five years in the making nasser offers a portrait of a modern egyptian pharaoh
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Five years in the making, Nasser offers a portrait of a modern Egyptian pharaoh

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Five years in the making, Nasser offers a portrait of a modern Egyptian pharaoh

The documentary Nasser is about Gamal Abdel Nasser,
Cairo - Arab Today

Start a quote from her documentary and Jihan El-Tahri will finish it. Name a scene in her film and she can give you the time code.
"I know I might look like a bit of a freak," the writer, director, producer and narrator of Nasser says.
Spending five years collecting all manner of facts, footage and photographs for a trilogy of films about former Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak – Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs – will do that to a person. And El-Tahri is nothing if not exhaustive.
To add visual texture to her trilogy, she wanted footage from feature films of the 1960s and 1970s. She purchased pirated DVDs, bartered with the bureaucracy at Cairo’s High Cinema Institute, and even tracked down the children of deceased directors to obtain the rights to their works.
Belatedly, she discovered many of the 370 films were on YouTube.
"There were moments where I was thinking: ‘Why the hell did I do this to myself?’" she says. "It was quite a chore, and there were moments when I wished I hadn’t come up with this idea. But I think the clips say more than I could possibly say in a [traditional] documentary." Nasser, the first film in the trilogy, looks at the successes and failures of the man known in the Arab world as Al Za’im.
The 97-minute film, which had its international premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last Tuesday, includes interviews with first-hand eyewitnesses including Abdel Rahman Farid, one of the Free Officers who helped overthrow King Farouk I in 1952. But El-Tahri is no hagiographer – the career highlights of the Durban-based daughter of an Egyptian diplomat include working with an Israeli historian on the 1999 TV documentary The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs and 2004’s House of Saud, a balanced look at Saudi Arabia’s ruling family.
The impetus for Nasser was the 2011 uprising in Cairo. One of the placards at Tahrir Square – "Bread, Freedom and Social Justice" – stirred something in El-Tahri. She went to the archives and dug out a photograph from 1951 – a year before the Egyptian Revolution that contained a placard with the same slogan.
"This whole misconception of what the Arab Spring is about and how it blew up in everybody’s face is precisely because we don’t understand these details," she says. "It’s precisely because no one has taken the trouble to look at what’s actually happening there. This whole battle over democracy or military rule, between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood, is still the same story today."
The most telling moment of Nasser might be at the end. Throughout the film, Al Ahram journalist and former student-leader, Awatef Abdel Rahman, speaks critically of the second Egyptian president’s descent into dictatorship.
But upon hearing of his death in 1970, she says: "I never mourned anybody, including my mother and father, as much as I mourned Nasser."

Source : The National

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five years in the making nasser offers a portrait of a modern egyptian pharaoh five years in the making nasser offers a portrait of a modern egyptian pharaoh

 



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five years in the making nasser offers a portrait of a modern egyptian pharaoh five years in the making nasser offers a portrait of a modern egyptian pharaoh

 



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