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Many aspects of A Sinner in Mecca are fraught...so why does it seldom feel like a matter of life or death?
My true frustration about Sharma's film is that beneath the diversions, it contains the material for what could have been something as controversial, powerful, and tender as he seemed to wish.
Mr. Sharma has created a swirling, fascinating travelogue and a stirring celebration of devotion.
The mix of ancient customs and modern crowd-control methods is both inspiring and surprising, and an absolute must-see for any student of sociology or religion.
Sharma's vital, personal doc reveals the filmmaker's attempt at hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that it is the duty of Muslims to undertake once in a lifetime.
The result is a fascinating look at a city off-limits to non-Muslims.
You will see never-before-filmed images of Muslim observances in this sincere, but at times self-indulgent, gay director's journey back to his spiritual roots.
What the film lacks in narrative unity and aesthetic splendor it makes up in moral grandeur and ethical purpose.
This notable feat of cinematography shows much the world Islam's holy city of Mecca but is more of the inner journey of a gay Muslim than it is a travelogue.
Shots of the masses of pilgrims are spectacular, especially those of the millions circling the Kaaba, one of five required rituals, but the emotional core of the film is what stands out: Sharma's identity crisis as a devout gay Muslim.
It touches on a number of the central conflicts in contemporary Islam (and in religion more widely) but does so in a way that invites reflection rather than getting people's backs up.
Powerful examination by a gay Muslim about the conflict between sexual identity and spirituality, reminiscent in many ways of "Trembling before G-D", the documentary about Jews similarly conflicted
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