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One of the 22 films competing for the Palme d’Or is “After the Battle,” by Egypt’s Yousry Nasrallah.

The story of the relationship between a wealthy Tahrir Square revolutionary and a poor horseman from the Pyramids who has been involved in an attack on protesters, it was filmed in the chaotic interval between the overthrow of Mubarak and this week’s presidential election in Egypt.

Nasrallah said the film crew members were worried about intimidation from supporters of the former regime or Islamists who condemn cinema as a sin. They filmed using a code name to make the movie sound like a romantic comedy.

The director said movie makers have a duty to be bold, despite political uncertainty and the rising influence of religious fundamentalists.

“Arab cinema is trying to liberate itself,” he told reporters. “It is trying to break censorship taboos and social taboos. Because this is the only way you can make movies.

“You don’t want to go watch a film where you feel the film itself is a prison. You want to feel the filmmaker is liberated and thus liberating you too.”


Associated Press Writer Hilary Fox contributed to this report.

Jill Lawless can be reached at