“I’m not a martyr. I’m not a victim. I don’t feel brave,” Tarik Saleh, the award-winning Egyptian/Swedish director of one of the year’s most controversial films, “The Nile Hilton Incident,” told Al-Monitor in a Skype interview.
“I never went to prison in Egypt; I feel very privileged. Filmmakers and writers who are still working there … they are the ones paying a high price,” he said.
An expertly crafted film noir about a corrupt police officer that unveils an even larger web of corruption that involves the police, the justice system and the highest echelons of Egyptian society, Saleh’s movie made headlines in the international press. Although the film was initially approved, several scenes that painted an unflattering portrait of the Egyptian police caused filming to be blocked by Egypt’s state security, forcing the production to move to Morocco.
Several months after winning the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival, this Swedish production has become one of the biggest art-house hits of the year, drawing an attendance of nearly 400,000 in France alone.