As a filmmaker El-Mihi has been controversial, to say the least. Together with other directors of the same generation, he is often characterised as being too artistic; his own preference for fantasia is indicative of a cinema, many argue, accessible only to an elite, intellectual class. His films, furthermore, are often read as subversive, and the subsequent uproars resulted, most dramatically perhaps, in a civil suit filed against Lil-hobb Qissa Akhira (For Love, A Final Story, 1986), a film containing sex scenes that undoubtedly enraged many.
El-Mihi’s films often adopt a similar gambit, tackling controversial subjects by positing them in fantastic settings. In several films he has discussed the absurdities of current moral codes; in Al-Sada Al-Rigal (The Gentlemen, 1987) the two protagonists each undergo a sex-change; in Sayyidati, Anisati (Ladies and Gentlemen, 1990) the four leading females decide to marry the same man and live together, thereby exposing the absurdity of… read more