Film About Mubarak's Final Days To be Made, Raises Questions

Article Summary
At a time when the Egyptian people are still struggling to rid themselves of the remnants of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the motives behind a planned movie of his final days in office remain unclear, writes Nadim Jarjoura. The script is supposedly based on insider information from inside Mubarak’s palace, and its credibility and stance are not yet known.

Some surprising news has come to light: A plan is underway to make a movie about the last eighteen days of the Egyptian revolution, from the point of view of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The movie will be about the behind-the-scenes events that took place in the Egyptian presidential palace between the beginning of the “January 25” (Egypt's Arab Spring) movement and the stepping down of Mubarak.The script will allegedly be based on information leaked by sources from inside the presidential palace. It is also rumored that the filmmakers found a Mubarak look-alike to play his role on the big screen.

Whether the script will align itself more with the uprising or with the palace’s point of view remains to be seen. However, the fact that such a movie will be made is unexpected for two reasons: First, to what extent can we believe semi-classified information about an era full of secrets and mysteries, obtained from inside a palace known for having been the fortress of a tyrant and his entourage? And all this just one year after the tyrant stepped down and his entourage remain in control of the “revolution” and its people. Also, to what extent is physical resemblance essential in the selection of an actor for performing a character?

These are two separate questions, but both shed light on the film industry. The news, in itself, has brought two questions to light during a period of heightened confusion in Egypt. It also puts the issue of creativity to the test: Can creativity really transcend the many obstacles the tyrant had put in place before his departure, and which his entourage continues to enforce even though he has stepped down? Who was it who disclosed the information leaked from the palace? What is that person’s post; how close was he to the tyrant and what is the nature of the relationship between the two? There are other questions as well. Why all the rush to make a movie about a tyrant who is still being tried for different charges? Why rush to make a movie about sensitive, important and dangerous moments from a perspective obtained from inside the tyrant’s palace? Even if the information were true, why rush to make a movie about a man who is responsible for killing his people during eighteen days, as much as being responsible for killing them before and after the revolution? Is it possible to say that the film to be made about Hosni Mubarak indicates the return of profit-oriented cinema with a new spin?

The question of the resemblance between actors and the real individual they are impersonating has been long raised. Some acknowledge its importance, given that the performance is credible as well. The actor should be able to capture the essence of the character without having to mimic too much, while preserving form and content. Some attach great importance to performance and think that there is nothing wrong with a bit of resemblance in appearance, body language, behavior or manner of speech. The question about the information leaked from inside the “Mubarak palace-castle” is more serious: Exposing this information needs time, closely examining it requires more time and confirming its validity needs even longer. If the informant was at odds with his old boss, then his information should be examined and checked, so that anger, hatred and fabrications do not prevail. And what if the informant is loyal to his boss, who still lies in prison?

The news is surprising indeed.

Found in: mubarak’s final days, january 25th, hosni mubarak, filmmaking in egypt, film production, film, egyptian revolution, egypt, culture, art

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