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Comic film re-enacted in Giza.

Summary: CAIRO -- Last Friday's nocturnal attack on the Israeli Embassy appears to have been a tragic re-enactment of the comic film El- Sefara fil Emara (The Embassy in the High-rise).

The box-office-hit movie, starring superstar Adel Emam, is a fly-on-the-wall fantasy about the difficulties facing residents living in the same building as the Israeli Embassy in Giza.

Capitalising on Egyptians' suspicions about Israel's sincerity about peace with its Arab neighbours, scriptwriter Youssef Maati brilliantly portrayed the Israeli Ambassador (Lotfi Labib) as an intimidating and imperturbable diplomat.

Reminding one of Israel's plans for expansion at the expense of its Arab and Palestinian neighbours, the Israeli Ambassador conspires to persuade or compel his neighbours in the building to leave their homes so he can enlarge his Embassy.

Although the Ambassador is pretty sure that the Egyptians don't want to normalise ties, he intrudes on his neighbours' social events, such as birthday and wedding parties.

When he catches his neighbours off their guard in the lift, he cordially bombards them with comments about how much he is longing for full normalisation with them.

Young people, enraged by the killing of five Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, went on the rampage on Friday: they stormed the Israeli Embassy, looting its official documents. Besieged in the Embassy, the real-life Israeli Ambassador and his diplomatic staff were rescued by Egyptian commandos and whisked off to Cairo Airport, from where they were

airlifted to Tel Aviv.

In the film, his neighbours try desperately to have him kicked out; it was the nation's youngsters who did this for real last Friday.

Emam is now capitalising on El-Sefara fil Emara to airbrush his shattered image. Despite his great popularity, he was condemned by the young revolutionaries for defending Hosni Mubarak.

Friday's attack on the Israeli Embassy has encouraged Emam's brother, film producer Essam, to help rebuild his image, by reminding the superstar's fans that he was a big anti- normalisation campaigner several years ago.

The two brothers, the film producer claims, deliberately made El-Sefara fil Emara to whip up Egyptian anger against Israel.

The superstar has been abused on Facebook for allegedly supporting Gamal Mubarak, younger son of the disgraced president, in his bid to inherit power.

Essam told the press that the vituperative attacks on his brother will be proved groundless when the superstar's new television serial is screened. He said Emam is spending six weeks in Lebanon, in order to complete the filming of the serial.

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Sep 14, 2011
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