Ahmed Zaki’s New Film About Sadat Catches Flack
A special Egyptian committee on Wednesday stood poised to prevent a film entitled The Days of Sadat from being screened at 35 movie theatres across the nation, according to Kuwait’s official news agency (KUNA).
The situation prompted film producer Ahmed Zaki to urge a preview audience to “abandon any prejudices” before watching.
Zaki told the crowd that he initiated the movie project, thinking only about Egyptian cinema, not about politics.
The movie tells Sadat's story from his days as an anti-colonialist revolutionary fighting against the British presence in Egypt, through his eleven-year rule, and up until his assassination.
Islamist Khaled Islambouli gunned Sadat down during a troop parade in 1981 after Egypt became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel.
The movie includes many speeches by Sadat, including one made at the Israeli Knesset, a matter that was criticized by one newspaper, which ironically called for "distributing catalogues to the audience to [help them] follow the speeches."
A movie depicting 100 days in the life of Sadat's predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser, with the same actor in the title role, bombed and was only screened for one week in Cairo. But unlike Nasser's family, who criticized the movie a few years ago, Sadat's family praised Zaki and the work in general, saying "the hours of the movie passed as a beautiful dream ... in particular the scenes depicting the human side of Sadat's life.
Sadat's sons found in the movie an opportunity to correct false ideas about their father. But they all were in tears while watching the scene of the assassination.
Mustafa Khalil, a former prime minister, said Sadat deserved more than assassination as a chief of state, and said the movie managed to correctly portray the late president's personality.
Critic and historian Abdel Azeem Ramadan said the film was a salute to Sadat's political positions without defending them.
But the Al Arabi magazine of the Nasserist Party lashed out at the movie, saying it ignored the important role of…Nasser. It said the role of Nasser was performed by an unknown actor whose gawky gait was “deplorable.”
According to some critics, Zaki crammed too many important events into the film, but nevertheless found a place for scenes connected to various Arab countries, in a bid to ensure good distribution in the Arab world – Albawaba.com
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