'Baby Doll Night' tackles East-West relations

LONDON — Egyptian shingle Good News Group has recreated Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison for its hot-button pic “The Baby Doll Night.”

Producers built sets repping large sections of the prison at Cairo’s Studio Masr and re-enacted the scenes of prisoner abuse and torture by American soldiers that were shown in the photos which caused a media sensation when they were leaked via the Internet in 2004.

“The Baby Doll Night” attempts to tackle 70 years of East-West relations, including the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Sept. 11 attacks and the Iraq war.

Pic takes places on New Year’s Eve in Cairo as an Egyptian tourism official finds his evening ruined by feuding American, French and Arab delegations.

The month-long Cairo shoot wrapped Oct. 26. Globe-trotting pic will now move on to lens in Cairo, New York and Washington, plus the Czech Republic, Turkey and Syria.

The contentious scenes of American actors torturing their Arab counterparts caused distress among the cast and crew. Despite that, Good News execs feel the scenes are integral to the film.

“What you saw in the media were shots and frozen moments of agony,” said producer and director Adel Adeeb. “What the actual scenes do is bring those moments to life and give the audience a sense and make them witnesses to what some innocent prisoners were subjected to.”

“The Baby Doll Night” is likely to raise even more ire than the previous Good News drama, “The Yacoubian Building.” That film, which went on to become the biggest grosser at the Egyptian box office in 2006, faced bomb threats from Islamic radicals and attempts by a group of Egyptian MPs to have the film censored.

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