After the announcement of the movie “The Atheist”, how did Egyptian cinema deal with the phenomenon of atheism?


“Al-Shahat” is the first Egyptian film to discuss the phenomenon

“The Atheist” fails cinematically in theaters in 2014

And Nour El Sherif, the owner of the largest share of films with 3 works

“The Atheist.” This is how director Mando El-Adl chose the title of his new movie, which he started shooting in the second collaboration between him and writer Ibrahim Issa after their first film, “The Owner of the Maqam.” New and discussed in a number of films, but none of them were spared the attack.

Atheist 2014

In 2014, under the banner “for adults only,” a movie with the same name “Atheist” was shown in light of the circumstances the region was going through at that time and a state of division in Arab societies, following the outbreak of many revolutions against the ruling regimes and protests across the Arab world that revealed the other side. From the current of political Islam, this resulted in a state of alienation from its companions, and satellite channels began discussing “atheism” as if it was a phenomenon that swept the Egyptian and Arab society.

I am an atheist..the divine system does not have any kind of credibility, nor justice or mercy..where is the god they are talking about?” , and considered it a “cinematic disaster” that encourages the dissemination of atheistic ideas, while another team saw that the film is a good step on the road and there should be other bold works that help raise awareness in our Arab societies.

Strangely enough, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif agreed to show the film, after making amendments to the text, and the censorship authority allowed the film to be shown without deleting any scenes. So his offer was approved.”

The events of the film revolve around the son of a famous Islamic preacher, who is heading towards atheism, and this matter raises the ire of his family and those close to him, given the religious environment in which he was raised, and the work deals with the issue of the spread of atheism in Egypt.

In the midst of all this attack, Mohamed Abdel Aziz, the hero of the movie “The Atheist”, stated that the film raises the alarm, and warns the presence of atheists in society, pointing out that the title of the film caused us a lot of criticism, considering that the film promotes the idea, which is not true, and that young people Those who turn to atheism do not have a clear thought and argument to defend their religion, and then being convinced of the ideas of atheists is easy.

The movie “The Atheist” failed to achieve any commercial success in the show window, and it was removed from the cinemas, as its total revenues did not exceed the barrier of 130 thousand pounds.. The film stars Sabry Abdel Moneim, Yasmine Gamal, Mohamed Hisham, and Mazen Moadam, directed by Nader Seif El-Din.

The cultural openness that began in the second half of the twentieth century, especially the ideas of social liberalism and intellectual pluralism, contributed to the call for freedom of thought and expression and the destruction of all taboos in Egyptian society. This was reflected in the writings of some writers. This is Ismail Adham, who presented his book “Why am I an atheist?” In 1937, the writer Muhammad Farid Wagdy responded with his book “Why is he an atheist?” In the midst of a rich cultural climate.

“Al-Shahat” is the first Egyptian film to deal with the phenomenon of atheism

All of this was reflected in the Egyptian cinema, which dealt with the phenomenon of atheism, and most of it came in the context of the character’s suffering from confusion until at the end of the events it reached the path of guidance and recourse to God. The film in 1973, starring the artist Mahmoud Morsi, and talks about the lawyer “Omar Al-Hamzawy” who belongs to the wealthy class and has existential concerns about the meaning of human life, the secret of the universe and belief in God, so he indulges in physical pleasures such as alcohol and women to search for meaning in his life.

Al-Hamzawi reaches the point of bartering his lover Warda with the owner of the cabaret in which she was working, in exchange for him answering his question: Does he believe in God or not? So that Omar Al-Hamzawi remains lost, not finding an answer to his question. In the end, he does not find the answer he seeks in bodily pleasures, so he decides to isolate and mysticism to find comfort and divine tranquility that brings him back to his family and social life again.

Nour El Sherif has the largest share of films with 3 works

Nour al-Sharif won the lion’s share of films that presented the atheist character on the cinema screen. He appeared in “The Enemy Brothers” (1974) in the character of Shawqi al-Armani, the atheist intellectual who professes his denial of the divine existence, after that; He appeared in “Meet There” (1976) in the character of Abbas Sultan, the young man who refuses his father’s religious guardianship to reach the rejection of divine guardianship, and then “Dancing with the Devil” (1993) in the character of a university professor returning from a study mission from the Soviet Union, loaded with materialistic and atheistic ideas.

enemies brothers

In 1974, Nour El-Sherif embodied one of his most controversial roles, when he presented the movie “The Enemy Brothers” about Dostoevsky’s masterpiece “Karamazov”, and prepared it for Egyptian cinema and wrote the script and dialogue for it, Rafiq Al-Sabban and Nabiha Lotfi, starring Yahya Shaheen, Hussein Fahmy, Nour El-Sharif, Mohy Ismail and Nadia Lotfi and Mervat Amin, Nour presented the role of “Shawki Al-Qarmani”, a young atheist who denies the existence of God, to enter into the ongoing family struggle to reach the certainty that God exists.

meet there

As for the movie “Meet There”, it was shown in 1976 about a story by Tharwat Abaaz, directed by Ahmed Diaa El-Din, with Zubaida Tharwat, Suhair Ramzy, Mohamed El-Saba, Fathia Shaheen, Ahmed El-Jazairly, and Zozo Shakib, co-starring. Between his thoughts and the desire to be free from the shackles of religions and his father’s strictness, and forcing him to perform religious rites, Abbas revolts against his father, who forced him to pray and fast, as he did not choose to turn his heart to God, but imposed religious duties on him that he performed under duress, even in rare moments when he touched the Qur’an. His heart asks about the name of the reciter faces sarcasm. However, at the end of the film, in a scene in which the life of his wife, Laila, is in danger, we see Abbas finally return to God by his free choice and not by imposition and coercion from others.

Dancing with the devil

The last cinematic work in which Nour al-Sharif embodied the character of an atheist is the movie “Dancing with the Devil”, which tells about a university professor returning from a study mission to study for a doctorate in the Soviet Union, and believes only in material and experimental science. A dialogue takes place between “Dr. Wasel” and his lover about science Religion in Arab societies, he says: “Leave it and reach the moon while we are still drowning in ignorance.” Hind replies: “Oh, but science has never controlled death and I do not control sustenance.” everything, even our fates.” She answers him: “By the will of our Lord.” He interrupts her by saying: “We are the owners of the will.”“.


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