Art And Culture

Foreign Critics, Local Audience Welcome ‘Muhammad’

Foreign Critics, Local Audience Welcome ‘Muhammad’Foreign Critics, Local Audience Welcome ‘Muhammad’

Iran’s most expensive movie ‘Muhammad’, which opened on Thursday (August 27) in 40 cinema halls in Tehran, fetched over $50,000 at the box office on day one, setting a new record in the history of films in the country.

The movie had its international premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival, Canada, on the same day and was highly acclaimed by foreign film critics, writers and screenwriters.

Guardian’s critic Phil Hoad gave the film four stars out of five, calling it “intellectually honest, committed and poetic”.

“Majid Majidi’s origin story of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which chronicles the birth and rise of Islam, is rich with gestural flair and images of bracing beauty,” he said.

Huffington Post, Quebec wrote, “This production which lasts for three hours recalls the religious epic films of the 1950s where the good feelings overflow from all sides”.

Speaking at the premiere of the film, Majidi issued a direct invitation to a rival Qatari team currently developing their own franchise on the prophet, to collaborate on future, Islam-themed projects.

“The more movies that are made about the prophet’s life, the better,” Majidi said. “We hope the Qatari team will make a correct interpretation of Islam, and they are most welcome to come and film at our facilities in Iran.”

In line with Islamic tradition on depicting the prophet, the 171-minute first installment of a projected trilogy never shows his face.

The director said he believed a more proactive approach was required from Islamic film-makers in the light of acts of terrorism that were shaping global perceptions of the faith.

“We’ve been guilty of shortcomings in introducing the world to the real and true face of the prophet. There have been 200 movies about Jesus Christ, 100 featuring Moses directly or indirectly, 42 about Buddha, but only two on Muhammad. It’s a natural act of introduction to our culture,” he said.

Majidi confirmed that the film has already generated interest in Sunni-dominated countries such as Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia, and that the 52 hours of footage shot would also be edited into a TV mini-series.