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28 February 2017 01:41 pm

Qumra: Mimosas

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An elderly sheikh, nearing death, seeks to travel to his birthplace in the Atlas Mountains so he may find final rest among his family and loved ones, but the road is treacherous and more than the caravan that accompanies him can manage. When the old man dies, a guide is recruited from a ragtag group of itinerant workers, and he takes on the task of leading the small party of three whose task it is to return the old man’s body home.

Bordering on the surreal, ‘Mimosas’ travels deeper and deeper into the mountain range, seeming to dislocate itself in time and becoming an inner journey of endurance, passion and will. The duty-bound men are increasingly focused on their goal to the extent that it becomes a moral mission; one by one they face their doubts and fears, gaining strength from hardship and faith from failure.

Drawn in part from director Oliver Laxe’s experiences of exploring Sufism, the film is a stunningly beautiful (16mm cinematography splendidly captures the wild elegance of the landscape, its wide-open plains contrasting with its narrow, craggy passes), carefully considered and deeply moving meditation on the possibilities of approaching, and perhaps convening with, the divine.