Following the massive controversy in Egypt after releasing the first-ever Arabic Netflix Original – adapted from the Italian film Perfect Strangers – the US-based streaming giant has finally responded to it.
Since its release, the film has found itself in hot waters with people who have a conservative mindset and do not support the portrayal of homosexual relationships, nonchalant infidelity or even scenes where characters take off their underwear under the table without exposing any skin.
Led by Egyptian MP Mostafa Bakry, those offended have voiced their protest against the wrongful portrayal of Egyptian culture and customs. After Bakry demanded the boycott of the streaming platform, Netflix has now released their official statement to Variety.
The statement reads, “Perfect Strangers is a fictional story that explores universal themes without taking a moral stand, instead of inviting the audience to have an open dialogue and debate. The film tackles tough subjects through humanity and humour, led by a talented Arab cast focused on creative excellence.”
Netflix’s first-ever Arabic original film is helmed by Wissam Smayra, marking her directorial debut. It features a stellar pan-Arab cast, including award-winning director and actress Nadine Labaki, famous Egyptian actress Mona Zaki, Georges Khabbaz, Eyad Nassar, Fouad Yammine, Diamond Bou Abboud and Adel Karam.
Originally titled Ashab Wala A’aaz, the film sees a group of close friends at a dinner party, playing a game that involves them laying their phone on the table and unabashedly letting the others know their deepest, darkest secrets.
This is not the first time Bakry has spoken up against Netflix productions, previously having expressed his displeasure over the Netflix Original Arabic series AlRawabi School For Girls, which showed homosexuality in teenage girls.
Various Egyptian actors have come together to voice their support for the cast and crew while the actor’s union has condemned the “verbal assault” meted out to any Egyptian artist as they persevere in retaining their “basic principles, the most important of which is persevering creative freedom”.
Despite all the controversy, the film is now one of Netflix’s most-watched films globally.
Watch Perfect Strangers on Netflix now.