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Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul


Director Nacer Khemir's Bab'Aziz is a fable not about a (conceptually more Westernized) search for meaning, but a quest to have beauty and love revealed, in the sense that they represent spiritual truths to some Islamic mystics. Bab'Aziz is an old, blind dervish accompanied on his trek into the vast and shimmering desert by his feisty granddaughter Ishtar. He tells her that they are going to a meeting of dervishes, wanderers for whom poverty is part of the quest for enlightenment. He doesn't know where or when the meeting is but tells her, 'People at peace are never lost." Along the way, he shares with her the story of a prince who rejected his wealth to go into the desert and contemplate his soul while staring into a pool in an oasis. The ever-shifting sands of deserts in Iran and Tunisia provide beautiful and mysterious settings for the film, and Khemir uses them as a telling metaphor " particularly set against small pools or bowls of water " for the infinite universe and the search for elusive spiritual fulfillment and knowledge. The film does not deal with the contemporary politics of Islam, but the director labored to show what the religion is to some of the one billion Muslims worldwide who are not adherents of fundamentalist extremism. His fables (this is the third in a trio of desert films) offer an intriguing look into some of the cultures of the Middle East, and how they see the world differently than the West. Tickets $7 general admission, $6 students/seniors, $5 Zeitgeist members. — Will Coviello 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Thu., March 21-27

Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. 827-5858;


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