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A Remarkable Film - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Cinema has undeniably become one of the most important elements and methods of cultural and economic influence and there are many places all over the world that confirm that. Hollywood is well known and its influence is evident the world over; the same applies to Bollywood, the Indian film industry. There is also South Korea that is considered the heart of cinema in Southeast Asia.

On the Arab level, Cairo was traditionally the core of the film industry however it has suffered a severe relapse. After the introduction of the private sector regarding the process of film production, Egyptian cinema witnessed an important state of mobility in recent years that relies upon the story, courage and extravagance of production so as to present the best and most modern means of technology.

At the moment, one of the most important films in the history of Arabic cinema is being shown in Egypt. In a strong and influential way, the film, “Heen Maysara” focuses on the slums of Cairo and links the issues of corruption, poverty, tyranny, prostitution and drugs in an unprecedented manner. The film elaborates upon the fact that the phenomenon of slums (which emerged during the era of Jamal Abdel Nasser when Cairo was surrounded by immigrant workers who came from different Egyptian villages and lived on the outskirts of the city) grew vigorously in an unsupervised manner that is not subject to the authority of the state nor to the rules of religion or conscience. Therefore anything goes!

According to reality, and to what this film had highlighted, the truth is that these slums have come to resemble an explosive belt around Cairo that is awaiting its chance to blow. This is a frightening and dangerous scenario; what applies to Cairo may apply to other Arab cities where the same phenomenon exists. There are areas that security forces cannot enter and cannot deal with their inhabitants; these areas have their own set of laws, systems and regulations that are different from the rest of the country. The film is cruel and depressing yet it is pragmatic, realistic and honest and this was the secret behind its extraordinary and sudden success.

Any official with a conscience who has watched this film would not be able to sleep at night.

“Heen Maysara” is one of the most significant films to emerge from the Arab film industry for years. It is a two hour thesis about the economic status of the society and its failure, and how part of society could transform into a time bomb that is ready to explode.

The film industry may be used as a tool for reform and spreading awareness and “Heen Maysara” is proof of that. Furthermore, it confutes the absurdity of some who call for banning such tools of entertainment and development.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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