The film will be introduced by Dr Priyanka Basu, King's College London.
The masterpiece of Bangladeshi writer and director Tareque Masud (who was tragically killed in an accident in 2011), The Clay Bird won the FIPRESCI Prize in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2002 and was the first Bangladeshi film to compete for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, despite being initially banned in its home country.
Set against a 1960’s backdrop leading up to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan, THE CLAY BIRD tells the story of Anu, a boy sent away by his father to an Islamic school. Far from his family and the warmth of his region’s Hindu festivities, Anu struggles to break out of his shell and adapt to the school’s harsh monastic life. As the political divisions in the country intensify, an increasing split develops between the school’s students, just as Anu’s parents find themselves growing apart. Rather than be torn in half, Anu must decide which side he falls upon, in this complex tale of tolerance and cultural diversity.
Performed by a largely non-professional cast, THE CLAY BIRD has an empathetic eye for the innocence of childhood, a quiet wisdom and a wry sense of comedy; all beautifully backed by imagery of life on Bangladesh’s waterways and in its towns.
Dr Priyanka Basu is a South Asian Studies scholar working at the intersections of literary, cultural and performative traditions, particularly in Bangladesh and India. Priyanka joined King’s College London in September 2021. She also holds Visiting Fellowships at the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL and the SOAS South Asia Institute.
Nurul Haque, Russell Farazi, Jayanto Chattopadhyay