Watching Egyptian movies, you’ll either find the plot revolving around a love interest, an intense action tussle, or all in all a tangible issue. El-Sheikh Jackson was one of the few that broke the taboo and went a little deeper with a journey in a trial to understand someone’s real identity-something we continuously try to find an answer to.
Amr Salama is known for movies like La Moakhza, Zay El Naharda and Asmaa. His wonted method of being both the writer and director to his movies was demolished this time when he was joined with Omar Khaled to co-write it with him. Salama described the movie as the closest to his heart since it simulated many of his earlier years as a teenager, but even that couldn’t stop numerous amount of people from altercating and throwing negative comments because of the self-restraints people had towards how the movie mentioned/viewed religion.
Although the movie mentions religion in more than one aspect, religion is not the main focus in here. It’s not the purpose to praise or disparage Muslims. The thing is, it’s only an imitation of someone’s inner dilemma without trying to prove any point whether with or against it. All you need to feel during the 90 minute journey is empathy towards the main character’s unbalanced actions, putting aside all your personal beliefs and doctrines. We’re quoting Salama’s words on his movie: “It’s about faith, identity, self-discovery, and embracing one’s contradictions.”
You’re literally inside of Jackson’s head, experiencing everything from his volatile perspective, so any action/notion/hallucination coming from him does not defy a fixed religious message from the movie. If there’s a message the movie is trying to demonstrate to the world; it’s finding your road to happiness and it’s through being true to oneself more than acting true to oneself.
We’re witnessing the birth of a new era of Egyptian movies, so let’s just appreciate this piece of art and not ruin it by overthinking hidden messages and conspiracy theories.