Princess of Rome
75 minutes animation
A collaboration between Iran and Lebanon
Released on 7th May 2015
Director: Hadi Mohammadian
producer : Hamed Jafari
Writers: Zahraa Braytea, Hamed Jafari and Hadi Mohammadian
Production Companies Beirut International Centre, Haft Sanq, Mahdi Magazine and Solok Aflakian
Distribution: Beirut International Centre (2015) (Lebanon)
Princess of Rome, a 3D animation movie with a high standard, represents the largest Arab and Islamic media productions. It is produced in a way that combines wonderful historical knowledge with fun and humour. The movie is set in the 9th century and conveyed through wonderful scenic and attractive visual effects, both characters and locations of the story (Baghdad and Byzantium). A large group of cartoon animators from Iran and Arabic doubing casts from Lebanon contributed to the making of this film during two and a half year of its production.
Film narrates the tale of Melika, the granddaughter of the Byzantine Caesar. It uses symbolic characters – the light loving butterfly
to help and protect the Roman princess, in finding the way towards her destiny and a bat that adores darkness and its task is to prevent the butterfly from accomplishing its mission. The Marriage of the Roman Princess, Melika to the army commander Krytos was arranged unaware of his plot to takeover the leadership from Caesar. The Princess whose faith and believe in God made her weary about injustice in the world, could not bring herself to marry Krytos or anyone in that matter. One night she dreamt of the mother of Jesus(a)- Holy Mary, and beloved daughter of Prophet Muhammad-Fatima(as). In her dream she was informed that she would marry a person of a noble family and that the fruit of her marriage would be a son who brings justice to the world. At the very last minute she manages to avoid marrying Krytos, and by God’s intervention she would be taken as a slave to Baghdad where she would be purchased on behalf of Imam al-Hadi(a). She soon married to Imam’s son Hassan Al Askari (a). Just as she had dreamt from this marriage, the future Saviour of humanity, Imam Mahdi (aj), was born.
From an historical perspective the narrative is obtained via available Islamic Shi’i traditions and brilliantly illustrates the sentiment felt by the community towards this Christian born lady who becomes the noble mother of the Imam Mahdi (aj). According to some Islamic traditions Melika Yashushu’s mother was a descendant of Simon (Shamun) the disciple of Jesus (a), and as God chose a pious lady, Khadija(a) for His messenger Prophet Muhammad(s), He also chose a pious lady, Melika, to become mother of the Awaited 12th Imam. This relationship established a connection between the 12th Imam- ‘al Qaim(aj) and Jesus(a), a connection already known via Islamic narrations about how the two will rise together to rid the world of tyranny at a time appointed by God.
Althought available trailers and teasers are only in Arabic and Persian language, but Al-Ayn Social Care Foundation Charity, screened the English subtitled version of it for the first time in the UK on 23rd of August in Wembley Design Centre – Cineworld Cinema, with the possibility of further screening in the near future. For future announcements and pre-booking visit http://www.alayn.co.uk/civicrm/event/info?id=2
Princess of Rome, is entertaining and a useful educational platform to introduce the story of Imam Mahdi (aj) to both children and adults.
Reviewed by: Anousheh Mireskandari
Watch the trailer (Arabic) -original film has English subtitle. Easy to follow