Photo of the movie poster Photo file    Photo of the movie poster Photo file

‘Sheikh Jackson' film criticized for not using original Jackson music

Wed, Sep. 27, 2017
CAIRO - 27 September 2017: Egyptian music composer Hani Adel made covers for the soundtrack for "Sheikh Jackson" because they were unable to obtain Michael Jackson music copyrights.

"Sheikh Jackson" depicts the life journey of Khaled, a young conservative imam who was a fan of the pop star Michael Jackson. Dudo, Doda and Jackson were the nicknames of the conservative sheikh during his childhood. He then witnesses a shift from the character of a free-spirited fan of pop music to the strict life of a sheikh. Obsessed with Jackson, Khaled's faith was shaken due to the sudden death of his beloved pop star.

Directed by Amr Salama, the movie comes as a challenge, being filmed in a religious conservative country. Speaking of hardships the filmmakers have met, composer Hani Adel faced one of the difficulties trying to set the movie’s soundtrack. Unable to obtain the intellectual property copyrights, Adel could not use Michael Jackson songs as a background, which would have harmonized with the changes in Khaled's character. Adel covered for the soundtrack by composing his version of music, which critics have found incompatible to the movie content. He resorted to this solution as the only alternative to the original music, although it has slightly weakened the movie quality according to critics.

Being the opening movie for the ongoing "El Gouna Film Festival" in its first edition, the movie also priemered in Toronto Film Festival and will be screened in the 61st London Film Festival, scheduled to kick off on October 4.

The movie’s director, Amr Salama, said, “The story of the movie is personal and deep, as I am narrating a very private story.” Khaled, played by Ahmed El Fishawy, witnessed a turning point triggered by the pop star's sudden death. The young imam starts to feel nostalgia for the good old days. The movie events reach a climax when Khaled sees Jackson’s ghost during the establishment of congregational prayer in the mosque, and the imam starts vehemently and unconsciously hitting a man he thinks to be Michael Jackson.

Khaled's strong relationship with a Salafi reflects the contradictions in his life. Upon Jackson’s death, when the student has grown older to become an imam, he goes on an inner Sufi quest to seek answers to his existential questions.

“Sheikh Jackson” screened in Egypt for the first time in Port Said Cultural Center Cinema on September 23 for one week, and it will be shown in Cairo Cinema theaters by October 4.
 
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