Director´s Statement

In numerous films, one hears the call to prayer in order to establish a Muslim, resp., Oriental setting. However, the source of the chant, the muezzin, is never shown. His face almost always remains hidden. Therewith, the call to prayer is reduced to a sound effect and serves as a mystical sound that can unfold its effect exactly through the visual absence of the muezzin and, at the same time, through the acoustic omnipresence. »muezzin« is an attempt to contribute towards the deconstruction of this myth, which for me is symptomatic for the reception of Islam in the West.

I have experienced my protagonists as very pragmatic men who indeed pursue their work with passion, but rather refer to the musical than spiritual aspects. I wanted to show that the extended term of “artist” is thoroughly applicable to the muezzin. An individual style and a portion of vanity are part of the decorum, and that in a society in which individualism is very quickly interpreted as religiously condemnable egoism.

»muezzin« moves hermetically within this scene of religious “musicians” whose ethics regarding “money & fame” amazingly approximate very closely to the “underground” attitude found in different Western music scenes – particularly in hip hop. The explication of these similarities meant a lot to me. Likewise, it was important for me to illustrate a slice of the protagonists’ biographical background in order to ostensibly show that origin, tradition and education were primary factors in choosing this profession, and that questions of faith were secondary.

The Call to Prayer Competition serves the film as a narrative thread, but does not attain a significant meaning beyond that. I avoided major plots and worked primarily with allusions. I did not want to let myself be carried away to any conclusions, but rather impartially made a portrait of a scene and its members. The protagonists should receive space and time to express their realities, views and passions, and thereby speak solely for themselves.