Adonis Diaries

Shantytown gone: People exist in Movie pictures. Where is this Mafrouza?

Posted on: July 14, 2011

Shantytown gone: And Movie pictures stay. 

Where is this Mafrouza shantytown in Egypt?

Shantytown Mafrouza, in Alexandria (Egypt), by the Greco-Roman necropolis, is now long gone.

Luckily, between 1999 and 2003, Emmanuelle Demoris spent two years filming the shantytown and the daily living of these poor families.  The movie director Jean Gruault decided to produce the long 5 movies, two hours and a half long each!

Initially, the project of Emmanuelle Demoris was to capture the relationship between the living and the dead, and stumbled of the shantytown Mafrouza: How practical and handy for the subject.

Like the current reality TV series, the inhabitants in Mafrouza got used to the filming every day.  “She is filming you girl.  Is that why you are turning your back?” would say a woman.

The five long movies showed the inundations, wedding ceremonies, separations, baking of daily bread under the rain, amorous dates, daily routine of a shop, tentative of taking over a mosque by Moslem fundamentalists, resistance, births,…

Non-entity people, brothers and sisters, who learned to conquer their fears facing the monsters of video equipment that were taking pictures of the real living conditions…

Typical Mafrouza people:  Current events of “Arab Spring” revolts have uncovered these typical Mafrouza people, many who were filmed and no longer exist, vanished from the reality of the living, “gone with the wind”, still existing in movies they have never taken seriously, another dimension to their daily living…

Note 1: Mafrouza in the Arabic language means a Real Estate that is subdivided. The inhabitants of Mafrouza must have known that their shantytown is going to be demolished by the oligarchy in order to build luxury hotels with view to the sea.

Note 2: This article was inspired by a piece published in the French weekly Le Nouvel Obsevateur and written by critic Pascal Merigau

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