CAIRO: A leading Egyptian director is preparing to produce a movie about the rise of Al-Qaeda, and he promises to pull no punches in what would probably be the first Arab film about the militant group.
Adel Adeeb, head of the Cairo-based film production company Good News for Film and Music, said the movie would be the first of six pictures that the firm plans to co-produce with Western funding. He hopes to start scripting it in April. We believe it takes two to tango – you cannot just blame all the Arabs for all of this or blame all the Americans, Adeeb said in an interview. We need to understand from both worlds what really happened, what we suffered from this and what we can gain, he told Reuters. The story is about an American reporter who is contacted by Al-Qaeda, both Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahri, to make a film about their lives, Adeeb said, referring to the leader and deputy of the group that claimed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. We have bits and pieces of a picture of Al-Qaeda since Sept. 11, but we need to see the whole picture, said Adeeb. Good News last year produced The Yacoubian Building , a film based on the best-selling novel by Egypt s Alaa El-Aswany which dealt with social taboos and featured a frank portrayal of government corruption, police torture and homosexuality. The film was one of the highest-grossing ever made in the region, although it was intended for audiences not only in the Arab world but also in Europe and North America so that different cultures could learn about each other, Adeeb said. It is ridiculous in 2007 how Arabs, Europeans and Americans see each other – porno movies, money, guns and power versus veiled women, terrorists and a camel, said the filmmaker. Other movies on the company s production slate include a biopic of the founder of modern Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, and the first Arab celluloid version of Sinbad the Sailor. Sinbad is Arab, and no one from the Arab world has dared produce a film about it, said Adeeb. There will be both an English and Arabic version of the film.
Amr Diab, a successful Egyptian pop singer, will take on the title role in the film, which would mark the start of the first film franchise in the Arab world, he said. Egypt’s cinematic heyday was from the 1940s to the 1960s with actor Omar Sharif enjoying global fame, but a slump set in the 1970s. Only recently has Egypt s movie industry begun to recover, according to Adeeb. We have great technicians and artists, but they don t know how to market themselves. Our company is helping to change that, he said.