Bangladesh filmmaker Tareque Masud dies in crash
Posted: Aug 15, 2011 2:45 PM ET
Bangladesh film-maker Tareque Masud has been killed in a bus crash near Dhaka on 13 August 2011. Masud's film The Clay Bird won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 and was Bangladesh's candidate for the foreign film Oscar in 2003.
When the birth of a nation, especially one as bloody as the war of independent that birthed Bangladesh in 1971, resides in living memory, it casts a long shadow over the films and literature of the new country. Yet, thanks to the vagaries of politics and history, the memories of that birth itself keep getting rewritten and overwritten as different political parties come to power in Bangladesh.
For him, personally, that changed his life. “War was in fact a liberating factor for me and my mother who was in purdah,” says Tareque. “It forced us to leave our home and become refugees in my mother’s village. Those nine months were nine years in terms of my mental experience. War is nothing to romanticize about, but if it didn’t happen, things wouldn’t have changed.” The Clay Bird remains his documentation of that change. The Clay Bird (Matir Moina) was initially refused a certificate by the Bangladeshi government in 2002, who said it gave a distorted image of the madrasa system.
Bangladesh filmmaker Tareque Masud, seen hoisting his best script prize for The Clay Bird at the Marrakesh International Film Festival in 2002, was killed in a weekend bus accident.Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Tareque Masud, an award-winning Bangladeshi filmmaker whose work was recognized at the Cannes Film Festival, has died after a weekend bus accident.
Masud was among five minibus passengers who died in a crash near the Bangladesh capital city of Dhaka on Saturday.
Also killed was cinematographer Ashfaque Munier Mishuk, a former journalist who served as head of the private TV station ATN.
Masud's wife — American film producer Catherine Masud — and painter Dhali Al Mamun were among the passengers seriously injured in the highway accident, which occurred when the vehicle in which they were travelling collided with a larger bus.
The group had been returning to the capital after visiting a potential site for Masud's forthcoming film The Paper Flower. The bus driver, who initially fled the scene, is in police custody and an investigation into the accident is under way.
Fans, colleagues pay respects
Thousands gathered in Dhaka on Sunday to pay tribute to Masud, Mishuk and the others killed in the accident.
Nurul Islam Nahid, the country's minister of education, described their deaths as "a national loss."
Considered one of Bangladesh's most prominent and celebrated filmmakers on the world stage, Masud earned the International Critic's Award at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival as well as the FIPRESCI prize at that year's corresponding Directors' Fortnight for his feature film debut, The Clay Bird.
Screened at film festivals around the globe, the drama tells the story of a young boy studying at a madrasa (Islamic religious school) and was inspired by Masud's own education. In 2003, Bangladeshi officials subsequently selected the movie as the country's first-ever submission for best foreign film Oscar consideration.
Other credits include the 2006 drama The Homeland and 1995's The Song of Freedom, a documentary that chronicled the experiences of a travelling musical troupe during Bangladesh's Liberation War.