Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16

Thread: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

   
  1. #1
    Points: 3,728, Level: 38
    Level completed: 52%, Points required for next Level: 72
    Overall activity: 7.0%
    Achievements:
    1000 Experience PointsVeteran

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    250
    Points
    3,728
    Level
    38
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 83 Times in 54 Posts

    Default Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    SOURCE

    I didn't see anything about this, which was surprising in itself given the nature of the forum. The story seems interesting on paper, but the trailer is very freaky...


  2. #2
    Points: 38,800, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 23.0%
    Achievements:
    Three Friends25000 Experience PointsVeteran

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    5,725
    Points
    38,800
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    1,394
    Thanked 2,183 Times in 857 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    Hmm...interesting!

  3. #3
    Points: 64,395, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 13.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsOverdriveVeteran50000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    15,732
    Points
    64,395
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    20,332
    Thanked 35,864 Times in 9,315 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    I have heard about it before. Sounds like an interesting concept:

    Media Luna has acquired the rights to Egyptian movie “Sheikh Jackson,” which centers on an Islamic cleric who revisits his teenage obsession with Michael Jackson.


    The film, directed by Amr Salama, is set in 2009 when news of the singer’s death causes the cleric to undergo an identity crisis.


    “We are proud to lead this young talented director to cross borders with such a delicate story, told with such an original tone and visionary in its way,” Ida Martins, CEO of Media Luna, said. “[The film] has the potential to touch the hearts of people no matter where they’re from as at the end of the day it is about being brave and learning how get to know and take care of oneself.”





    The director said it is “a truly personal film” and “I don’t see myself doing another film where I can be that exposed and vulnerable telling a deeply personal story, a story that can be a wake-up call and an insightful look into the lives of the ‘other.’”


    Ahmed El Feshawy plays the lead role, while rising young star Ahmed Malek plays the cleric as a teenager. Veteran actor Maged El-Kedwany stars as the cleric’s authoritarian father.


    The film is produced by Mohamed Hefzy of Film Clinic, the Egyptian production powerhouse, which is behind films such as Un Certain Regard 2016 opener “Clash” by Mohamed Diab and “Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim” by Sherif el Bindary, as well as Hani Ossama of The Producers, the company behind the local hits “Excuse My French” and “Hepta.”


    “We are very happy to be working with Media Luna. Their reputation and track record are excellent, but it’s their passion and belief in the film that made us instantly convinced that they were the best partner for the film. We look forward to a long and successful working relationship,” Hefzy said.

    The deal was negotiated by Daniel Ziskind, the manager of Film Clinic in Europe.
    http://variety.com/2017/film/global/...na-1202439010/

    The concept sounds interesting. The conflict of religion and Western cultural influence. The strict rigidity of religion vs. a longing for the freedom expressed in art, music, dance. I will have to wait and see but on the surface of it I can even relate to it as an ex-Fundamentalist Christian when I too had my love for Michael on the one hand but it was in conflict with the religious teachings I was getting. Eg. being a fan of a pop star was considered "idoltary", you are only supposed to be a fan of Jesus, no one else. Obviously sexual dance moves or lyrics were a big no-no as well. Etc. So I can only imagine what conflicts a Muslim cleric with the same passion would go through - esp. if he is from a branch of Islam where not even music and dance is allowed.

    Here is the FB page of the movie, there are some more videos on it: https://www.facebook.com/SheikhJacksonFilm/
    Last edited by respect77; 20-08-2017 at 09:39 AM.

  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to respect77 For This Useful Post:


  5. #4
    Points: 64,395, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 13.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsOverdriveVeteran50000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    15,732
    Points
    64,395
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    20,332
    Thanked 35,864 Times in 9,315 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)








  6. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to respect77 For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    Points: 3,728, Level: 38
    Level completed: 52%, Points required for next Level: 72
    Overall activity: 7.0%
    Achievements:
    1000 Experience PointsVeteran

