Elementary School


Twelve hours a day, every day for at least two years: 6000 verses of the Koran to memorize. This is the monumental task facing small children at the Hifz-Khana. Many parents are happy to send their children to this special program of a Madrasa –the Islamic orthodox school. Here cameras are strictly forbidden. But filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz gained unprecedented access to several Madrasas in Bangladesh. The result is a finely-observed, sensitive film about a unique religious practice which strongly contradicts all notions of a carefree childhood. The filmmaker shows the anxieties and afflictions which motivate parents to choose these schools for their children. But can children vouch for their parents’ anxieties? There are more questions that the film raises.