Swedish/Egyptian director Tarik Saleh is in competitors in Cannes with “Boy From Heaven” his second movie to delve into the underbelly of recent Egypt — and the Arab world at massive — following his 2017 political thriller “The Nile Hilton Incident,” which depicted political energy abuse and police corruption. “Nile Hilton” received the grand jury prize at Sundance and was banned in Egypt.
In Saleh’s new probably explosive pic, the younger protagonist Adam, who’s the son of a small-town Egyptian fisherman, is obtainable the privilege of finding out on the Al-Azhar College in Cairo, which is the epicenter of energy of Sunni Islam. Shortly after his arrival in Cairo, the college’s highest-ranking non secular chief, the Grand Imam, instantly dies. This prompts Adam to change into a pawn in a ruthless energy battle between Egypt’s non secular and political elite.
Saleh spoke to Selection about how he navigated the thorny material of his daring new political drama. Edited excerpts beneath.
What drew you to make a movie that takes us contained in the world’s most important heart for Islamic theology for the primary time?
My grandfather went to Al-Azhar and I’ve all the time been fascinated by it. So after “Nile Hilton,” I used to be desirous about Al-Azhar, and about how little folks learn about Islam in a method that I feel is attention-grabbing.
Nicely you do it in a method that’s more likely to be explosive
After all, in the again of my head, after I was writing it, I used to be like: “Oh, can you actually say this? Are you able to discuss this? Are you able to do that?” However I made a decision to place that query in a field and simply say: “No, I’m going to go in.” So whereas I’m writing the script, it’s like I’m strolling round with the digital camera, and following my characters with the digital camera, and I see what they’re as much as, and generally they do what I would like; generally not. It’s lower than me. And because the story unfolds, I used to be like: “Holy shit, I ought to in all probability not make this movie.” As a result of it’s, such as you say, it might ruffle feathers.
In a nutshell, why will it ruffle feathers?
I feel that what’s extra delicate than the non secular points of this movie is how I cope with state safety. As a result of the stress between state safety and non secular energy [in Egypt] is gigantic.
Is there any likelihood the movie will play in Egypt?
I feel they’ll have just a few conferences earlier than they determine. However hear, I don’t assume it’s a controversial movie. My complete household is Muslim. And I’m a half-Swedish, half-Egyptian. Right here is the paradox. I like Egypt. It’s an unrequited love, after all. It doesn’t love me again. However I feel that the purpose is that I don’t like how Islam is portrayed by those that know nothing about it. I don’t prefer it when folks with dangerous intentions piss on Islam. I don’t assume it’s respectful. I don’t assume that’s the way you deal with different folks. I don’t prefer it when Muslims deal with minorities in Muslim nations badly. I feel that sucks. I feel that’s not the place I’m coming from.
What did you do to make it theologically correct?
I labored with imams, when it got here to the script. I attempted the script on imams and mentioned the theological arguments in it to ensure, as a result of it wasn’t my intention to impress. I see myself as a filmmaker who simply desires to inform tales honestly, and I feel that if the reality goes to be painful, which will probably be for some folks – but it surely’s extra for political causes than for non secular causes – then so be it.