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    250
    Points
    3,728
    Level
    38
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 83 Times in 54 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    Quote Originally Posted by respect77 View Post
    The concept sounds interesting. The conflict of religion and Western cultural influence. The strict rigidity of religion vs. a longing for the freedom expressed in art, music, dance. I will have to wait and see but on the surface of it I can even relate to it as an ex-Fundamentalist Christian when I too had my love for Michael on the one hand but it was in conflict with the religious teachings I was getting. Eg. being a fan of a pop star was considered "idoltary", you are only supposed to be a fan of Jesus, no one else. Obviously sexual dance moves or lyrics were a big no-no as well.
    I think I know some of where you're coming from. I'm a Christ follower myself, but I was raised by very legalistic people who didn't understand my enjoyment of Michael's music and love for people. When the first allegations hit in '93, so many told me he was guilty, and I gave up trying to convince them otherwise. I still struggled with it though, and continue to do so sometimes. When Michael died, it was one of the few times I ever cried over a celebrity's passing. I never worshiped Michael or anything like that, but I felt an emotional bond since he was so childlike a lot of the time. I was also a fan of the character Data, on "Star Trek: the Next Generation"...and later found out my younger "relational age" was due to Asperger's Syndrome. I don't meant to derail this topic, but there's a very real difference (at least in my experience) between a personal relationship with Jesus and someone beating you with a Bible.

  8. #6
    Points: 64,395, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 13.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsOverdriveVeteran50000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    15,732
    Points
    64,395
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    20,332
    Thanked 35,864 Times in 9,315 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    Quote Originally Posted by respect77 View Post
    Obviously sexual dance moves or lyrics were a big no-no as well.
    Let me add, "Thriller" (and any horror movie) was also forbidden fruit to me, since it was "occult" and "demonic". So my chuch was much like MJ's own church in that regard and I can only imagine how much struggle it must have been to MJ himself. I can perfectly understand the mind set in which he wanted to destroy Thriller. Thankfully Branca saved it from the religious zeal.

  9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to respect77 For This Useful Post:


  10. #7
    Points: 26,927, Level: 97
    Level completed: 58%, Points required for next Level: 423
    Overall activity: 97.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsVeteranOverdrive25000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Mesa, Arizona
    Posts
    11,311
    Points
    26,927
    Level
    97
    Thanks
    31
    Thanked 3,405 Times in 1,585 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    When I lived in Libya as a kid, I danced like MJ and grabbed the sh** out of my crotch.. no one stopped me haha!! some laughed, but F it!
    **He lives forever within us**

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to KOPV For This Useful Post:


  12. #8
    Points: 21,530, Level: 92
    Level completed: 18%, Points required for next Level: 820
    Overall activity: 39.0%
    Achievements:
    Tagger First Class10000 Experience PointsVeteran

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    3,138
    Points
    21,530
    Level
    92
    Thanks
    3,890
    Thanked 3,568 Times in 1,248 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    I understand that 'Sheikh Jackson' will be premiered at the Toronto Film Festival (TIFF):

    carlo riley (You Tube)
    Published on Sep 1, 2017

    Carlo Riley stars as Michael Jackson in the new Film "Shiekh Jackson" The film will make it world debut at The Toronto Film Festival closing ceremony.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ra80...&feature=share


    'We may not change the world in one day but we still can change some things today, in our small way.'[/SIZE][/SIZE]

  13. #9
    Points: 37,938, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 17.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsTagger Second ClassVeteranOverdrive25000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Mexico
    Posts
    10,472
    Points
    37,938
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    3,605
    Thanked 10,499 Times in 3,727 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    I don't get how the MJ references shown in this trailer can make a coherent movie or it was a bad editing. I was confused trying to make sense of it.

  14. #10
    Points: 64,395, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 13.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsOverdriveVeteran50000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    15,732
    Points
    64,395
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    20,332
    Thanked 35,864 Times in 9,315 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    Toronto Hidden Gem: How Michael Jackson Inspired an Egyptian Filmmaker's Personal Tale

    Amr Salama used the King of Pop's death as the driving force behind 'Sheikh Jackson,' a poignant meditation on identity and contradiction in the Islamic world.
    A bearded hardline Islamic cleric with a secret passion for Michael Jackson — the idea seems like a goofy Ben Stiller comedy waiting to happen (and immediately offend). But it’s not actually as far-fetched as it sounds. In fact, when the concept for Sheikh Jackson — in which a strict Islamist and former King of Pop fan in Egypt suffers from a crisis of faith and identity after Jackson’s death in 2009 — was first suggested to director Amr Salama, it struck an intensely personal chord.

    “The moment I heard it I thought, ‘Wow, this is like me in the past,’ ” says the award-winning Egyptian filmmaker behind 2011’s hard-hitting drama Asmaa and 2014’s darkly comic coming-of-age hit Excuse My French.

