Marmoulak (Lizard)

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Marmalouk is a 2004 Iranian film directed by Kamal Tabrizi. The Iranian government banned it after a two-week run. Nevertheless, it is the successful Iranian film ever.

Reza (Parviz Parastui) is a thief who has the nickname, Marmoulak (Lizard), because of his uncanny ability to climb walls. He is caught, and he spends some time in prison, but he manages to escape by disguising himself as a mullah. He goes in search of a man who will help him escape across the border. On the way, he stops in a village where the people mistake him for the new mullah for their mosque. Reza pretends to be their mullah during the day, but at night he goes looking for the man who is supposed to help him cross the border. The villagers notice his night-time excursions, and they mistakenly believe that he is doing charitable works. Reza acquires a reputation as a saint, and people begin flocking to his sermons.

The film is implicitly critical of the Iranian clergy. It seems to suggest that they are out of touch of the people. The clergy apparently decided to prove this popular film’s point by banning it. Yet Marmoulak is not an attack on religion. Quite the contrary, it is actually very respectful towards Islam. It ends on a highly spiritual note. It is also quite funny. The characters are interesting, and it gives us a glimpse into Iranian society. It can be found on Youtube.

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