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Nasser: Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs - Let my people go

BY: DANICA HANSEN

Nasser: Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs is the first of three instalments by Jihan El Tahri. The Documentary film unravels the mystery behind the Egyptian Revolution, with exactitude and endearment.

Beginning with Egypt’s 1952 revolt against the monarchy, the film documents the rise of the renowned, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who led the revolution. It is a patchwork of archival footage and interviews within which feature film footage makes a glamorous appearance. Narrated in English by El Tahri herself, the film unfolds as she retells the story as she heard it; revealing why Nasser was a modern-day Pharaoh.

The result is seamless, though, El Tahri says that the 5 year project will “never be complete”. The 93 minute film was meticulously cut from an initial 7 hour affair. Gathering information was an arduous task as archives are not open to the public in Egypt, and many of her interviewees were in an out of jail, leaving her with a “musical chairs” dance, says El Tahri.

Being a South African-Egyptian, El Tahri felt she had a unique stance as documentarian, in that she was separate from the events, having lived part of her life outside of Egypt, yet had an innate sense of understanding which was almost in her DNA.  Audience responses were favourable, and one film goer commented, “At last I understand”.

Nasser doesn’t push the boundaries of modern film-making, but it’s a thorough, well-made documentary with a loveable quirk which audiences will enjoy. El Tahri’s film is a remarkable tribute to this intangible thread- time.

 

 

The 36th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (a special project of the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Humanities, Cheryl Potgieter) with support from the National Film and Video Foundation, , KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, City of Durban, German Embassy, Goethe Institut, Industrial Development Corporation, Gauteng Film Commission, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture and a range of other valued partners.

 

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