    Much like the film’s central character, Salama was a “die-hard” King of Pop fan at school. “My nickname was Jackson. I had my hair long. Nobody else was like me in Egypt,” he says. But then at university, following a path taken by many young Egyptians in the late ’90s and early 2000s, he entered a “super religious” phase, which lasted a couple of years. “There was a rise in Islam — an era where you saw girls wearing headscarves and putting on the veil, and guys praying five times a day.” Salama says that writing the script was “agony,” going through about 11 drafts and five script consultants. “I was too attached to the character, but I didn’t surrender and kept working.”

    Salama describes the end result as a “love letter to life and accepting all of your contradictions,” adding that it’s a story he hopes will connect in Egypt, where such an identity crisis is “very common” among his postrevolution, internet-exposed generation.

    But one thing Sheikh Jackson isn’t is a comedy, and ensuring people appreciate this before they watch the film is something the director says has been his “biggest challenge.”

    Also high on the list of difficulties — perhaps even the top one — was the music, especially trying to obtain rights from Jackson’s estate.

    “That was a total pain in the ass,” admits Salama. Despite repeated attempts, he wasn’t able to use of any of the late singer’s songs. For many, that might put the brakes on a project in which the music plays a crucial role, but Salama — who hired Carlo Riley, one of the world’s top Jackson impersonators, to appear in several scenes — wasn’t deterred.

    “When we couldn’t get the rights, we decided to invent new music for the film,” he says. “So I went to the music guys and tried to invent new sounds that sounded like Jackson.” And he’s rather pleased with the results.

    “I’m confident that if Jackson was suddenly brought back to life and heard the music in this film, he’d use it in his next album.”

    Sheikh Jackson has its world premiere at TIFF on Sept. 15.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...l-tale-1036636

  15. #11
    Points: 8,171, Level: 61
    Level completed: 7%, Points required for next Level: 279
    Overall activity: 25.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsVeteran5000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    London, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Posts
    1,043
    Points
    8,171
    Level
    61
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 291 Times in 83 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    Oscars: Egypt Selects 'Sheikh Jackson' for Foreign-Language Category


    Amr Salama's drama about an Islamic cleric who dresses like Michael Jackson bows at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday.

    Egypt has selected Amr Salama's Sheikh Jackson, a drama about a bearded hardline Islamic cleric with a secret passion for Michael Jackson, as its candidate for consideration for the best foreign-language film Oscar.

    Salama received news of his country's Oscar bid pick Monday while attending the Toronto International Film Festival, where Sheikh Jackson is set to have its world premiere.

    "I’m thrilled and honored to be recognized,” Salama said in a statement. "My aim was to be honest from the beginning and I wanted to cross borders with this film and subject. I believe we have done just that."

    Sheikh Jackson, co-produced by Film Clinic and The Producers, stars Ahmad Alfishawy and Maged El Kedwany in a drama where the sudden death of the King of Pop sends a former devotee, and now a young imam, into a tailspin.

    Sheikh Jackson will bow Friday at the Elgin Theatre to close TIFF's Special Presentations sidebar.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/new...tegory-1037722

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to seany For This Useful Post:


  17. #12
    Points: 3,728, Level: 38
    Level completed: 52%, Points required for next Level: 72
    Overall activity: 7.0%
    Achievements:
    1000 Experience PointsVeteran

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    250
    Points
    3,728
    Level
    38
    Thanks
    24
    Thanked 83 Times in 54 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    Its sad that the Estate refused to allow the use of Michael's songs, but they probably feared being associated with terrorism since a lot of Muslims have been attacking or insulting the US since 9/11. Regardless of what anyone believes, the fact is that the Quran still mandates jihad, and Muhammad lived it to its sickening fullness.

  18. #13
    Points: 64,395, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 13.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsOverdriveVeteran50000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    15,732
    Points
    64,395
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    20,332
    Thanked 35,864 Times in 9,315 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    ‘Sheikh Jackson’ moonwalks into Toronto film festival

    TORONTO: Egyptian director Amr Salama pays homage to the late Michael Jackson in his new film “Sheikh Jackson,” a tale of how a young imam struggles to reconcile his desire to be a better Muslim with his love for the King of Pop.

    The film — which landed a spot as Egypt’s Oscar bid for best foreign film Tuesday — is based loosely on Salama’s own life as a former orthodox Muslim whose obsession with the flamboyant popstar caused him a crisis of faith.
    It takes audiences back to the day the Gloved One died on June 25, 2009, and shows them how it sent a former devotee into a tailspin.

