Maybe if the ambiguity was intentional, to stimulate contemplation/conversation... But no, benevolently-intentioned or not, his films - the few I've seen - leave me just slightly cold. There's something missing. Love, or any other passion. Smart & soulless. Still, beautiful imagery; evocative. And precisely devised montage lends itself cleverly (manipulatively?) to multiple interpretations. Hm. Maybe in context?*
3 minute long manifestation of American propaganda and xenophobia combined. If only could I travel back in time, I'd have rather spent the time looking out my window, which most likely would be more informative about the world that we live in, than this feature. Even within the context of 9/11 this seems quite vicious and plants seeds for more violence to unfold for those who can't take some distance. Uninspiring.
It's not the leveling between faiths that's the most powerful. It's the way the images are used to place the viewer in the unusual point of view of looking at the prayer. The director reveals the universal obsession that puts everyone on the edge of radicalism. The groups could be men facing a military leader. The Statue is there at the end to say that we are all dependent on the symbols that are given to us.
Beautiful insights into the emotional aspects of religion. The core message seems to be that religion in the strong sense means respect, finitude acknowledged, and love. That´s ok, but it is also naive. Religion today -its corruption under the form of fundametalism in particular- is a about money and power, that is, politics. The emotional factors are interesting, but only a small piece of the phenomenon.
You ever see that video where some people place a giant mirror and a camera in the jungle to see how the wildlife would react to it's own reflection? Most of the animals felt frightened and threatened by the sight of themselves, and some even tried to attack the mirror. Seems to me like that't kind of what xenophobia is like. The irrational fear of what we see as foreign, even though we're all inherently the same.