in the bathroom, followed by an equally emotional outburst by Deshmukh in which he essentially tells a gathering of religious leaders that religious leaders are bad news—and is applauded. – LiveMint

– Does not give you bang for your buck – Scroll.in

 – Low on entertainment! – ZeeNews

– Bangistan has been shot by Polish cinematographer Szymon Lenkowski. He does not lose any opportunity to capture the city of Krakow in all its splendour. Unfortunately for Lenkowski and his beautiful country, the hammy actors keeping getting in the way and mucking up the view. – NDTV

– 7 hard hitting scenes that address deep rooted issues of our society.  – IBN Live

– offers some gorgeous Polish locales that are a welcome relief on the screen at times. Anshuman’s script and story had good intentions but gets lost in execution somehow. Even so, ‘Bangistan’ really deserves to be seen for its ‘hatke’ and smart script and those gorgeous locales. – MensXP

 

 

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (2015)

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (2015)Based on my understanding from reading about Kahlil Gibran, the author of the 1923 book The Prophet, the film’s depiction of Mustafa is consistent with Gibran’s drawing from his Catholic upbringing as well as Islamic and Jewish traditions in an effort to reflect the human condition in a sort of ecumenical mysticism. Gibran’s book is a series of twenty-six philosophical essays with the slimmest of narratives connecting the pieces of prose. Salma Hayek’s film captures both the slightness of the narrative and Gibran’s philosophizing by frequently interrupting the film’s simple narrative of a young girl who wishes to help Mustafa with abstract animated sequences accompanying Neeson’s recitations of Girban’s prose.

Selling Religion, a comedy pilot

Selling ReligionWhen an unemployed marketing wiz and her equally desperate ad man realize a prophet could equal profit, they set about using their skills to build the perfectly marketable religion with themselves at the top of the food chain. Think “Better Off Ted” or “Arrested Development” as they begin to lay the groundwork for the big sales pitch. From creating their “Bible” to attracting followers, the low-hanging fruit is ripe for the picking in America where religion is big business and people will buy anything.

Via SilverLakePictureShow

Short film on Jain ritual starvation hogs limelight at Kolkata festival

A documentary on the Jain practice of santhara, where a person takes a vow of abstinence and starves to death, has won a Special Jury award at the recently concluded Kolkata Shorts International Film Festival 2015. The 25-minute film has been written, directed and edited by Mumbai-based journalist-filmmaker Shekhar Hattangadi.

The film, ‘Santhara’, focuses on the conflict between a traditional religious practice and modern laws by exploring the spiritual, ethical, sociological and medico-legal aspects of santhara. It depicts the last moments in the life of a Jain nun who performed the ritual and is based on interviews with Jain religious scholars and community elders as well as legal experts and people who have filed a PIL calling for a ban on the practice.

‘The Path of Zarathustra’, a film on Parsis to release next month

The Path of Zarathustra“, a movie that touches upon the Parsi community and their faith Zoroastrianism, will hit the Indian screens in September.

“It is an extremely important film to be seen by all. ‘The Path Of Zarathustra’ reflects on the deeper perspective of Parsi faith, religion and their lost identity. We are proud to be associated with the film,” Sanjeev Bijli, joint managing director, PVR Ltd, said in a statement.

“The Path of Zarathustra” stars Oorvazi, Tom Alter, Rushad Rana and Shishir Sharma. The screenplay of the movie is written by author and writer of Parsi descent, Farrukh Dhondy.

“It’s an important film for all Parsis and non-Parsis to see, and learn about our religion’s history. The film is extremely relevant for today’s times as it strives to create an authentic picture of the Parsi community who are often portrayed as stereotypes in popular Indian films and television,” said Oorvazi.

The Churchmen — Season 1, Episode 1 Recap

The ChurchmenThe series chronicles five candidates as they arrive at Paris’s Capuchin Seminary.

Despite being a tad overcrowded and a bit formulaic, the opening episode shows promise. The pilot episode has to introduce each of the five students and try to distinguish them in an hour’s time. It’s no surprise under such circumstances that we get a little more exposition than development, a little more telling rather than showing.