    Jackson’s death stirs childhood memories in the film’s lead character Khaled, making him question what it means to be a man and being true to oneself.

    “This film is a turning of the page on so many obstacles in the road (in my life) in terms of identity and faith crises,” Salama said in an interview with AFP ahead of the film’s Friday premiere at the Toronto film festival.

    Although many older conservatives and orthodox Muslims in the Middle East may have despised Jackson during his lifetime as “a freak, the guy who changed his color,” Salama said he was wonderstruck when he first listened to his music.

    “He was a poor black kid who grew up to be one of the most famous people in the world, his music crossed borders,” he said.
    Salama recalled how the father of a friend who introduced him to Jackson’s music “gave him (the friend) hell for liking Michael Jackson.”

    “My own father was also not happy about me listening to Michael Jackson,” he added.

    Ignoring their disapproval, Salama said he read and learned everything he could find about Jackson, who influenced his clothes, his hair, and his world outlook (as suggested by song lyrics). Those are Salama’s feet doing the moonwalk in the film.
    Later in his twenties, however, “I became religious and overwhelmed by the guilt of not being good enough in the eyes of God,” he said.

    The film stars Ahmed Malek as a young Khaled who worships Jackson, from his Thriller-era haircut and moon walk to his Bad tour bondage pants.

    But he is eventually steered away from the Man in the Mirror by a macho father who fears his son becoming soft, and later by religious mentors who encourage him to preach to “those who dance to the music of the devil” to reject pop culture.
    An older Khaled, played by Ahmad El-Fishawi, is torn up inside. “I don’t want to be a hypocrite,” he says in the film.
    “For Muslims, to not walk the talk is a sin,” Salama explains.

    The writer-director said he hoped to reveal devout Muslims’ inner struggle, rather than criticize them as pretenders.
    The character Khaled, he notes, “wants to be devoted but he just can’t” because of his love of Jackson’s music.
    How does one juggle these contradictions? “I don’t have an answer for that,” Salama admits. “That’s the question that the film asks, more than answers.”

    “I think we just need to accept our contradictions and all ourselves,” he then offers.
    Thirty-five years after Jackson released “Thriller,” which went on to become the world’s bestselling album of all time, the Toronto film festival is also screening a digitally remastered version of John Landis’ original music video in 3D, as well as the documentary “The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.”

    Landis himself oversaw the frame-by-frame restoration of short film, with its legendary zombie dance sequence, and featuring Jackson as a walking dead and a werewolf.

    The original “Making Of” was conceived to help fund the production of “Thriller” and was shot simultaneously and debuted alongside the music video in 1983.

    It took audiences behind the scenes, showing them the movie making process from makeup to choreography to filming at a time when such glimpses were rare.

    “I can’t tell you how many filmmakers have told me that ‘The Making of Thriller’ was their first window into how movies are made and inspired them to become filmmakers themselves,” Landis said.
    http://www.arabnews.com/node/1160371/offbeat

  19. #14
    Points: 64,395, Level: 100
    Level completed: 0%, Points required for next Level: 0
    Overall activity: 13.0%
    Achievements:
    Three FriendsOverdriveVeteran50000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    15,732
    Points
    64,395
    Level
    100
    Thanks
    20,332
    Thanked 35,864 Times in 9,315 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    The death of Michael Jackson throws a strict Islamic imam into a crisis of faith in Amr Salama's Toronto world premiere, Egypt's official Oscar submission.

    Michael Jackson enjoyed an unusually intense cult following in the Arab world, his albums circulating like underground samizdat in regimes that banned western pop music. In later life, fleeing legal and financial problems at home, the troubled superstar briefly found sanctuary in the Gulf state of Bahrain, where he reportedly looked into converting to Islam. The singer's ghostly presence hangs heavy over Sheikh Jackson, an agreeably off-the-wall drama from Saudi-born Egyptian writer-director Amr Salama, which Egypt has chosen as its Academy Awards contender in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
    Salama, who previously won festival awards for Asmaa (2011) and Excuse My French (2014), uses playful juxtapositions and time-jumping plotlines to make serious points about compassion, generational friction and family dysfunction. Selected to close the Special Presentations section in Toronto later today, Sheikh Jackson is a culture-clash curio that hits a few duff notes, but never wants for quirky charm. The Jackson angle and Oscars connection should guarantee further festival bookings, with London and Rome already due to host screenings next month, boosting word-of-mouth buzz and modest theatrical potential on the wider global stage.


