Director: Sandra Gysi & Ahmed Abdel Mohsen | Switzerland 2011 | 77 min
For hundreds of years, the Old Arabic poem "Sira" has been a colourful, collective cultural memory, which united the Arab people across generations and boundaries. The five million verse long (!) poetic opus has passed from mouth to ear over centuries, and now lives with Sayyed El-Dawi. He is the world's last Sira singer, and he has the enormous work stored in his memory. With the poem as a life project, we follow his attempts to retain a lyrical past in the midst of modern Egypt's transformation and fast progress. His son Ramadan is expected to carry on the tradition, but the mebers of the new generation see the world with other eyes than their forefathers. Ramadan's take of the Sira-tradition is suffused with modern influences. Pop music and stage shows are at odds with the father's belief in the poet's place at a street-level among the people, and the stage is thereby set for a discussion about tradition, art and culture in this rhythmic Arabic tale of generational shifts. The pace is fast as songs bear the film through the old Egyptian bazars and a flourishing entertainment industry, where the decision has to be made if the art itself is allowed to develop or should be left to disappear in a country, which is trying to assume a new identity at breakneck speed.
Sira - Songs of The Crescent Moon (Switzerland, 2011, 77 min.)
Director: Sandra Gysi & Ahmed Abdel Mohsen. Production: RECK Filmproductions Zurich.