Imams Go to School

    Les imams vont à l'école

    • Kaouther Ben Hania
    • United Arab Emirates, France
    • 2010
    • 75 min
    • World Premiere
    • IDFA Competition for First Appearance
    Why are these imams in training taking courses at the Catholic Institute of Paris, in addition to their theological studies at the city's Great Mosque? This is because the French government wants to ensure that they understand the principles of the Republic, with its freedom of conscience and religion and its strict division between church and state. Paradoxically, the Sorbonne refused to offer this course for religious students, which means they will have to settle for the Catholic Institute. They could have done worse: the director of these courses is a flamboyant man who teaches like an actor on a stage and protects his students from the press when necessary. The less-than-good-natured way in which the division between the French state and the Catholic Church took shape offers some intriguing teaching material. In her first feature-length documentary, Kaouther Ben Hania, who studied in both Tunis and Paris, captures this unique intercultural encounter in calm, careful observations free of interviews, commentary or music. She follows the students in the mosque, in their classes on secularity, on trips to Catholic sites, as well as when they are mulling over their experiences together. These are intelligent men at work to provide shape to the future of Islam in Europe.

    Credits

    • 75 min
    • color
    • video
    • Spoken languages: French, Arabic
    • Subtitles in: English
    Director
    Kaouther Ben Hania
    Production
    Eric Borg for Who'Z Prod
    Cinematography
    Denis Gravouil, Walid Mattar
    Editing
    Tuong Vi Nguyen Long
    Sound
    Emmanuel Richier, Rémi Bourcereau

    IDFA history

    2010
    World Premiere
    IDFA Competition for First Appearance

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    IDFA history

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