The San Diego Arab Film Festival is a project of KARAMA

Mawlana

Title in English:  The Preacher

Director:  Magdy Ahmed Aly

Country:  Egypt

Year:  2016

Duration:  130 min.

Language:  Arabic with English subtitles

Awards:  Best Film, Luxor African Film Festival, 2017; Best Actor, Tetouan International Film Festival (Morocco), 2017; Circle Award, Washington, D.C., Film Festival, 2017

 

A seemingly traditional journey of a young sheikh in a governmental mosque who moves from leading prayers to becoming a TV celebrity issuing “fatwas” that are accepted by millions who have become fans of his as a result of his courage and his attempts to deviate from the usual religious rhetoric in a society heavily influenced by fundamentalism. The TV spotlight only shows his eloquent yet sarcastic answers he gives to the callers in a preset scenario, while in the dark and cloudy space around him, bloody struggles for power are raging, struggles he had always tried to avoid. But as Hatem continues his rise, the more he finds temptations and the less he has chances of salvation. Sheikh Hatem finds himself caught in a complex network of conflict, between the partial loss of a son being treated abroad and a wife whose love has grown cold, and security institutions trying to control him and-using his vulnerabilities-exploiting him to serve their interests. Meanwhile, a sovereign entity entangles him in solving a problem for the president, whose son causes the family an embarrassment of such a fragile society can’t handle. “I cannot tell the entire truth, but I do my very best to speak nothing else.” This is what Sheikh Hatem tries to do. Will he be able to create even a small fracture in a thick wall of hypocrisy and fear?

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