Film on ‘Hasan al Banna’ Sparks Controversy in Egyptian Media

Published January 19th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

The news report about a new film being geared up on the life history of the founder of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hasan al Banna has sparked controversy in the Egyptian media circles which were divided between supporters and opponents. 

The son of the late Islamist, Saif Eddin al Banna, told the local press that the script which was being prepared few years ago has been ready and needs only funding and implementation. “If financiers are available, there will be no problem for producing such a film,” al Banna added. 

“I do not intend to produce something trivial on Hasan al Banna because a film on this prominent figure needs financing by governments. I aim at making a big film similar to Omar al Mukhtar, Sadat Days or Mustafa Kamel which have been financed by governments. 

The script includes good and impressive scenes and situations and will succeed commercially as far s the financier are concerned and who fears loss if the film has to be produced with accuracy. The script tackles the life history of the Islamist from his birth until his death,” al Banna said. 

About the possibility that the producers might face obstacles by the Egyptian government, Saif al Islam claimed, “the film can be produced anywhere in the world and nobody can ban it.” 

Meanwhile, critics and press had differences over the objective behind producing a film on the life history of the founder of Muslim Brotherhood. Some of these hailed the idea describing it as an important historical event free of sensitivity from the artistic point of view while others saw that it was inappropriate to produce such a film these days when the US is launching war against terrorism. 

The Egyptian independent newspaper Sawt al Ummah commented in its latest weekly Sunday issue under the headline, “Hasan al Banna competes with Mohammed Heneidi in the next film season revenues.” 

“Hasan al Banna is a respectful figure but there are differences of opinion about it. Time is irrelevant to screen the film so that no dispute will arise between both sides,” the screenwriter Osama Anwar Okasha said commenting on the issue. 

The film scriptwriter Mahfouz Abdel Rahman who wrote most of the historical stories for the Egyptian TV said, “al Banna was one of the most important figures in our modern history. No body should be sensitive to depicting his life through a true story.” 

“Can we depict Egypt’s history without tackling a figure such as al Banna,” inquired Abdul Rahman. 

Three years ago, the leftist writer and editor in chief of Cairo newspaper issued by the Ministry of culture, Salah Eisa, announced that he was embarking on writing a script of a film on Hasan al Banna and that he was willing to produce it. But the script was not accepted by Saif al Islam at that time, the fact that aroused discussions regarding the right of Eisa in producing a film with such script; his aim in writing the script and implementing the film. 

However, the Egyptian TV, which aired many historical series on a number of Egyptian figures, has not so far aired any one on Islamist figures -- 

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