Egyptian Society Abuzz over ‘The Days of Sadat’
A new film called The Days of Sadat, which follows the Egyptian leader’s evolution from revolutionary to president, opens this week in Cairo amid quite a buzz in political and artistic circles.
Posters of actor and co-producer Ahmed Zaki bearing Sadat's trademark pipe and moustache are being plastered all over Cairo, and look set to stay there until the 20th anniversary of Sadat's death on October 6, according to AFP.
Zaki's accurate imitation of Sadat's paternal voice and rhythmic pattern of speech amused an audience that included the late president's widow, Jihan, as a preview of the three-hour $1.7 million epic opened in the capital.
The atmosphere was more subdued for the film's final image of the Egyptian leader, in which Sadat gives an emotional appeal for peace at Israel's Parliament in 1977, juxtaposed with the sound of the bullets that killed him rattling over the soundtrack.
Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by army soldier and Islamic militant Khaled Al Islambuli during a military parade, four years after his historic visit to Jerusalem and two years after signing the first peace treaty between an Arab state and Israel.
Jordan later made peace with Israel in 1994.
The film tells Sadat's story from his days as an anti-colonialist revolutionary fighting against the British presence in Egypt, including his imprisonment in 1942 for belonging to a clandestine group and his escape into hiding two years later.
Although pardoned by the king, Sadat was forced to take work as a truck driver and ended up back in prison for a year in 1946 after being implicated in the assassination of British-aligned politician Amin Osman.
After meeting Nasser in the army in 1950, Sadat joined the Free Officers, who two years later overthrew the monarchy, launching Nasser to power.
The two men maintained close personal ties and Nasser appointed Sadat first vice president just months before his death in 1970, setting Sadat up as his successor.
The film then follows Sadat's 11-year rule through the 1973 war with Israel, his tolerance of Islamists through the 1970s, the peace accords with Israel and the arrest of some 1,250 intellectuals and politicians in 1980, followed rapidly by his death at the military parade.
Directed by Mohammed Khan, the film is drawn from Sadat's autobiography and his widow's account of his life.
Five years ago, the Egyptian audience flocked to watch 100 days in the life of his predecessor Gamal Abdel Nasser on film with the same actor in the title role – Albawaba.com
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