Last year the PRRN blog mentioned a newly-released documentary on the Jews of Egypt, by film-maker Amir Ramses. Now, however, it seems that the film has been blocked by Egyptian security officials before it could go into general release. According to The Guardian:
Security agencies have banned an Egyptian film about the Arab nation’s once-thriving Jewish community just a day before it was due to open in cinemas, according to the documentary’s producer.
The Jews of Egypt examines the lives of the country’s estimated 65,000 Jews prior to their departure in the late 1950s due to Egypt’s conflict with Israel. Producer Haytham el-Khamissy said no reason had been given for the ban, which recalls the worst excesses of the famously censorial regime of former dictator Hosni Mubarak.
“There is no excuse for this except delay and obstruction,” said El-Khamissy in a post on the film’s Facebook page. “I announce the delay of the screening of Jews of Egypt until a solution is found for this inexplicable problem, inherited from long years in the parlours of the Egyptian state securities and which aim to terrorise thought and repress creativity.”
The film, which had already screened at a private film festival in Egypt last year, as well as at festivals in the US, was due to open today in three local cinemas. Based on testimony from researchers, political figures and exiled Egyptian Jews, it presents a harmonious vision of early 20th century multicultural Egypt and asks – according to director Amir Ramses – “how did the Jews of Egypt turn in the eyes of Egyptians from partners in the same country to enemies?” The film was banned by local censors, according to El-Khamissy, after a security agency made a request to view it.
The latest news can be found on the film’s official Facebook page.