By Osama Safar
CAIRO (AA) - A new movie, “Top Secret”, which purportedly depicts Egypt’s Jan. 25, 2011 uprising and its aftermath, has prompted controversy, with some critics describing it as “propaganda” for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
The film’s two main characters are al-Sisi, who came to power in a 2014 election, and Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, who was ousted in a military coup -- led by al-Sisi -- in mid-2013.
While a number of critics have described the film as “propaganda” for the al-Sisi regime, actor Ahmed al-Saka, who plays the role of al-Sisi, insists the movie portrays events objectively.
“The movie covers the period from Jan. 25, 2011 until the events of June 2013, one year before al-Sisi became president,” al-Saka said on Facebook.
In early July, 2013, the army ousted Morsi following mass demonstrations against his one-year-old administration. Morsi was then arrested amid a brutal crackdown on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, of which he was a leading member.
Critics of Morsi’s ouster describe his removal as an unconstitutional military coup; supporters, meanwhile, regard it as an army-backed “revolution”.
Al-Saka, for his part, defends his decision to portray al-Sisi in the film, who, he asserts, “saved the country” by removing its first-ever civilian leader.
The film, the actor claims, tells the story of “the failed attempt by foreign parties to divide Egypt”.
Egyptian film critic Amir al-Emari describes the movie as “unprecedented” in the history of Egyptian -- or international -- cinema, “as it portrays political figures who are still politically active today”.
“This movie is largely regarded as propaganda for the current regime,” al-Emari told Anadolu Agency.
“The events it depicts are still very recent; more time is needed to study their implications,” he added.
Tarek al-Shennawi, another Egyptian movie critic, has likewise pointed out that the phase of Egyptian political history portrayed in the film “hasn’t ended yet”.
“Top Secret” was written by screenwriter Waheed Hamed, who has penned screenplays for a number of politically controversial films, including one -- “The Innocent” -- that was banned for 20 years by military censors who claimed it divulged sensitive state secrets.
Hamed also wrote the script for a television series that purportedly told the history of the Muslim Brotherhood -- a series the group has described as "distorted and biased".
“Top Secret”, which is expected to hit cinemas this summer, will be the second film to portray Egypt’s 18-day uprising, which forced autocratic President Hosni Mubarak to step down after 30 years in power.
An earlier film, “18 days”, was released on the internet in 2017 after being banned from cinemas for nearly six years.