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Posted: 3/27/2006 2:41:01 PM EDT
In Egyptian Movies, Curses! We're the Heavies

By Daniel Williams
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 20, 2006; Page C01

CAIRO -- When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited this city last month, Egyptians had an unusual choice: watch her on TV as she expounded on issues of war and peace in the Middle East, or go to a neighborhood movie theater and see her portrayed by a look-alike actress belly-dancing and placed in "adult" situations.

The film in question is "The Night Baghdad Fell," which depicts Egyptian obsessions with war, sex and the United States. Wildly anti-American, it has done a brisk business for two months, a long screen life for Egyptian-made films. In "Night," Egyptians fret about an American invasion of Egypt and the potential destruction of their capital. Americans are bullies, rapists and mindless killers.

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Director Mohammed Amin's comedy "The Night Baghdad Fell" obsesses about war, sex and Americans. (By Daniel Williams -- The Washington Post)
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By the way, "The Night Baghdad Fell" is a comedy.

The film is only the latest bit of Egyptian pop culture to display deep unease about Americans. Beginning two years ago, Yanks emerged as bad guys on Cairo stages. In one play, "Messing With the Mind," the audience was ordered around by wild-eyed ushers dressed as Marines. In another, a Statue of Liberty was blown up in the lobby.

Ugly Americans began to emerge on-screen last year. In "Alexandria, New York," director Yusef Chahine rebuked U.S. attitudes toward Arabs. "No Problem, We're Getting Screwed," a black comedy, told the tale of an Egyptian who sends his son to Iraq to deliver mangoes and then must travel there to get him out of an American jail. Along the way, the father tumbles into the hole where Saddam Hussein was hiding, gets caught in insurgent crossfire, is arrested by the Americans and is taken to President Bush. Bush forces him to wear a beard and confess to bombing the American Embassy. Somehow, the Egyptian escapes, outwits his captors, sells his mangoes and gets his son back home.

Egyptians are not the only ones depicting villainous Americans on screen. "Valley of the Wolves: Iraq" debuted in Turkey last year and featured a Turkish hero who takes revenge on U.S. forces that detain Turkish troops in northern Iraq. The on-screen Americans shoot up civilians at a wedding, firebomb a mosque and carry out summary executions. Torture at Abu Ghraib prison makes a cameo appearance.

"These movies show that there is paranoia everywhere," says Nabil Shawkat, a humor columnist at the Daily Star newspaper. "In Egypt's case, the feeling of impotence in regards to the Americans is a common feeling."

Not everyone considers the anti-U.S. theme of "Night" valid. Many critics regarded it as sophomoric and a typical Egyptian effort to blame its problems on outsiders. A critic in the al-Ahram newspaper called it "a puerile comedy expressing the views of an enthusiastic teenager with little political knowledge."

Egypt is officially one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East. By and large, workaday Egyptians are solicitous toward visiting Americans and endlessly reassure them they are loved here. Americans-as-heavies are a departure in Egyptian film. In the distant past, British colonialists were targets of negative portrayals. Later, unlabeled foreigners appeared on-screen to exploit Egyptian wealth. Americans, if portrayed at all, were cast as unwitting victims of crafty Egyptian tour guides or as people with charming if incomprehensible customs, like wearing shorts in public.

One old satire, called "The Visit of Mr. President," portrayed a village mayor who was comically eager to show his enthusiasm for Anwar Sadat's friendship for the United States -- funny because the mayor is at a loss to explain how, only a few years before, the U.S. was Egypt's enemy. The movie was banned in Egypt for many years.

Israelis have been the most common screen menace, even in comedy. In a film last year called "The Embassy Is in the Building," an Egyptian emigre returns home, wants to engage in sexual affairs in his old apartment, but can't because Israel's embassy is next door. Missiles fly in through windows and security guards block the exits and entrances. All the neighbors have moved away. When the harried man sues the Israelis, he becomes a national hero.

In "Night," a schoolteacher tries to recruit a brilliant former student to create a weapon for use in case the Americans invade Egypt. The student is strung out on hashish, but partly because of his admiration for the teacher's radical peacenik daughter, he takes up the project. The teacher even arranges for the daughter to marry the boy. "Do it for the nation," he urges her.

The men in the film have sexual problems. The student fails to get aroused on his wedding night, fantasizes in bed about Rice and also about a Marine named Jack. The teacher and his friends are impotent. All these conundrums are resolved when wives and lovers await in bed while dressed up in U.S. desert fatigues.

Reports of U.S. atrocities in Iraq pile up and the Egyptians form a rag-tag militia to confront a possible invasion. When a test of the new defense weapon fails, the teacher has a nightmare about his daughter being raped at Abu Ghraib. Near "Night's" climax, an Egyptian who goes out to greet invading Americans is shot dead by a U.S. soldier.

"I felt that an event like the fall of Baghdad could not pass without some sort of comment," director Mohammed Amin says. "All we Arabs could do was sit and watch it on TV. So I decided to make a movie about impotence. That is what it is all about."

The film is Amin's second comic outing. Last year, he made "Cultural Film," which told the tale of a group of young Egyptians trying in vain to find a place where they could be alone to watch pornographic videos.

In "Night," he satirizes Egyptian life and politics, too, though not through the kind of shocking imagery he uses on the Americans. When the teacher wants to boost the morale of his militia, he produces a video of Egyptian achievement since the 1973 war with Israel. It is composed of a single goal in a soccer game in which Egypt tied its adversary. He approaches a general to ask about developing weapons, but the officer says military industry is engaged in producing umbrellas. An acquaintance says Egypt already possesses weapons of mass destruction -- he knows it's so because, once, the entire country suffered a blackout when all energy was diverted to enriching uranium.

