CAIRO: Youssef Chahine and Khaled Youssef’s “Heya Fawda? or “Is it Chaos? has succeeded not only in breaking the record of Chahine’s box office returns, but also in stirring political discussions in Egypt.
While some opposition writers view the film as a call for revolution, government allies interpret it as a call for chaos.
The movie touches upon current political controversies in Egypt such as the corruption in the ruling regime and torture in state prisons. It begins with real footage of Kefaya’s demonstrations in the first half of 2006 in solidarity with the judges’ demonstrations, who were protesting against parliamentary elections violations in 2005, and torture practices committed inside police stations.
“The movie deals with the mass chaos that surrounds Egyptians. It concludes that if things keep following the same pattern, the country is headed to disaster, Khaled Youssef said.
“Heya Fawda portrays the conflict between a corrupt governing apparatus – represented in a police station – on one side, and citizens allying themselves to judicial authority on the other.
“The message behind the movie is that the alliance between Egyptian people and judges, which appears in the love between Nour and the prosecutor, is the solution to overcome corruption and liberate Egypt, wrote Mokawma blog.
The film follows Nour, a 20-something school teacher, whose love for Sherif, a public prosecutor, stands in stark contrast to Hatem’s destructive love for her. Hatem, played by Khaled Saleh, is a low-ranking police officer, symbolizing an authoritarian and corrupt regime.
In the climax of the film, Bahia, Nour’s mother, leads a demonstration to protest Hatem’s crimes that have victimized her daughter. At the same time, Sherif tries to find evidence that incriminates Hatem.
“The movie deals with the conflict between security and justice, a relation which if destroyed, the law will stomped on by soldiers’ shoes . dismantling the society and chaos will hit everything, Adel Hammouda, editor of Al-Fagr weekly, quoted Chahine as saying,
Others had their reservations about the film’s message of imminent chaos. Abdullah Kamal, editor of Rose Al-Youssef daily newspaper, wrote, “the clear message of the movie is that it calls for chaos as a solution, which is summarized in the scene where people are storming the police station with no regard to its legal authority or gun fire.
“If they consider people’s [revolting] to obtain their rights and resist oppression chaos, then this is the kind of chaos we are calling for, Youssef said.
Responding to a question on whether the movie is calling for revolution, Youssef said “revolution indeed is the solution. Third world countries including Egypt are in need of leftist regimes that are able to achieve social justice.
“The movie as a work of art can’t play an inciting role against the regime as much as it reveals corruption, Tarek Al-Shennawy, movie critic, told Daily News Egypt.”There is a state of congestion in the society which can lead to a revolution more dangerous than what we have seen in the movie, the critic added.
“Unless the regime puts a peaceful and legitimate handing over of power among its priorities, the result would be far more violent that the movie anticipated.
The movie didn’t only highlight the violations committed by the ruling party during the 2005 election, but also surveyed opportunistic Muslim Brotherhood candidates. Meanwhile, the film suggested a leftist ideology as a solution.
Islamist writer Mohamed Mamdouh questioned the reasons behind the failure of the leftists’ struggle. He calls for leftists to study the alternatives they are presenting to Arab societies, which consider religion their top priority.
He added that “leftists did not succeed as did the religious movements, which presented solutions suitable for our societies, while leftist movements presented absolute freedom, and ideas that are frowned upon by many.