Muriid (2021) is a short film, written and directed by Jamal Mehmood, which I came across via Apne Film Club’s Instagram. Taken by the striking imagery I was so glad I sought the film out!

Part of BBC Arts’ New Creatives series, “Muriid is an Arabic term literally meaning ‘seeker’ and refers in Tasawwuf (sometimes called Sufism) to the seeker or the student on the spiritual path, usually taught by a guide or Shaykh. This dream-like poetry film follows one such muriid on his path to a spiritual opening as he tries to shed his attachment to the world.

Digital illustration of Muriid, Zia Ahmed’s protagonist.
Muriid, digital illustration by Hamish Mèk Chohan.

At 5 minutes it just completely captivates you. From the opening shot, soundtracked by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, to Zia Ahmed’s subtle performance as the protagonist being assisted by Mehmood. There’s something so beguiling about the abstract nature of the situation, in addition to the absence of our own path as viewers of the film not quiet being realised yet. Muriid feels like the opening to something so fantastically epic, I wanted to see more, discover the relationship of the characters further and delve into the world they inhabit.

Ahmed’s performance should also be spotlighted for taking us on such a visceral journey in such a short space of time, we feel every beat of nervousness to realisation. Each shot has been considered to reveal the character’s evolution, perfectly captured in a setting which could be taking place in the 90s through to today.

Exploring further to discover Mehmood’s All My Heroes Were Peacocks (2018); I’m incredibly excited see what he will be working on next and how his poetic dreams and fantastically lush imagery could be expanded to a feature.