    One of the film's two interwoven timelines takes place in the city of Alexandria in 2009. A respected pillar of his community, conservative preacher Sheikh Khaled Hani (Ahmad Alfishawy) lives a joylessly strict life, even sleeping beneath his bed as a constant reminder that death is forever close at hand. Khaled insists that his wife wears a full veil in public, cajoling her with passive-aggressive pieties: "I love you because I know you love God more than you love me". On finding his daughter watching Beyonce videos online, he warns her against the sinful perils of "dirty dancing" and "diabolical music."
    But the shock news of Michael Jackson's death reveals a hidden side to the puritanical Sheikh. Flashing back to the early Nineties, we meet the young Khaled (Ahmed Malek ) when he was a huge fan of the pop superstar, mocked by his classmates for mimicking Jackson's hair and dance moves. His macho, domineering father (Maged El Kedwany) berates him for his love of the "drag queen" superstar too. But Khaled's very public musical passion also earns him female attention at school, where young love blossoms.


    Jackson's death leaves the adult Sheikh shaken, questioning his religious faith and life choices. It also throws up painful memories of his mother's death, his father's cruelty and his thwarted classroom romance. He begins to suffer nightmares and hallucinations, including spooky Shakespearean visitations from Jackson himself (played by professional MJ impersonator Carlo Riley) during prayer sessions at his mosque. Teetering on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he consults a psychotherapist and begins tracking down estranged figures from the past, hoping to achieve some kind of closure on his childhood traumas.


    Sheikh Jackson is a little too somber and straight-faced for its goofy premise, its protagonists often unsympathetic, its tone sometimes corny and melodramatic. But it is also an offbeat charmer that boldly sets up its bizarre conceit and runs with it. In one bravura sequence, the working rhythms of a car repair shop become a syncopated musical number. In another, Khaled gets lost in a feverish dream montage of scenes borrowed from Jackson's video canon, with key figures from his life playing the main roles. Considering each of the original videos probably had a budget larger than Salama's entire film, these visual homages inevitably lack the same blockbuster luster, but their ambition is admirable.


    The sole serious deficiency here is a total absence of any Michael Jackson music. Unable to license any original songs, Salama is forced to fall back on Hani Adel's pastiche score, a weak approximation of the late star's whooping, propulsive, high-gloss sound. Adel's music becomes particularly cloying during the finale, when Khaled lays the ghosts of the past to rest a little too glibly before moonwalking off into the sunset. The women are also too thinly drawn in this carnival of male angst, most of them Islamic Pixie Dream Girls with little agency or personality. But beyond these niggling flaws, Sheikh Jackson still emerges as an endearingly offbeat and humane parable about the liberating power of forgiveness, starting with yourself.
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/rev...review-1039340

  20. #15
    Points: 21,014, Level: 91
    Level completed: 33%, Points required for next Level: 336
    Overall activity: 55.0%
    Achievements:
    Veteran10000 Experience Points

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    2,214
    Points
    21,014
    Level
    91
    Thanks
    6,937
    Thanked 4,372 Times in 1,185 Posts

    Default Re: Sheikh Jackson (Egyptian Movie "Inspired" By MJ's Death)

    Worlds of Islam, Michael Jackson Collide in Egyptian Film
    http://www.billboard.com/articles/ne...an-film-sheikh
    9/23/2017 by Associated Press


    An Egyptian ultraconservative Muslim preacher hears on his car radio news of the death of Michael Jackson, the pop singer he idolized in his teens, and he becomes so distraught he crashes his car.

    The news of the passing of the King of Pop is the start of a crisis of conscience for Sheikh Khalid Hani, the main character of the movie Sheikh Jackson, Egypt’s first feature film to focus on the religious movement known as Salafis, followers of one of the strictest interpretations of Islam.

    It follows Sheikh Hani, a Salafi, as his love for Michael Jackson throws him onto a bumpy journey to discover his own identity, mirroring how Egypt’s conservative society is torn between its Islamic and Arab traditions and Western culture in an age when television, telecommunications and social media bring together people and cultures from all corners of the world.



    Michael Jackson photographed in 1987.

