Published on 12/16/2015
'THE BELLY DANCER AND THE POLITICIAN...WHICH ONE IS THE MORE CORRUPT?' [with ENGLISH SUBTITLES] is one of ARAB SCREEN'S MOST IMPORTANT FILMS looking at POLITICS, ART, RELIGION, MORALITY, PROSTITUTION and POLITICAL LIFE in HOSNI MUBARAK'S AMBIVALENT SEMI-SECULARIST MILITARY REGIME in 1980s EGYPT. It ...Read more
'THE BELLY DANCER AND THE POLITICIAN...WHICH ONE IS THE MORE CORRUPT?' [with ENGLISH SUBTITLES] is one of ARAB SCREEN'S MOST IMPORTANT FILMS looking at POLITICS, ART, RELIGION, MORALITY, PROSTITUTION and POLITICAL LIFE in HOSNI MUBARAK'S AMBIVALENT SEMI-SECULARIST MILITARY REGIME in 1980s EGYPT. It is BASED on the AWARD-WINNING NOVEL, 'AL RAQASA WE AL SIYASA' ['THE BELLY DANCER AND THE POLITICAN'] by EGYPTIAN WRITER IHSAN ABD ELKODOUS.
EGYPTIAN ACTRESS NABILA EBEID'S DEFINING and most DYNAMIC ROLE in ARABIC CINEMA portraying 'SONIA SALEEM', a FAMOUS HIGH CLASS CAIRO BELLY DANCER [possibly modeled on the life of contemporary EGYPTIAN BELLY DANCER: FIFI ABDOU?] and HIGH SOCIETY PROSTITUTE. Her ORIGIN is a CHILDHOOD of a POVERTY-STRICKEN ORPHAN whose DANCING SKILL, BEAUTY, SASSY PERSONALITY and MAN'S MAN HARD and ENDURING PERSONALITY.
The STORYLINE follows the RISE of the SONIA SALEEM after her RISE from POVERTY-STRICKEN LIFE to a WELL-TRAVELLED and SUCCESSFUL BELLY DANCER and COURTESAN for ARAB and EGYPTIAN RICH, including POLITICIANS.
The IRONY in the STORY is the SCHIZOPHRENIC RELATION of LEADING POLITICIAN with SONIA. It is NOT LOVE, but the usual ROLE of the COURTESAN to the POWERFUL MALE: COMFORT and CONFIDANT. We often see a STRANGE PARADOX in the MALE between his INTERNAL HIDDEN EMOTIONAL LIFE and the TOUGH EXTERIOR of his INTELLECTUAL STATUS and SURVIVAL that is PROJECTED in his CAREER and FAMILY LIFE. We see the HIGH STATUS MALE always PRETENDING for PROTECTION his STATUS. His FRIENDS and COLLEAGUES secure his POWER. His MARRIAGE and FAMILY are often CHOSEN by his HEAD, not his HEART. The SPOUSE is someone of the SAME FINANCIAL LEVEL and who APPEARS to be 'RESPECTABLE' to bear and bring up his CHILDREN. However, where is ADVENTURE and where is PASSION and LUST in all of this PERFECT PICTURE of 'HAPPY FAMILIES' and CELEBRITY CAREER... The COURTESAN. It appears this split between INTELLECT and EMOTION in the MALE sees the MAN seeking out the most 'UNSAVOURY' and 'UNRESPECTABLE' PEOPLE when he NEEDS to FEEL STRONG EMOTIONS of SEX? PEOPLE who he would NEVER be SEEN ASSOCIATING WITH in his NORMAL 'ROSY' LIFE...Indeed, it appears the MORE IMPROPER and SALACIOUS the BETTER seems to be the MOTTO for MANY [not all] MALES in SEXUAL NEED. However, once his LUST and EMOTIONS are SLAKED, he appears filled with REMORSE and SELF-LOATHING and NEVER TO DO IT AGAIN...UNTIL the NEXT TIME...SONIA SALEEM expresses this SENTIMENT in the FILM in the PHRASE, "We take money up front in this business because we find that people are not keen to hang about after the show".
The BELLY DANCER has this TEMPESTUOUS HIDDEN RELATIONSHIP with the POLITICIAN and he DUPLICITOUSLY CONCEALS his CONNECTION to SONIA SALEEM by using his PUBLIC OFFICE to CONSTANTLY HARRASS her with the POLICE for 'LEWD' COSTUMES and DANCING. This is BIOGRAPHICAL from the LIFE of dancer FIFI ABDU who DANCED for KINGS and MINISTERS, yet was JAILED once for THREE MONTHS for 'DEPRAVED MOVEMENTS'. Also, in PAKISTAN'S MUJRA DANCE SCENE, the COURTS constantly DISHED OUT actions to BAN HER from the THEATRES because of her, "Going off the script and inciting public decency". NARGIS would come back in the LAHORE NEWSPAPERS the next day saying, "I have friends in high places and I guarantee, I will be back in the theatre tomorrow..."...And she was!!
In 'AL RAQASA WE AL SIYASI' we also see the DANGEROUS EVENT of the DANCER SALEEM, on the BLOCKING of her PROJECT by the POLITICIAN for her to BUILD ORPHANAGES in CAIRO that REFLECT HER OWN LIFE EXPERIENCE, SONIA announces that she will PUBLISH HER MEMOIRS. MONARCHY, MINISTERS and all MEN ON HIGH are MORTIFIED as she may EXPOSE THEM. A FAMOUS DIALOGUE in the DESERT at a SECRET MEETING, NABILA EBEID produces a PERFORMANCE of a LIFETIME replying to the POLITICIAN'S DEMANDS that she NOT PUBLISH the AUTOBIOGRAPHY...Which she DISMISSES and WALKS OFF. This is a BRAVE but DAMNING MOVE. We are REMINDED of the FATE of MARYLIN MONROE and her MYSTERIOUS DEATH when she announced her similar MEMOIRS. In CAIRO RECENT MEMORY saw, TWO DECADES after 'THE BELLY DANCER and the POLITICIAN' the announcement by EGYPTIAN ACTRESS: SOAD HOSNY of PLANNED PUBLICATION from MEMOIRS. In 2001, SOAD HOSNY was found DEAD in the CAR PARK of a BLOCK of FLATS in LONDON after FALLING FIVE FLOORS. The DEATH was, allegedly, NEVER PROPERLY INVESTIGATED by METROPOLITAN POLICE or the EGYPTIAN GOV. SOAD had some TREATMENT for FACE PARALYSIS but not SUICIDAL apparently. One of HOSNY'S SLIPPERS was found in a SUSPICIOUS position in the SHOWER of the FLAT, suggesting that she had been DRAGGED from the BATHROOM and THROWN OVER the BALCONY. The TRUTH, like MARYLIN MONROE, will never be KNOWN. SOAD HOSNY had many relations and was thought to be INVOLVED with EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT of the time, HOSNI MUBARAK. An ENGLISH LANGUAGE DOCUMENTARY: 'SOAD HOSNY...WHAT KILLED HER?' INTERVIEWS CAIRO FILM INDUSTRY PUNDITS and her DOCTOR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEZJ963OMbA