When you watch so many films, it is rare when you see something truly new. The Turkish film Takva does this, in that it celebrates the religious life and the principles of religion without a last-act twist. The trappings of organized religion come under scrutiny, but since we’ve all seen a bazillion movies we keep expecting to finally have the lid blown off and realize that the big boss (in this case an Imam) is an evil puppet-master, yet it doesn’t happen. The evil is modernity, but that is no one’s fault.

The story is so simple, it is practically non existent. The local congregation needs a new guy to act as “rent collector” for the local Mosque. The Imam picks a quiet, simple, single older man because he is very devout. But the blending of the “worldly” and his beloved religion proves too much for him and he breaks down. It would be, for example, like me going on the set of the Enterprise and seeing that Mr. Spock is just some dude with clay on his ears reciting lines in front of a blank wall.

Okay, that is an embarrassing analogy, but you get where I am going with it.

Track down this movie if you can and check out some terrific stuff. Also, the ethnographic footage of the dhikr rituals are fantastic.