The Sheik and I

Synopsis: Commissioned by a Middle Eastern Biennial to make a film on the theme of "art as a subversive act," independent filmmaker Caveh Zahedi (I AM A SEX ADDICT) goes overboard. Told that he can do whatever he wants except make fun of the Sheik, who rules the country and finances the Biennial, Zahedi decides to do just that. He turns his camera on the Biennial itself and gleefully presses every culturally sensitive button he can find. But his court jester antics fails to amuse. Zahedi's film is banned for blasphemy and he is threatened with a fatwa.
Director(s): Caveh Zahedi
Production: Factory25
  2 nominations.
 
IMDB:
5.9
Metacritic:
51
Rotten Tomatoes:
80%
Year:
2012
104 min
Website
4 Views

OKAY.

[CHILD]

I'M WORKING, BECKETT.

[CHATTERING]

UH-OH.

[MAN] WHAT HAPPENED?

IS THAT WHAT YOU SAID?

[CHATTERING, LAUGHING]

IS THIS A BETTER SHIRT?

[MAN] YEAH.

THIS IS BETTER,

RIGHT? THE RED SHIRT?

[MAN]

I THINK IT'S--

YEAH WELL, IT'S VERY CRAMPED--

OOH, THAT IS BETTER, ACTUALLY.

IT'S A LOT BETTER?

YEAH, THAT LOOKS NICE,

ON THE SCREEN.

SHOULD I TRY THE...?

A LITTLE AGGRESSIVE MAYBE.

AGGRESSIVE?

NO, THAT'S GOOD.

SHOULD I DO BLACK?

NO.

OH, YEAH.

THAT'S WORSE RIGHT?

NO. OH.

NO.

IT'S NOT BAD.

[MAN]

REALLY?

YOU LIKE THAT?

THERE'S JUST SOMETHING

VERY UNASSUMING ABOUT IT.

THE BLUE IS MORE LIKE,

HEY, I'M JUST A RELAXED PERSON.

THIS IS MORE LIKE

I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY.

YEAH.

SO I GOT THIS E-MAIL,

AND IT WAS FROM:

A CURATOR IN BEIRU

WHO WAS ASKING ME

TO MAKE A FILM:

FOR THE SHARJAH BIENNIAL,

WHICH I HAD NEVER

HEARD OF BEFORE.

WELL, I LOOKED IT UP,

AND IT'S AN EMIRATE

IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.

THAT'S WHAT IT IS.

IT'S RULED BY THIS GUY...

THIS GUY.

UM, AND...

IT SOUNDED--

SHE WAS VERY NICE.

SHE SAID REALLY NICE THINGS.

SHE SAID SHE HAD ACTUALLY

EMAILED ME BEFORE

ABOUT SHOWING MY PREVIOUS

FILM, WHICH IS CALLED

I AM A SEX ADDICT,

AT SOME MIDDLE EASTERN FESTIVAL

OR SOMETHING, AND IT DIDN' WORK OUT FOR SOME REASON.

BUT SO, ANYWAY, THERE

WAS A LETTER THAT HAD THESE

GUIDELINES THAT WERE VERY--

REALLY STRANGE.

PLOT FOR A BIENNIAL

WILL CONSIDER THE PRODUCTION

OF ART AS A:

SUBVERSIVE ACT.

THE VERY QUESTION WAS,

CAN ART BE SUBVERSIVE

AND CAN YOU MAKE

A CULTURAL EVEN FROM WITHIN

AN INSTITUTION,

A STATE INSTITUTION,

AND HAVE IT BE:

TRULY SUBVERSIVE.

AND IT WAS BASICALLY,

YOU KNOW, LIKE,

THEY CALL IT "ART SPEAK,"

YOU KNOW, LIKE IT DOESN' MAKE ANY SENSE.

THIS PLOT PROPOSES TO PLACE

THE ARTIST WITHIN A WEB

OF ETYMOLOGICAL TRACINGS

THAT INTERSEC THE NOTION OF TREASON.

THE KEYWORDS:

THAT WE HAD IDENTIFIED

WERE ALONG THE LINES OF

TREASON,

COLLABORATION AND CONSPIRACY.

SO I WAS TRYING TO THINK

OF AN IDEA THAT, YOU KNOW,

HAD TO DO WITH TREASON OR AR AS A SUBVERSIVE ACT,

AND THOUGH:

MAYBE LIKE KIDNAPPERS,

OR TRYING TO OVERTHROW

THE GOVERNMENT.

AND MAYBE LIKE I WOULD WRITE

SOME FICTIONAL STORY

ABOUT THIS BU:

LIKE AN ACTION:

THING KIND OF LIKE A,

YOU KNOW, LIKE A

STUPID ACTION MOVIE

ABOUT TREASON IN THE

MIDDLE EAST OR SOMETHING.

AND I THOUGHT, "OKAY,

THAT COULD BE KIND OF HARD."

IT'S UNLIKELY THAT I WOULD TURN OUT VERY WELL.

SO THEN I HAD AN IDEA,

WHICH WAS,

"WELL WHY DON'T YOU MAKE A FILM

ABOUT TRYING TO MAKE A FILM?"

AND THEN YOU COULD JUS FILM YOURSELF...

ACTION!

TRYING TO MAKE THE FILM

AND THAT WOULD BE A FILM.

BUT SO, ANYWAY,

I CALLED RASHA ON SKYPE,

AND I REALLY WISH

I HAD RECORDED THAT CALL,

BUT I DIDN'T THINK OF IT.

I SAID, "ARE THERE

ANY CONSTRAINTS," LIKE

"THAT I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?"

AND SHE SAID, "NO,

YOU'RE TOTALLY FREE

TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT."

THE REASON WE PICKED

YOU IS BECAUSE WE LIKE

YOUR WORK AND WE REALLY

WANT TO SEE WHAT YOU DO.

WE THINK IT WOULD BE

REALLY INTERESTING JUST TO

SEE WHAT YOU DO.

SO I DIDN'T BELIEVE IT.

LIKE, "REALLY?

NO CONSTRAINTS AT ALL?"

SO I SAID, YOU KNOW, "REALLY?"

AND SHE SAID, "YEAH, REALLY.

THERE'S NO CONSTRAINTS AT ALL."

AND I PRESSED HER BECAUSE I

I JUST DIDN'

A PART OF ME DIDN'T TRUST HER

AND I REALLY WANTED TO KNOW.

SO FINALLY, SHE SAID,

"OKAY, FINE.

NO FRONTAL NUDITY."

I WAS LIKE, "OKAY,

I CAN LIVE WITH THAT.

I THINK I CAN WORK

AROUND THAT."

AND THEN SHE SAID, "OH,

AND ALSO, NO MAKING FUN

OF THE PROPHET MOHAMMED."

AT FIRST, I WAS KIND OF LIKE,

BUT THEN I WAS LIKE,

"OH, WELL, YEAH," LIKE,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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