‘Jews of Egypt’ film to be released in Egypt

Amir Ramses, director of the film ‘Jews of Egypt’

The film ‘Jews of Egypt’ is about to be released – in Egypt. I would guess that the Muslim Brotherhood will be there outside the cinemas, demonstrating against ‘normalisation’ with Israel – or in the worse case scenario, attempting to lynch its director, Amir Ramses. For as Sarah Alcamel wrily remarks in this interview in Ahram Online with Ramses,  it is hard to believe that Muslims lived in peace with fellow Muslims in Egypt’s recent history, let alone with Christians and Jews.

On a quest to discover how Egyptian Jews went from partners to enemies
within the span of a few decades, Egyptian filmmaker Amir Ramses spent
three years researching and shooting a documentary that presents a
valuable insight into the nostalgia that haunts the exiled Jewish
community. In an interview with Ahram Online, Ramses shares his
motivations for tackling this controversial part of history in his
latest film.

The filmmaker explains that it all began with an overbearing question –
a reflection – over the ingredients that comprise the Egyptian
identity. “Like any Egyptian living here within the past ten years, I
have been consumed with the quest for defining Egyptian identity,” says
Ramses.

In light of the current deluge of socio-political conflict and
intolerance, it is hard to believe that Muslims lived in peace with
fellow Muslims in Egypt’s recent history, let alone with Christians and
Jews. Ramses was compelled to make his film to understand the
transforming fabric of Egyptian society, and was driven by the question:
‘In the eyes of Egyptians, how did the Jews of Egypt go from
compatriots to enemies?’

Scheduled to be screened in movie theatres across Cairo in the first
week of March, the documentary zooms in on the lives of the Egyptian
Jewish community in the first half of the twentieth century, and the key
events that shaped their lives: the birth of the state of Israel in
1948; Egypt’s 1952 Revolution, which ended the British occupation; and
the tripartite attack of 1956, which forced them into exile.

The multi-layered documentary reminds audiences of the influence of
Egyptian Jews in various sectors during the first half of the twentieth
century, including the art scene – in which Jews such as Laila Mourad,
Mounir Mourad and Togo Mizrahi thrived – and the business industry, in
which Joseph Cicurel owned a series of major department stores.

Both a historical and personal account, the film weaves testimonials by
figures such as Mohamed Abu El-Ghar, author of ‘Jews of Egypt: From
Prosperity to Diaspora’; sociologist Essam Fawzi; and a Muslim
Brotherhood member who participated in the 1947 attack on Jewish shops;
together with nostalgic accounts by exiled men and women, mostly
residing in Paris.

Along with presenting an account of the lives of politically engaged
communists who participated in founding liberal, anti-imperialist
movements in Egypt – including a snapshot of famed left-wing political
activist and co-founder of the Democratic Movement for National
Liberation Henry Curiel (a character who deeply intrigues Ramses) – the
film also poignantly presents the candid, heartrending stories of Elie,
Andre, Gerard and Isabelle, who were yanked out of their beloved Egypt.

Read article in full 

Update: Khaiber, a Qatari film is being made about Jews defeated by Muhammed (Jerusalem Post)

Jews of Egypt film causes uproar

2 Comments

  • One mmore word about Egyptians:
    They are vampires who sucked out blood and sent us packing all over the globe. It is something I personally cannot forget or forgive!
    sultana

    Reply
  • It"s what we can define as "un sujet en or!"
    Of course they want to talk about us! Where and when will they find a better subject?
    But I do not trust any other than an Egyptian Jew to write about what we went through.It is bound to be biased.
    My grandad and uncles lost their Egyptian nationality after the rebirth of the State of Israel.
    The Swiss accepted those who had fortunes, the French those who had a French nationality and likewise the English.
    Only Americans showed humanity and accepted Jews.

    when we were among the poorest of the poor in Milan: who do you think sent us cans of cheese? Not the French or the English or the Swiss.Only Amricans, that's who.
    sultana

    Reply

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