Monday, April 1, 2013

Movie Review: Jews of Egypt, by Amir Ramses

So, I went to see the new film "Jews of Egypt" last night. It came out recently after a local and international row related to censorship. Finally, the ban was reversed, and the movie was allowed to be shown in only two high-end cinemas for only 6 days.

This FP article sums up the movie for those who want to know more about it or can't see it in cinemas.

Jews of Egypt was a decent movie. I would give it 2.5 /4 stars. Mainly, it was good because it's a pioneer in its genre and addresses a topic that very few people ever talk about openly.

However, as a documentary, objectively, it isn't very good. One film-maker amateur friend of mine even said it wasn't professional. Certainly, had a bigger production company been involved in its making, it would have edited out certain interviews and testimonies which added very little to the film's quality. This might have made it tighter and more cohesive. It's like they took the appendix of a book and stuck the whole of it in the body.

One other comment/critique is that it focused too much on the political and individual aspects at the time. Too much focus was placed on details related to Egyptian Jews feeling very patriotic and the efforts they made to stay in Egypt. Perhaps more focus could have been placed on the particular cultural and religious heritage which made Egyptian Jews special. After all, Jews had been living in Egypt for millennia, and I'm certain that middle class Jews had rich traditions that made them different from other Jews. Instead, it only focused on the higher-class Jews who all fled to France. This painted a very rosy, cosmopolitan, global picture that might be lacking vis-a-vis more middle or lower class Jews.

I would recommend seeing this movie if you're living in Egypt ( in cinemas, just for the trill), or feel particularly touched by this subject. If not, pass, watch "Life of Pi" instead. haha.

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