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Destiny (1997)

Al-massir (original title)
The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher Averroes is appointed grand judge by the caliph and his liberal court judgements are ... See full summary »

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Averroes (as Nour El Cherif)
...
Abdellah
...
Al Mansour, The Caliph (as Mahmoud Hemeida)
Safia El Emari ...
Averroes' Wife (as Safia El Emary)
Mohamed Mounir ...
The Bard
...
Nasser, The Crown Prince (as Khaled El Nabaoui)
...
The Caliph's Brother (as Seif Abdel Rahman)
...
Borhan
Rogena ...
Salma (as Régina)
Ahmed Fouad Selim ...
Cheikh Riad
Magdy Edris ...
Emir of the Sect (as Magdi Idris)
Ahmed Moukhtar ...
Bard
Sherifa Maher ...
Manuella's Mother
Rayek Azzab ...
El Razi
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Storyline

The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher Averroes is appointed grand judge by the caliph and his liberal court judgements are not liked by everyone. The caliph's political rivals, centered around the leader of a fanatical Islamic sect, force the caliph to send Averroes into exile, but his ideas keep on living thanks to his students. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

16 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Destiny  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Egypt for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 70th Academy Awards in 1998. See more »

Quotes

Caliph's brother: Thoughts have wings. No one can prevent them from flying.
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Soundtracks

Alli sotak
Performed by Mohamed Mounir
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User Reviews

 
A movie about the past, but highly topical as well as instructive about the present
14 August 2003 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This film is an entertaining and thrilling mix of melodrama, music, history, grief and joy, showing the best and worst sides of human nature.

The story is set in medieval Moorish Spain, and concerns the conflict between Averroes; a historical humanistic Muslim philosopher; and a group of reactionary fundamentalists. It is extremely well acted and the characters are sympathetic as well as credible. It is often forgotten that many of the Islamic societies of the Middle Ages (particularly in Spain) were way ahead of Europe in science, mathematics, medicine, religious tolerance and most intellectual pursuits. However, there were periodic and sometimes serious conflicts with those who resented these trends.

This is not just an historical epic. The Egyptian director, a very courageous man named Youssef Chanine, deliberately molded the script to show how fanaticism not only undermines a society's intellect, but destroys the very souls of its members. Particularly disturbing, but highly relevant to our times is his portrayal of the subtle manner in which young men are recruited into these movements and about how empty and dishonest they turn out to be.

Although the population of medieval Andalusia was 10-15% Jewish and Averroes had extensive contact with both Jewish and Christian intellectuals, there isn't a Jew in sight and the only Christians depicted are evil, fanatical, external enemies who enter into a secret pact with the fundamentalist cult. While this is not entirely accurate and a gross simplification of the actual situation at the time, I don't fault Mr. Chanine. He has endured extreme legal harassment in the Egyptian courts over this and another film as well as extensive death threats against himself and his family. Merely exploring the themes portrayed in this movie has put his head on the chopping block, and any sympathetic depiction of Jews or Christians would have resulted in the banning of the film and possibly his head rolling into the basket. He deliberately crafted this film to educate his own society about the moral corruption and debasement of violent fanatical behavior and no doubt wanted to make sure the message got out.

A bold, yet gently provocative film by a very brave man.


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