Bosnian film ponders strict Islam's place in West

Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:32am EST
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By Mike Collett-White and Daria Sito-Sucic

BERLIN/SARAJEVO (Reuters) - A powerful Bosnian drama examines how people living in a Westernized, multi-cultural society and those observing a strict interpretation of Islam can co-exist, if at all.

"On the Path", which has its premiere at the Berlin film festival on Thursday, is essentially a love story between Luna and Amar, both Muslims by birth who are living what would seem a typical life for a young Sarajevo couple.

But they grow apart when Amar, who loses his job, joins a Muslim commune on an isolated island where his faith is revived.

He adopts a radically more orthodox approach toward religion, his relationship and life in general.

Amar quits drinking alcohol and smoking, refrains from sex before marriage and suggests that the couple's inability to conceive a child may be God's punishment for a sinful lifestyle.

Luna cannot get to grips with the changes in the man she loves, and tensions come to the surface when she witnesses a Muslim friend of Amar's marrying a young girl, his second wife, which she says is against the law.

God's law, Amar replies, is above that of Bosnia's, raising another of the film's key issues.

Amar, director Jasmila Zbanic said in a recent interview, "slips into something that could be described as a more radical religion, he is attracted by the ideas of Wahhabism."   Continued...