    Read More

    How Michael Jackson's 'Bad' Became the First Album To Notch Five Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s


    “I no longer cry while I am praying. That means my faith is faltering,” Hani confides to a female psychiatrist in one scene. Crying while praying, he explains, reflects his fear of God.

    The film goes beyond examining Salafis, says the director, Amr Salama. “It’s about humanity. ... It tells you that one’s identity is not a single dimension or an unchangeable thing,” he told The Associated Press just days before Sheikh Jackson premiered in the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month.

    It’s a journey Salama has some experience in: He was a huge Jackson fan in his teens and then became Salafi during his university years, before moving away from the movement.

    Salafism is one of the most closed, uncompromising visions of Islam. Its doctrine is primarily built around what its followers believe is emulation of the actions of the Prophet Muhammad. They are easily recognized by their chest-long beards and robes that reach to just below the knees. They shun music, film and dance and outside influences seen as decadent. Salafi women wear the all-covering niqab, including veils over their faces.

    Followers view life as little more than a transitional phase and are contemptuous of worldly pleasures. Immortality in heaven is their chief goal.

    When Hani goes to the psychiatrist -- who he thought by her ambiguous name was a man -- he asks her to put on a headscarf during their sessions. She refuses, and throughout their talk, he can’t look at her. When she asks him the last thing that made him feel alive, his response comes from Salafi doctrine: “I bought my shroud and wrote my will.” He occasionally sleeps under his bed, convinced that it is the closest thing to being inside a grave, thus a reminder of his mortality.

    But Jackson’s death revives in Hani the obsession with the singer he had in his teens, when he imitated the star’s look and dance moves. It earned him the nickname “Jackson,” but also the disapproval of his macho father.

    “He is effeminate,” the father says of Jackson. But Hani’s mother whispers to him, “He is the world’s best singer. But keep that as our little secret.” When the mother dies young, Hani’s father turns into a serial womanizer and becomes violent, beating Hani for imitating his idol.

    When the adult Hani discovers his own daughter -- around six or seven -- watching videos of Beyonce, he tears out the Wifi and denounces “dancing to the devil’s tune.”

    The film, which is to be released in Egyptian cinemas later this month and which Egypt has put forward as a candidate for a best foreign film Oscar nomination, goes into delicate territory.

    Thousands of Islamists have been jailed under the government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who was elected after leading the ouster from power of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 and who has faced a fierce militant insurgency. Depicting Islamists with even a hint of positivity can bring questions from authorities and security agencies.

    Still, while some Salafis have been jailed in the crackdown, the government has tolerated parts of the movement, in part because some Salafi political parties lined up behind el-Sissi after the Brotherhood’s ouster.

    Salafism has been the fastest growing Islamist movement in Egypt for the past decade, and it covers a spectrum. Some Salafis are relatively engaged with other parts of society, often as successful businessmen; some separate themselves to avoid sinful influences; others denounce society outright as “kafir,” or non-believing. A militant fringe embraces jihad against “infidels” and tyrants.



    Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1988.

    Read More

    Michael Jackson 'SCREAM' Collection Coming Sept. 29


    The film risks a backlash from the public, either by viewers who see as it as too sympathetic to Islamists or, from the other side, as mocking religious beliefs.

    “I have neither glorified nor dissed the Salafis,” Salama said. “They are just human beings like us.”

    That extends to depictions of Salafi family that almost never show up in films. Hani’s wife understands his turmoil after Jackson’s death. At one point, Hani tells her he loves her because she loves God more than she loves him.

    In a scene many parents could sympathize with, their young daughter watches her parents with disapproving bemusement as they drive her to school, joyously singing a religious hymn they heard on the day they met. Embarrassed, she asks her father to drop her off far from the school gate.

    The movie builds Salama’s reputation as a director willing to take on some of Egypt’s thorniest issues. His 2014 Excuse My French dealt with the forms of subtle discrimination that Egypt’s minority Christians face, while the 2011 Asmaa portrayed the social stigma endured by those who are HIV positive.

    Still, neither of the previous films was a box office hit, despite critical acclaim. Sheikh Jackson is unlikely to fare better in a country where comedies and action movies are the only sure winners.

    “Salama has the desire to be different and that’s why his movies are not a commercial success,” said film critic Magda Kheirallah. “But the important thing is for the director to save himself and not surrender to the logic of the marketplace.”

  21. The Following User Says Thank You to Annita For This Useful Post:


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •