Oh, to be young, beautiful, Muslim—and punk rockers! Here’s one story of disaffected American youth we haven’t seen before.
Yusef, a straitlaced Pakistani American college student, moves into a house with an unlikely group of Muslim misfits—skaters, skinheads, queers, and a riot grrrl in a burqa—all of whom embrace Taqwacore, the hardcore Muslim punk-rock scene. They may read the Koran and attend the mosque, but they also welcome an anarchic blend of sex, booze, and partying. As Yusef becomes more involved in Taqwacore, he finds his faith and ideology challenged by both this new subculture and his charismatic new friends, who represent different ideas of the Islamic tradition.
Adapted from the influential novel by Michael Muhammad Knight (cowriter of the film), The Taqwacores marks the energetic directorial debut of Eyad Zahra, who creates a wholly original spin on the identity narrative and invests the filth and fury of Islamic punk with humor and humanity. —Sundance Film Festival
To follow up on the roundup for the first week of this year's London Film Festival, let's begin at the top of Mark Stafford and Pamela Jahn