Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I wonder which word they WON'T be using if it underperforms at the boxoffice...

Points for cojones, at least. Barrie Osbourne is producing a biopic of Muhammad:

They'll be using the same format as Moustaphha Akkad's "The Messenger" back in the 70s: i.e. avoiding the taboo depiction of The Prophet via camera placement and POV shots.

Y'know what'll be nice about this? A near-total lack of controversy. Since there's no chance that nutters in America will protest, calling it "terrorist propaganda;" that anyone in the actual Middle East will stage ultraviolent mass demonstrations against it, or that members of other world religions will piss and moan about Hollywood being "nice" to Muslims and "mean" to them. Nope, should be a pretty uneventful production... ;)


Mykal said...

Sad that a movie these day can't underperformes simply because it sucks.

Sebastian said...

You know, I would *really* like to see a *realistic* movie about Mohammed. One that shows him neither as the holy bringer of peace and endlessly wise man he is whorshipped as by some, nor as the megalomanical, child-raping warlord he is demonized as by others, but for the man he really was: A clever, scheming statesman and tactican, with both his good and bad sides (relative to his day and age, of course).
All politics aside, he really was a very interesting figure, and a perfect focus for an "epic biopic" if there ever was one. Also, at least we have definite historical proof that he actually existed, which is more than can be said about most other religions' holy men. ;-)

That kind of movie's never gonna happen, though - and it makes you wonder, a bit. The fundamentalists will scream bloody murder (and burn down embasies) anyway, even if it's the most sympathetic movie imaginable (to wit: The Messenger) - so why don't fuck all of them, and make a movie that's actually interesting?

Kysafen said...

As I see it, this movie will be to Islam what Brokeback Mountain was to homosexuality. It's a noble effort to make Islam an accepted faith through the film medium, but to be honest, I don't think America's ready. Really, the reaction it'll acquire from some prejudice critics can and will make me want to spit.

David said...

@ Sebastian

They already did. Only it took place in space and was called DUNE. I kid of course, but that's about as close to a critical look to Muhammad as we are likely to get. Dune is essentially the Koran with lazers.

Honestly, i'd like ANY exposure of the story over here. i knew who Muhammed was, but knew nothing about him until 2rd year university. By age ten I already knew most of the significant stories of the bible. And I was raised atheist. We are so inundated with the cultures of 2 of the abrahamic religions and we ignore the 3rd, unless they are blowing shit up.

hell, I'd settle for a prince of egypt type treatment at this point.

RocMegamanX said...

This makes me wonder...what's next?

I'm wondering if they make a movie based on the book Siddhartha(Buddhism) or make a biopic based on Joseph Smith(Mormonism).

They've made enough movies on the Bible/Torah. I mean, let other religions share the limelight in terms of movies.

Bob said...


It's kind of the ultimate cross-cultural Catch-22. In modern Western culture, the highest honor you can bestow on a historical or religious figure is a big Oscar-Baity biopic; but to a lot of the Muslim World it's the LEAST respectful thing you can do.

Anonymous said...

I thin it would be pretty damn interesting to do a realistic biopic of the man. I find his journey fascinating. BUT, yea the whole catch-22 things.

I'm waiting for the day when we can judge a movie on its merits and our thirst for knowledge. I remember when Brokeback Mountain came out, I didn't really like it because I felt that it didn't stand strong as a story (I was bored by the book) but it was the rage because of the whole 'gay' topic. It saddens me that this movie will be judged on what it depicts (or in the case of some what it does not) versus it's actual merits as a film. Makes me glad I'm an English Major. Film would drive me crazy.

@David - HA! Someone else noticed. I've been getting laughed at for saying just that for years!

Bob said...

FWIW, I think that there are plenty of ways to tell a story about the founding of Islam without depicting Mohammed.

"Ben Hur," for example, manages to tell one of the more compelling (fictionalized) stories of the early Christian world before, during and immediately after the arrival of Christ without ever showing His face. Telling the story of Mohammed's rise through a character living at the same time would, I imagine, work well enough.

David said...


How can people not notice? Its like a 1:1 translation half the time.

They both involve a dude involved in a mercantile occupation getting chased out because those in power fear he will usurp their position. He flees into the desert to a new community and decided to fight back by attacking their trade caravans, using his philosophy to improve the life of his followers,later raising an army large enough to march back to the very spot he was exiled form where he casts down the old corrupt, money hungry power structure in favour of his more benvolent regime.

And within a matter of years people are using his name to justify acts of violence he would likely not approve of.


To be sure there are. But the character is an interesting one. And to me, far more interesting than the other major prophet figures, who effectively were made of deus ex machina. Its hard to relate to jesus or moses given that they are in effect demigods.

Mohammed, as a mythological character has more in common with the heroes of myth than the gods, simply because he's depicted as a relatively ordinary (if not highly talented) man, dealing with real world adversaries. He's the batman of religion.

tyra menendez said...

life of achmed a la life of brian?

funny someone should mention polytheism, i've been reading an excerpt from "why i am not a muslim". it's interesting to note how former gods and goddess of polytheistic religions got turned into demons and angels for the so-called monotheistic ones. especially when you consider the metric ton of saints and ancestors that are the receivers of prayers.