If every movie director was as meticulous as Nefise Özkal Lörentzen, commentator editors all around the world would be unemployed. Nefise shocks the commentators with the final episode of her Islam and gender trilogy. The documentary Manislam organizes the second 11th of September attack of the western world. But this time, the cure of love is used instead of the destructive power of violence. Nefise attacks the minds of extremists with the uniting weapons of natural narration, spontaneity, empathy and pure humanity. After Manislam, it’s not easy to be an extremist anymore. Both for radical Muslims and right wing Christians… Just like it was harder to be an average Muslim or Christian after 11th of September in 2001. Thanks to Manislam, maybe an era is closed, at least in Norway.
Six years old journey of Nefise Özkal Lörentzen arrived to its destination on 20th of May with the première of Manislam. At the end of her speech, she invited the audience to stand up for the commemoration of mine workers in SOMA, Turkey. Thanks to her, 600 hearts of the Saga Theatre felt the dolorous heat of SOMA, like a burning coal. Quick reminder for the future time readers: More than 300 mine workers were killed in SOMA last week and some relatives of the victims were actively beaten by the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and his advisor Yusuf Yerkel.
Manislam is the third movie of the documentary film maker Nefise Özkal Lörentzen. Her previous gender studies Gender me (2008) and A balloon for Allah (2011) helped her divide the Muslim society into 3 different layers similar to the age circles of a tree. In her first movie ‘Gender me’, she carried the weakest and most vulnerable layer of Islamic society, the homosexuals. Whereas ‘A balloon for Allah’ demonstrated the second most abused layer of Muslim society all over the world, the women. And finally, the journey leads to the core of the problem, the men. However, Nefise is not using an accusative way of telling the stories; instead she aims to show how the men are also abused by the wrong interpretation of Islam.
For those who did not see the movie yet, it may seem unfair to give some spoilers. However, Nefise has been providing the spoilers of life, like a poet. Her journey introduces us 4 Martin Luther of our time. These influential men are from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kuwait and Turkey.
Gezi Park supporter Anti-Capitalist Muslim Ihsan Eliacik says following words in Manislam. “There are two kinds of religion. One, dead religion. Two, living religion. The dead religions are the ones which completed its era in this world. They are no longer valid. Praying 5 times a day in a language that you don’t know, dividing people who follow Ramadan or not, discriminating the women who cover her hair or not… These are the rituals of dead religions. But the living religion is working for humanity just like the prophets of the ancient times did. Practicing dead religion saves no one, but following the living religion may save us all.” In addition to his words, the audience reaches to the following conclusion: “The first activists of the world are the prophets.”
The soundtracks of Manislam are composed by Mercan Dede who will visit Oslo this summer for Mela Festival. Mercan Dede is maybe Turkey’s top spiritual music composer. And the movie is shot as a NRK TV production. For those who did not join the premiere, I would like the state the Kuwaiti character of the documentary, Dr. Naif Al Mutawa who did a presentation at the premiere. “Religion is a beautiful woman, but the politics is a filthy man. The religion and politics should never marry. Because when the religion gets pregnant, something uglier than the politics is born. And these ugly children marry more dangerous and dirtier things, and it gets worse and worse. Until somebody comes up and stops this cycle.” His wise words confirm the founder of modern Turkey. Ataturk donated the secularity principle to Turks 100 years ago as a gift.
In conclusion, stating a poem is more than necessary to release the emotions. Thanks to Nefise, Manislam is brought to our worlds as a mirror which reflects only beauty, humanity and peace. Manislam is the magic mirror of Nefise.
You have no idea how hard I've looked
for a gift to bring You.
Nothing seemed right.
What's the point of bringing gold to
the gold mine, or water to the ocean?
Everything I came up with was like
taking spices to the Orient.
It's no good giving my heart and my
soul because you already have these.
So I've brought you a mirror.
Look at yourself and remember me.
(Watch Manislam for free for Norwegian residents: http://tv.nrk.no/program/kmte30001512/mannislam)