Hey UK - Hypnotic, Poetic 16mm-Shot 'Touba' (On Grand Magaal Pilgrimage) Is Coming Your Way
Photo Credit: S & A

Hey UK - Hypnotic, Poetic 16mm-Shot 'Touba' (On Grand Magaal Pilgrimage) Is Coming Your Way

nullReaders in the UK are in for a profound experience from director E. Chai Vasarhelyi, whose feature documentary, "Touba," which we covered at DOC NYC, in New York, has been picked up by Aya Distribution, for release, starting in London, on November 23, where it’ll screen at Hackney Picturehouse.

Aya Distribution Project Director, says, "through hypnotizing cinematography, cultural realism, and rare footage of the beautiful Grand Magaal pilgrimage, this film truly captures the sights and sounds of this massive Islamic event. We are extremely passionate about releasing more African films into the UK market, and we are glad that this film will be marking the forefront of this endeavour."

With unprecedented access to one of the largest religious pilgrimages on the African continent, director Vasarhelyi reveals a face of Islam the world rarely ever gets to see in Touba. 

Unexpectedly and beautifully shot on 16mm film, in a time when most documentaries are filmed with digital cameras, the observational film’s vivid cinematography and soundtrack weave together a work of cinematic poetry, taking audiences inside the elusive Mouride Brotherhood, chronicling the Grand Magaal pilgrimage of 1 million Sufi Muslims to the holy city of Touba, Senegal. 

They travel from all over the world to pay homage to the life and teachings of Cheikh Amadou Bamba, whose non-violent resistance to French colonial persecution in the late 19th century inspired a national movement: freedom of religious expression through pacifism. 

Quite topical given recent events.

I’d say that, in addition to this documentary, there’s also a scripted feature-length film in this story to be made – specifically, Cheikh Amadou Bamba’s own individual, magnificent story; a man considered one of Senegal’s greatest spiritual leaders ever, whose pacifist teachings are said to have become a major influence on contemporary Senegalese life and culture.

Every year, millions of Muslims from all over the world make a pilgrimage to Touba, to worship at the mosque and honor the memory of Sheikh Amadou Bamba.

Vasarhelyi (who also directed the acclaimed documentary "Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love") tells that particular story with Touba.

And if you’re in the UK, here’s your chance to finally see the film. Currently-scheduled screenings are listed below the trailer embedded below:


City: London
Date: 23rd of November
Time: 1.30pm
Venue:  Hackney Picturehouse
Pre-book tickets here: http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Hackney_Picturehouse/film/Touba/
City: London
Date: 23rd of November
Time: 4.00pm
Venue:  Ritzy Picturehouse
Pre-book tickets here: http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Ritzy_Picturehouse/film/Touba/
City: Birmingham
Date: 27th of November
Time: 4.00pm
Venue:  The Drum
Pre-book tickets here: http://www.the-drum.org.uk/single-event/?id=T
City: Lancaster
Date: 15th of January 
Time: TBC
Venue: The Dukes Lancaster
City: Dundee
Date: 20th of January 
Time: TBC
Venue: Dundee Contemporary Arts
City: Leeds
Date: 22nd of January 
Time: TBC
Venue:  Seven
Pre-book tickets here:

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