Al Jazeera Documentary | Behind every picture there is a story


“All living things that are domesticated like chickens can be described as poultry, even humans.”

This was the opening of the movie “The Originals”, written by novelist Ahmed Murad and directed by Wahid Hamed, a film that its author classified as science fiction, while many critics see it as one hundred percent realistic.

In the summer of 2017, cinemas showed the movie “The Originals”, and it did not achieve significant financial revenues at that time, but on the other hand, it issued local film awards in 2018 and in several festivals, which called on Al Jazeera satellite channel to sing a special episode of it from the program “Outside the Text”, and it hosts a group of From intellectuals and film critics to shed more light on this controversial film.

Protectors of the homeland.. Attractive job for a fired banker

The makers of the movie “The Originals” presented an idea that has not been discussed in this depth before in Arab cinema, and it revolves around the espionage and surveillance operations that peoples are subjected to, exposing political entities and giant companies that use technology to enter personal spaces that were not violated before, which sparked great controversy. Among critics and those interested in the film industry.

The story of the film talks about a bank employee who is fired from his job, and then he is exposed to a mysterious organization that calls itself the “Originals”, presenting themselves as the protectors of the homeland, and tempting him with a job consisting of monitoring certain people, so he discovers that all around him are monitored and controlled in some way from a certain side , then rebelled and separated from this ocean, at the open end of the film.

Political messages in the shadows of fantasy… the elitism of the film

Writer and critic Osama Al-Shazly believes that the film is a science fiction that contains a lot of fantasy, while film critic Magda Khairallah commented that the film is political par excellence, and it talks about the state that controls its grip on the citizen by spying on all the details of his life, and by all means to reformulate and reshape it.

The film “The Originals” wins several film awards

However, film critic Ahmed Al-Samahi stated that the film is political and full of ideas and calls for the mind to be operated with more culture, and that the citizen is domesticated as long as he is not armed with knowledge. As for the critic Ahmed Saad El-Din, he said: Films are often classified into three types: the first is elitist, the second is for the middle class, and the third is popular.

A text on everyone’s standards.. the intelligence of the writer and the censor

Contrary to what was expected, the censors did not clash with the film, although they were sensitive to any work that contained political criticism, albeit in a disguised way. The film was shown in its full version without the censor’s scissors being exposed to it, which raised many questions and speculations. But it is credited to the writer that he knew the limitations and frameworks that he should take into account when writing his texts.

On this point, film critic Muhammad Hegazy says: The writers of the text were not only smart, but the authority and censorship were also smart when they employed this text to serve their goals in making the audience always feel that they are under the control of the various state agencies.

The film contains many questions that are one of the most important tools of cinema, while the answer is often left to the audience.

“Rushdi”… a mysterious figure who represents the key to the organization

The secretive organization of the “indigenous” presents itself as the protectors of the homeland, and considers themselves above humans by virtue of their sensitive jobs and prestigious positions. Journalist Omar al-Shal says: If we want to bring down the “indigenous” on Egyptian society, they will be represented by several agencies or agencies, foremost of which are national security, intelligence and some companies. Sensitive devices that equip these devices with spying and surveillance technologies.

“Rushdi” is the mysterious character of the “Al-Aslil” organization, as he appears in various forms as a Sufi, a statesman, or a simple employee.

The mysterious “Rushdi” character represents the key to the “The Originals” organization, and he appears throughout the film in various forms, sometimes in the garb of a simple government employee, sometimes as a deep mystical cleric, or that influential figure in a sovereign apparatus. All these characters combined into one mysterious figure; “Rushdi Abaza”.

“No one is watching”… A phrase that summarizes the writer’s thoughts

Some critics believe that the film has nothing to do with the state, but rather goes beyond the narrow limits of talking about global capitalism. Ads and advertisements for everything that attracts his interest.

The film “The Originals” opened a complex discussion about the right of state agencies to spy on its citizens, what this monitoring is needed to protect societal security and what is a violation of privacy, and whether it is intended to pursue activists and opinion-holders only. All in all, the key phrase in the film was “No one is watching,” and it sums up everything the writer wants to say.

“No one is watching” .. is the summary of the original movie

Critics have varied opinions between a supporter of the idea of ​​surveillance altogether, and a total opponent, and those who believe that surveillance is only for those suspected of criminal activities that endanger the lives of others. But the consensus is that the film – and the state behind it – wanted to convey a message that everyone is being watched, and that this fact has become a general condition that society must accept and coexist with.

“Samir” .. an open ending for the hero of the film fleeing from the city

The film carried a set of political and religious ideas, so it employed folklore and the religious sanctuary, to control the segments of society by influential individuals and bodies in power, by exploiting the various weaknesses of individuals, and entering into their being, using those religious tools and societal legacies as tools of pressure, persuasion and change of ideas. .

The makers of “The Originals” chose an open ending, leaving the door open for viewers and critics to imagine the future of the relationship between employee Samir and Indigenous delegate Rushdie, and they raised a set of questions that may not have answers. But even in this part, not all critics accepted that the end was open, “Samir” chose to throw his mobile phone and leave the city to live outside the control of the “originals”.

Samir chose the temporary psychological safety stage, he wanted to live in peace outside the system of control, but in return he sacrificed all the devices and tools that will keep him in contact with his surrounding human society, and this in itself is an interesting argument for this being that God created socially, of course.

Trying to break free from the carrot and stick.. a message to the citizen

The film “The Originals” came between accusing its makers of colluding with the ruling authority and submitting to its will to besiege the society of citizens, suggesting to them that they are constantly being watched and without release from the clutches of the authority applied to them, and between welcoming this bold act that exposes to the citizen the tricks of power and the nets of technology companies, to keep him awake and warn him not to fall into her trap.

The hero of the movie “Samir” throws his mobile phone and leaves the city in an attempt to live away from the control of the “indigenous”.

In the end, the film wants to say that the citizen should not be a prisoner of what is presented to him from outside, but rather that he should work his mind and thought in everything that is presented to him, he must choose between what he must do and what he must avoid, and not submit For external influence against which he uses the weapons of persuasion and intimidation, or the policy of carrots and sticks.

It is not a condition that he follow the path of extremism, aggression and violent rebellion, but with awareness, tact and good behavior, a simple citizen can avoid the evil of authority, and distance himself from harming other fellow citizens on the pretext that he is one of the “original” protectors of the homeland.

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