Khaled Youssef Defends ‘Al Asifa’
Director Khaled Youssef has dispelled rumors that his movie, Al Asifa (The Storm) the first to address the Gulf War, was biased in favor of Kuwait.
The movie was attacked on various occasions before its release. The public took for granted what newspapers and magazines had to say about the innovative film.
Youssef denied allegations, emphasizing that he is an adamant supporter of the Iraqi people. Meanwhile, publications charged not only Youssef; but they also attacked Youssef’s teacher, the great director Youssef Chahine.
The reports alleged that Chahine was prejudice against ‘Gulfies,’ whom he considers a bunch of ‘low-lifes.’
However, the movie, that was released to theaters two months ago, has achieved great success and risen steadily up Egypt’s top ten list. The Storm presents a story about an Egyptian family, and the effects that they had to endure as a result of the Gulf War. The family was parted down the middle because of the differences of opinion.
In an interview with the Emirate paper ‘Al Bayan’, Youssef said that the attacks were random and uncalled for. He condemned all those who criticized the movie without having seeing it and weighing its evidence. Youssef, specifically attacked Kuwaiti writers who took it upon themselves to say that the movie was promoting Iraq and criticizing Kuwait. According to Youssef, the papers were writing that he was trying to blur the image of those who live in the Gulf, and it was the Gulf’s duty to stand against him. He added that the charges were all false, without exceptions, emphasizing that judging a movie before it is viewed is both unethical and ridiculous.
Youssef also commented on criticisms saying that both Youssef and Chahine were trying to ruin Iraq’s image. Youssef responded by saying that to believe such a lie is ridiculous since it is well known that Chahine is against the destruction of Iraq and is an adamant sympathizer with the children who are dying in the sanctioned state.
Reasons behind the charges vary. One explanation could be a humanitarian visit Iraq by Chahine and Youssef to Iraq as part of an Egyptian delegation against the cruelty to Iraqi children and against American oppression.
Interestingly, famous actress Raghda’s participation in the visit resulted in divorce.
Youssef also expressed his personal stand on the matter, saying that he is in principle against the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, as he is against the use of foreign power in the war. He added that this was especially true since this power is the reason of Iraq’s gradual destruction, ten years after the war ended.
As for the movie, it describes the story of an Egyptian mother, actress Yusra, and her two sons (Hani Salamah and Tarek Lutfi).
The brothers, divided in opinion, find themselves at the center of many conflicts after one of the sons joins the Egyptian army against Iraq. The remaining son refuses to attack an Arab country. The story is more humanitarian than political. On the periphery of the movie, is a love story between Yusra, and a long lost lover played by Mahmoud Himedah-Albawaba.com.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)