Synopsis by Ryan Shriver
Bangladeshi director Tanvir Mokammel examines faith, honesty, and justice in 1940s East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in his 2001 film A Tree Without Roots, the story of a fake holy man's rise and fall from power. A rough-looking Mullah named Majid (Raisul Islam Asad) arrives quietly at a remote Bengali village and begins to restore an old, isolated grave he claims contains the remains of a Muslim saint. Once he berates the villagers for their ignorance and impresses said villagers with the breadth and scope of his studies in all things Muslim, they begin to revere Majid as a holy man and spiritual leader -- thus paving the way for the conman to live a life of relative luxury at the expense of the villagers. Majid takes a wife, who reveres him and obeys his every command, and lives several years in comfort until he begins to desire another, younger wife. Majid eventually marries again, but his new wife does not share his first wife's reverence for Majid, especially when she discovers him to be a phony. Majid's whole scheme thus runs the risk of ruin as his new wife may or not reveal his dishonesty to the rest of the village. A Tree Without Roots was selected for inclusion in a number of film festivals in 2002, including Rotterdam Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, and the London Film Festival.