The film Who is Atallah Abdul Rahman el Shaul? was shot in July 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria. The scriptwriter, the actors and all the local crew are part of the Nigerian movie industry known as Nollywood and considered the world’s second-largest movie industry (after Bollywood) in number of films produced annually.
The film presents three versions of a rumor that reached Luciana Kaplun when she was working with children of the Sudanese and Eritrean community at the Levinsky Library in Tel Aviv, according to which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was born in a village in northern Sudan.
Each version begins with the Griot, the traditional African storyteller who sings and narrates the tale in Yoruba. The actors speak in Pidgin English interspersed with Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba, Nigeria’s major languages. The film is shot in full Nollywood tradition—melodramas motivated by love, jealousy, greed and power lust—with exaggerated acting, raised voices and expressive hand motions.
The tales take place in Sudan, Ghanna and Nigeria, respectively, and each presents a different narrative grounded on details from the rural legend. Kaplun’s video is homage to Nollywood, to African folk tales, to imagination that is not necessarily bound by the edicts of reality. The bizarre starting point places African-Israeli relations in an absurd, fantastic context that might turn out to be quite an accurate characteristic.
The film was produced with the generous support of:
The Israel Lottery Fund
The Ostrovsky Family Fund
Outset—Tel Aviv Arts Council
Habeeb Ayodeji: Atallah’s father / Chief Obi / Atallah / Tzvika
Omowunmi Dada: Atallah’s mother / Munachi / Ruth, Agnes
Chief Yemi Adeyemi: Baba / village head
Yinka Davies: Nkechi/ Atallah’s mother
Aderemi Adegbite: Nkechi’s husband / young man from the village
Thomas Onu: Atallah / Bibi
Olayinka Busari: Maid / substitute teacher
Edaoto Agbeniyi: Griot
Ajibola Oladokun, Saheed Ramoni, Damilola Osaze, Gabriel David, Samuel Orji : Infant soldiers / villagers
Director: Luciana Kaplun
Producers: EyalVexler, Aderemi Adegbite Cinematographer/script writer: Ema Edosio
Makeup artist: Tope Daramola
Gaffer: Muritala Abdul-Salam
Production assistants: Lukman Tadeyo, Wasiu Adegbite, Toyin Oluke
Editor advisor: Haviv Kaptzon
Sound design: Daniel Meir
Post production: Plunk! ArtesVisuales, Matias Kaplun, Tatiana Narvaez Romero
Khamis Babiker, Chief Vincent Udogadi Uzoma, Dafna Lichtman, Alma Itzhaky, Adi Artzi, Gilad Ratman
1981 Buenos Aires, Argentina