Egyptian filmmaker Atef Hatata is set to direct a romance/political drama set against the backdrop of the real-life production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida at the 3,500-year-old Pharaonic Temple in Luxor (Egypt) in 1987, titled The Exile, which Cairo-based Zad Communication is producing, in its first international co-production, teaming with Paris-based Mact Productions on the project.
The reportedly $2.2 million project will “explore suppression and political corruption under the rule of deposed President Hosni Mubarak through the tale of a female French ceramics expert who goes to Egypt to study the work of a traditional master craftsman.”
As if that weren’t intriguing enough, the film will comprise of several sub-plots, including “the woman’s affair with a local police officer and religious tensions between Christians and Muslims” in Egypt.
Egyptian actor Amr Waked will play the police officer, with casting underway for the female French lead.
“The film will show how Mubarak suppressed the religious tensions of the time to ensure that nothing would upset the production of Aida… it’s a way of examining his actions during his reign,” said Salah Al-Hanafy of co-producer Zad Communication.
This will be Zad Communication’s 2nd feature-length film; its first was the critically acclaimed Winter of Discontent, which captured the events leading up to the Egyptian revolution in 2011, which led to the ousting of the aforementioned then president Mubarak, who served as the 4th president of Egypt from 1981 to 2011, and sentenced to life imprisonment by an Egyptian court.