FQ columnist Bilal Qureshi responds to the uncertainties and restrictions of life in lockdown by probing the liminality of two films released since the onset of Covid-10: Luxor (dir. Zeina Durra, 2020) and Monsoon (Hong Khaou, 2020). Taking liminality as the embodiment of transitional periods, defined by questions and possibility rather than by answers that provide closure, Qureshi explores the quiet revelations of these two films, both of which follow protagonists who find themselves adrift between cultures, and between the past, present, and future. While reminiscent of the cinematic travelogue and films of flânerie, both Luxor and Monsoon expand these concepts—historically, the privileged domain of the white, male wanderer—while avoiding overt identity politics in the service of timeless, universal themes of loss, healing, and transition.
Travel Beyond Streaming: Luxor’s and Monsoon’s Odes to Liminality
Bilal Qureshi is a radio journalist and cultural critic exploring the intersection of international politics, identity and art. From 2008 to 2015, he served as producer and editor for NPR’s All Things Considered. He now profiles authors, filmmakers, visual artists, and musicians for the network. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. He also co-hosts the FQ podcasts for Film Quarterly.
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Bilal Qureshi; Travel Beyond Streaming: Luxor’s and Monsoon’s Odes to Liminality. Film Quarterly 1 June 2021; 74 (4): 72–74. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2021.74.4.72
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