Friday, July 25, 2008

Egyptian movies: Hassan & Morcos, without Cohen

“Leader” (zaïm, his nickname) of the Egyptian (and the Arabian) stage for more than three decades, why should Adel Imam care to pledge allegiance to his national authorities? The fact is that the young actor who claimed formerly to be an “artist for the people” is now firmly committing himself for Jamal, putative heir of his father Hosni Mubarak (see previous post).

Hassan & Morcos is already one of last summer blockbusters in Egypt. Co-starring Adel Imam and Omar Sharif, it is the story of two men, a Copt and a Muslim, who have to change their identity in order to get away from religious fanatics. The Coptic thinker (Omar Sharif) pretends to be an imam and the Muslim guy (Adel Imam), a Christian priest.

The comedy, in the usual Adel Imam style, is obviously aiming at delivering a political message, that of the national unity jeopardized by religious extremism, from all sides.

The movie is successful and the public seems to approve the political lesson given by the two Egyptian main stars. Nonetheless, voices have raised, especially on the net, calling to a boycott of the “Christian(ised) Adel Imam”.

Today, movies play a major role in shaping the “national collective memory”. Thus it is striking to notice that Hassan & Morcos refers to a well-known movie from the 50’ called Hassan, Morcos & Cohen.

As in Fatma, Marika and Rachel, another movie of that time, the plot gathers a “trio” of Egyptian main confessions : the Muslim one, the Christian and the Jewish.

Sixty years after the birth of the Israeli state, Cohen has disappeared from the screen. And in the “New Middle East”, calls to National unity seem to be necessary in order to keep Morcos and Hassan side to side…

The more elaborated post in French following that link and the moovie trailer

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