The first Arab production of Netflix arouses indignation in Egypt-Morocco-Actu Bookmark Cross List Arrow-Right

03/09/2022 By acomputer 451 Views

The first Arab production of Netflix arouses indignation in Egypt-Morocco-Actu Bookmark Cross List Arrow-Right

The film tells the story of a group of friends who meet for dinner and who decide to make the evening more interesting by agreeing to share with the rest of the group all SMS, emails and telephone calls received.

As the events take place, the game reveals shocking truths on the members of the group, because it approaches subjects such as adultery, sex before marriage and homosexuality, all considered as taboos inEgypt.

The film, which was released on January 20, immediately reached the list of the most watched shows in Egypt.

But in the crash that followed, trials were brought against the Ministry of Culture and the Censorship Office for having authorized the broadcast of the film, and the deputies asked for a special session to discuss the opportunity to prohibitcompletely Netflix.

Online, many criticized the famous Egyptian actress Mona Zaki, who participated in what they called a "shameful" film.

In the middle of the storm, the American streaming giant has abstained from any comments.

War against morality

A lawyer argued that the film "encourages homosexuality", while another said that he is trying to "destroy family values" as part of a "systematic war against morals" of Egyptian society.

Although homosexuality is not expressly prohibited in Egypt, it is often punished under laws formulated in vague terms prohibiting "debauchery".

In addition, discrimination against the LGBT community is very widespread in this deeply conservative and religious society.

La première production arabe de Netflix suscite l'indignation en Égypte - Maroc-Actu bookmark cross list arrow-right

The Mostafa Bakry legislator argued that Netflix should be completely prohibited and asked for an emergency meeting in Parliament to discuss it.

He particularly criticized a scene in which one of the actors - who played the role of the father of a teenager - discussed with her daughter of her first sexual relation.

Sexual relations before marriage are also taboo in Egypt where, in extreme cases, they can cause "honor crimes", especially in rural areas.

"This network targets Egyptian and Arab citizens...We should ban Netflix, "said Bakri in an interview with a private television channel.

He said the film includes "more than 20 suggestive blasphems that shocked Egyptian families".

Netflix estimated that this an hour and a half film was not suitable for under 16, although it does not contain any scene of nudity or sex.

Bold, unconventional

Egyptian film critic Tarek Shennawy said he was "surprised" about the attack on actress Mona Zaki.

Zaki, who played the role of a wife trapped in an unsatisfactory wedding, was particularly criticized for a scene in which she removes her underwear from her dress her dress.

On social media, many considered this scene as a source of shame for her husband - the renowned actor Ahmed Helmi - and their daughter.

"How did Ahmed Helmi allow his wife to play this role in the film?" Asked a user on Twitter.

Another wondered how Zaki "was not afraid for her daughter to see her as daring".

But Shennawy argued that "the content of the film should not affect the personal or national honor of those who took part".

"We confuse fiction with reality and it's very weird".

Deny, silence or ignore

Egyptian cinema has a long history of films that shake up social mores.

Almost 20 years ago, "Sahar al-Layali" (Nuits Blanches), addressed the problems facing young married and unmarried couples.

He also tackled subjects such as adultery, classism and sexual dissatisfaction in weddings.

In 2006, the cinemas projected "the Yacoubian building", adapted from the successful novel by Alaa al-Aswany, which explicitly approached homosexuality.

The greatest irony is perhaps the fact that in 2016, the first prize of the Cairo International Film Festival was awarded to none other than "Perfetti Sconoscutti".

But the appetite of the public for such films has encountered an increasingly lively reaction as Egypt has become more conservative and that freedoms have been more limited under the chairmanship of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who took office in 2014.

However, despite scathing criticism, others defended the film, considering it as a faithful representation of reality.

"It is daring, unconventional and tackles subjects that Arab cinema had never tackled before," wrote Khaled Ali, left lawyer and former presidential candidate, on Facebook.

"It is realistic, no matter how much we try to deny it, silence it or ignore it".