The casino manager points with his index finger at one of the employees, reprimanding and threatening, after failing to solve a math problem, then he asks other questions to 3 other employees, to test their mental skills and they to encourage them to work as if they were pursuing a hobby, not just a job. The company manager does not tolerate the color of the sock of one of his employees or even the length of his nails, and he only admires a new employee who came looking for money to complete his marriage, and he showed superiority in his tasks , but he makes many mistakes during his work. And when this employee tries to resign, the manager surprises him that he was aware of everything he was doing and that he controlled the actions and movements of everyone, including the employee himself, all in the movie “Al Rayes Omar Harb” with the starring the late actor Khaled Saleh and directed by Khaled Youssef.
The film is one of the Arab attempts to tell the story of “Faust”, the famous German philosophical story, which expresses an important philosophical issue about man’s relationship with Satan and the levels of man’s handling of temptations and various desires of money, sex and prestige. Faust is the most important literary work of the German philosopher Johann Goethe. It is a tragic play of which the first part was published in 1808 and the second part was not published until 26 years later, in 1831. It revolves around a nation. story about the character of Faust, who embodied Goethe in the form of a doctor who gained a great deal of knowledge and money in his life, but he was robbed of peace and contentment, so he decided to turn to magic , and after him to Satan to make a barter deal with him in which he sells his soul in exchange for Satan giving him happiness.
Do films directly answer questions about religion, morals, politics and all absolute and relative issues? Or does it repeat and renew the question on these issues, which provokes more discussion?
Many films have dealt with stories that discuss philosophical issues and topics, and some of them have also tried to have a human and not just creative experience, such as the American movie “Boyhood” by Richard Linklater, which revolves around the story of ‘ a 7-year-old boy with divorced parents, where the viewer lives with him The idea of time, its evolution and its impact on the child. The time here is not figurative, but real, as the film took 12 years to shoot from 2002 to 2012. That is, we see the human human development that the boy’s life undergoes in terms of form and behavior in a way that is more spontaneous than acting. These are scenes that were the preserve of aesthetic documentaries that follow characters over a wide period of time, and they did not have the audience of feature films. Time here is one of the issues and problems that plagued philosophers, old and new, as the film revises part of the idea of time and its impact in a way that mixes reality and imagination.
Mathematics is also an important philosophical issue that has attracted the attention of philosophers since ancient times, especially Plato and Aristotle. The British film “The Man Who Knew Infinity” tried to discuss the philosophy of mathematics, and even evoke its aesthetic aspect by monitoring the biography of the Indian mathematician Sriminava Ramanugan. Director and writer Matthew Brown had this goal in mind from the beginning, so much so that he opened the film with the words of the English philosopher Bertrand Russell: “If you look at mathematics correctly, you will not only have truth, but the highest beauty. “
Western and Arab philosophies on screen
The issue of the relationship of philosophy with film is very similar to the debate of philosophical theories themselves, as the discussion about it is wide and complex. What worries us in this regard is to focus on two main axes; They are the role of the philosophical story in the film narrative, especially in Arab films, and secondly, how films reveal important issues to us that are still unresolved for the Arab viewer and contribute to finding some solutions and answers to them. It should be noted here that the relationship between film and philosophy is a two-way street, as the authors Damian Cox and Michael Levine say in their book “Cinema and Philosophy: What One Proides for the Other”, which reveals the fusion of film. and philosophy in one field testifies to independence and growth, an issue that may need to be addressed.
At the level of the philosophical story, we find that a philosophical story like Hayy Bin Yaqzan, by the Andalusian philosopher Ibn Tufail, mainly inspired many Western films, not Arabs, like old classic films like “The Jungle Book” by Wolfgang Reithermann in 1967, and “The New Adventures of Tarzan” directed by Edward Cole in 1935, and also some recent films such as “The Untouchable” with Tom Hanks in 2000.
The story of Ibn Yaqzan revolves mainly around a boy named Hayy bin Yaqzan who grows up on an island that is completely isolated from the human world and raised among animals. In spite of this, he can eventually distinguish himself from them and realize his mental faculties. The same story has been treated by Muslim philosophers such as Ibn Sina and Suhrawardi. The story reflects deep meanings about the essence of human existence, the beginning of creation, the purpose of life and the relationship with the universe.
Arabic films did not make use of the philosophical models and stories transmitted in the Arab and Islamic heritage, as it is not only rich in it but also the pioneer in it. Here we are not talking about Arab films that achieve great breakthroughs without great material and moral abilities, but we are talking about the absence, consciously or unconsciously, of the philosophical story available in the legacy that inspired many Western directors.
The second issue deals with the role of philosophy in shaping an Arab identity for film. The essence of philosophical questions opens horizons of awareness of popular and public problems with the art of filmmaking in general, such as: Does film art directly answer questions about religion, morals, politics, and all absolute and relative issues? Or does it repeat and renew the question on these issues, which provokes more discussion? Is it possible to mix the poetic and aesthetic role of film with the Arab viewer, who enjoys great emotion, as opposed to the rational role of philosophy? These are not so much theoretical questions as they directly affect the relationship of films with the general public and the quality and popularity of films.
It cannot be said that there are fixed rules in this area so that we can say that a society is against or with art, as Arab society is often stigmatized. Emotional judgment on many issues – usually seen by the Arab viewer – is an advantage in the artistic field when observed and dealt with. This society is not a heresy of societies; In Germany, for example, the “Storm and Rush” movement originated in the late 18th century, and was aimed at overcoming the heart and emotion over the mind. And reason at that time represented the enlightenment in Germany, which glorified reason and humanity. This movement was also reflected in art and demanded that feelings be unleashed and transcend classical rules, and philosophers such as Friedrich Schiller, Johann Herder and Johann Goethe themselves were among the most prominent influencers.