Uproar in Egypt after movie star lets rip over shaky screen

Egyptian actor Ahmed El-Fishawy
Updated 26 September 2017
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Uproar in Egypt after movie star lets rip over shaky screen

CAIRO: On balance, it was perhaps not the most diplomatic word to describe the cinema screen for the Arab premiere of your new movie.
The actor Ahmad El-Fishawy was unhappy that gusts of wind at the open-air venue for El-Gouna Film Festival in Egypt were making the screen wobble.
“I do not know how it will be easy for us to watch the movie on this … display,” he said, speaking in Arabic on live television, and using a four-letter word best confined to the bathroom.
There was immediate uproar on social media and elsewhere — detracting somewhat from the impact of the movie, “Sheikh Jackson,” which Egypt has submitted in the foreign-language section at next year’s Academy Awards.
Celebrities such as the TV presenter Amr Adib and the Egyptian actress Ghada Abdel Razek criticized El-Fishawy over the remark. Others stood by the actor, saying he had made a mistake but the word was no big deal.
In particular, the film’s director, Amr Salama, was not pleased. “A total of three years of effort were put in by more than 100 people to make ‘Sheikh Jackson,’ and 35 years of my life to be the person who can write it … but on the opening day, the attention was focused on a word said by one of the actors,” he said.
“There’s a feeling of frustration among all of us that our effort has been destroyed because of one person’s behavior.”
The art critic Magda Khairallah told Arab News: “As usual, people will ignore the opening of an important event like El-Gouna Film Festival, and the value of a film like ‘Sheikh Jackson,’ and dedicate all their effort to attack El-Fishawy over the incident.
“It is true that the screen was shaking and unclear, until the film was stopped and played from the beginning. The work deserves to be praised, so let’s not focus on a blunt remark that was not intended to hurt anyone.”
Later, a repentant El-Fishawy said he had not intended to belittle any of the hard work being put in at the festival. “I just wanted people to see ‘Sheikh Jackson’ on a screen that wasn’t blurry,” he said.
The film tells the story of Sheikh Khalid Hani, a fictional Muslim preacher who idolizes Michael Jackson, and hears on his car radio that the singer is dead. Distraught, he crashes his car.
The movie relates his crisis of conscience on a journey to discover his own identity, mirroring how Egypt’s conservative society is torn between its Islamic and Arab traditions and Western culture.
“It’s about humanity,” director Salama was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. “It tells you that one’s identity is not a single dimension or an unchangeable thing.”


UN’s Bachelet says 55,000 linked to Daesh in Syria and Iraq should be tried or freed

Updated 44 min 54 sec ago
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UN’s Bachelet says 55,000 linked to Daesh in Syria and Iraq should be tried or freed

  • Bachelet said countries should take responsibility for their nationals

GENEVA: UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Monday that 55,000 former Daesh fighters, including foreigners, and their families detained in Syria and Iraq should face fair prosecution or be freed.
States “must assume responsibility for their nationals” and should not inflict statelessness on fighters’ children who have already suffered so much, Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council as it opened a three-week session in Geneva.