Manislam- Islam and masculinity (Norway, 60 minutes)
Directed by: Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
Written by: Nefise Özkal Lorentzen, Jørgen Lorentzen
Article by Julie Evensen:
Manislam: Why does a man in Kuwait inspired by the 99 names of Allah and the Quranic stories create comics about super heroes called the 99? Why does a man in Bangladesh travel from one village to another and teach the community how to play a board-game? Why does a man in Indonesia encourage other men wearing mini shirts in a demonstration? They all have the same target. They will change the dark side of the masculinities in their cultures by playing games. They all want to reform Islam. How did it start? After 9/11, Nefise Özkal Lorentzen, Turkish- Norwegian filmmaker, decided to make a trilogy about alternative Islam. Her intention was neither to defend nor to explain the meaning of Islam in general, but rather to show the different sub-cultures within and various interpretations of Islam. “Gender” was the main password for her quest in the mystery of Islam. The first documentary, Gender me, about Islam and homosexuality, was released in 2008. The sequel, A Balloon for Allah, about women and Islam, was released in 2011. Now Integral Film presents her 3rd installment ManIslam about the power, the privileges and the burdens of masculinity. Manislam is possibly the most important one of all three, but also the most difficult one to make. It is always easier to portray the opposition to power than the power itself, and masculinity is in great length bound to the patriarchal tradition and power in Islam. We will follow Nefise’s voyage into understanding masculinities. She wishes to undress Muslim men from their patriarchal heritage. She will question the patriarchal tradition and search for the burdens of manhood in Islamic cultures, and she will pursue and discuss the freedom of men, democracy and equality, violence and oppression, emotionality and male sexuality. Since Nefise was a little girl she was aware of the fact that boys have more privileges than girls. However these privileges, which have kept the wheels of patriarchy running, have given happiness neither to women nor to men. Even though the power of patriarchy can transform the oceans into mud by dehumanization and militarization of the masses of men, it could not destroy her quest to find the stories of men, who want to purify and dilute Islam from patriarchy. She believes that through this quest she will re-build the bridges, which have been destroyed by gender- segregation.