The Condoleezza Rice fantasy sex scenes received a lot of negative commentary in Egypt, but Amin defends them on the grounds that a weak character naturally fantasizes about possessing someone more powerful. "The student hates U.S. officials, so he defeats them in bed in the form of Rice. Rice is always coming to Egypt to lecture us. It is like fantasizing about your sixth-grade teacher."

He insists he is not reflexively anti-American. His next project, he says, is a movie both about the horrors of Iraq but also the good some American doctors did recently in separating conjoined Egyptian twins. "I want to investigate how a country can do so much good and bad at the same time," he says.

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/19/AR2006031901037.html
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:42:14 PM EDT
Yeah and Egyptians are the bad guys in some of our movies. Why are you so surprised?
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 11:17:46 PM EDT
...
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 11:47:25 PM EDT
maybe it's because we don't provide them enough foreign aid...
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 12:02:29 AM EDT
Egypt: Third-World shithole sucking on the US tit, shamed for having their asses handed to them by Israel, and now entertaining evil sexual fantasies IRT US diplomats.

How do they reconcile this behavior? They shame themselves in front of both Allah and their own women.

<Red>
Dumbass!
</Red>
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 12:39:13 AM EDT


...which depicts Egyptian obsessions with war, sex and the United States. Wildly anti-American, it has done a brisk business for two months, a long screen life for Egyptian-made films. In "Night," Egyptians fret about an American invasion of Egypt and the potential destruction of their capital. Americans are bullies, rapists and mindless killers.




And Micheal Moore wins yet another oscar for best documentary.

Link Posted: 3/28/2006 12:44:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 12:46:36 AM EDT by buzgun]
Chuck Norris is the ANTI-CHRIST in Egypt !

rag-hed box office poison
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 2:57:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 3:03:13 AM EDT by smokycity]


Link Posted: 3/28/2006 3:02:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By smokycity:



It's a start.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 3:05:05 AM EDT
And for Dr. Frige:

Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:04:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 4:06:30 AM EDT by Da_Bunny]
I remember the good old days when we made movies like that. They were hilarious. The Brits made "Dr Strangelove" and "The Mouse that Roared." Awesome.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:23:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Copperhead16:
maybe it's because we don't provide them enough foreign aid...




Mo' money = mo' love......


Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:28:09 AM EDT
Americans are bad guys in American movies too. Usally white, heterosexual, christian, male Americans
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:36:45 AM EDT
Dirka Dirka Mohammed Jihad....

CUT !! PRINT !!

thats a wrap.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:04:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Copperhead16:
maybe it's because we don't provide them enough foreign aid...hr


Actually, with the exception of Israel, Egypt is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.
It is part of their "reward" for signing the Camp Cavid Peace accords. . .
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 8:57:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By kooterthegoat:

Originally Posted By Copperhead16:
maybe it's because we don't provide them enough foreign aid...



Actually, with the exception of Israel, Egypt is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.
It is part of their "reward" for signing the Camp Cavid Peace accords. . .



Whooooosh!
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 9:02:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By kooterthegoat:

Originally Posted By Copperhead16:
maybe it's because we don't provide them enough foreign aid...



Actually, with the exception of Israel, Egypt is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.
It is part of their "reward" for signing the Camp Cavid Peace accords. . .



Whooooosh!




ummmm, thanks, but I am quite aware of their historical status on our foreign aid recipient list... I was being a tad sarcastic, hence the ...
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 9:09:57 AM EDT
Oh teh noes!!!11!!
Some people don't see us as the greatest thing since sliced bread, and don't like what they see as us meddling in thier internal affairs.
How will I ever sleep at night?
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 9:12:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Copperhead16:

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By kooterthegoat:

Originally Posted By Copperhead16:
maybe it's because we don't provide them enough foreign aid...



Actually, with the exception of Israel, Egypt is the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid.
It is part of their "reward" for signing the Camp Cavid Peace accords. . .



Whooooosh!




ummmm, thanks, but I am quite aware of their historical status on our foreign aid recipient list... I was being a tad sarcastic, hence the ...



Yes, I know, hence the "Whooosh!" which meant that your sarcasm had gone "Whooosh!" over the head of kooter.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 9:15:32 AM EDT
And a lot of our filmmakers make fun of or make bad guys out of countries that aren't popular here. Just the way it is.

Why you bust my barrs Hans Brix?
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 9:16:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 9:18:12 AM EDT by Q3131A]

americans are the badguys in egyptian movies


And it seems in Hollywood movies too.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 10:33:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 10:33:56 AM EDT by gobbledog]

The men in the film have sexual problems. The student fails to get aroused on his wedding night, fantasizes in bed about Rice and also about a Marine named Jack. The teacher and his friends are impotent. All these conundrums are resolved when wives and lovers await in bed while dressed up in U.S. desert fatigues.

And they say art doesn't imitate life. I'm sure DCU's are the best selling sexy clothes at Fataima's Secrets.

P.S.
I didn't know Condoleza could belly dance. I'd buy that for a dollar. Shake it girl!
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 10:38:51 AM EDT
The sad thing is that these people will eat this shit up and believe all of it.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 10:45:19 AM EDT
When I was In China I was watching a movie at the local "theatre" and the movie was playing one of it's usual revolutionary propaganda epics.
It had a Chinese actor made to look like Harry Truman and holy crap did that movie make him look like a total fucking looney.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 11:16:23 AM EDT
uhh yeah, feeling a little stupid now. . . h.gif
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 11:53:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 95thFoot:

Originally Posted By Copperhead16:
maybe it's because we don't provide them enough foreign aid...




Mo' money = mo' love......





If I recall correctly, Egypt gets about $2 Billion/year from the USA.
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