Rita Banerjee will introduce and lead the discussion for Tareque Masud’s 2002 film, The Clay Bird (মাটির ময়না), on Tuesday, January 13 from 6-8:30 pm for the Institute for Indology and Tibetology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. The screening will take place in Seminar Room 427 (Ludwigstr. 31, Munich). The screening is part of the course Bengali 3: Intermediate Bengali Language and Literature at LMU. Anyone interested in Bengali Cinema or South Asian Art House Film is welcomed to join the screening. In The Clay Bird (Māṭir Maynā), Tareque Masud follows the increasing religious, linguistic, and political tensions leading up to Bangladesh’s War of Liberation from Pakistan in 1971. The film is based on Masud’s childhood experience in a madrasa (Islamic seminary) during the late 1960s in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). This was a very turbulent period in Bangladesh’s history, when as the eastern wing of the greater Islamic state of Pakistan, the country was torn between a strong secular and democratic movement and a pro-Islamic military junta bent on stifling dissent and reform. Although there are oblique references to the historical events of that time, the story Masud tells is an essential human one, told through the eyes of a child. Māṭir Maynā became the first feature film from Bangladesh to be selected for presentation at Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, it was given the honor of being the opening film of the Directors Fortnight section of the festival, and won the International Critics Prize for best film in that section. However, even as the French and international press were lauding the film for its positive portrayal of Bangladesh and its tolerant traditions, the Bangladesh Censor Board gave their own verdict: the film was banned from public screening because it was deemed too religiously sensitive.