BOODY: The Sumo Pharao

BOODY, known by his wrestling name ”Osunaarashi” (The Great Sand Storm), is the first Sumo wrestler of his kind ever to make it to the professional Sumo world in Japan. He is celebrated for being one of the most noted, strong wrestlers in the top Sumo ranks. The documentary brings out BOODY’s journey from ”Al-Bagalt”, the small village in the country side of Egypt where he grew up, all the way to Tokyo right into the one-of-a-kind professional Sumo world.

Image 59

Director: Sarah Riad
Director Biography

Sarah Riad is a 25-year-old Egyptian-Japanese filmmaker. She was born in Egypt to an Egyptian father and a Japanese mother. She was raised in Egypt and lived there most of her life, but she also experienced living in Japan for a while. She was enrolled in the Media Department in two universities, one in Japan and another in Egypt, but she dropped out of them both shifting onto a self-learning journey and started off her career as a freelance filmmaker and a writer in 2012.

Sarah has worked as a trainee on several documentaries, TV shows, short films and event coverage videos, then eventually, she started to write and direct her own film projects. One of her remarkable works was a short film titled ‘’El Film da Haram’’ (This Film is Sinful), it has made a big fuss in the Arab/Muslim region after being released on youtube in 2012. It hit 600,000+ views, and had the chance to be aired on one of the most popular TV stations in Egypt twice. As a writer, besides scriptwriting, Sarah’s first book titled ‘’Eib Walla Haram’’ (Is it a sin or a taboo?) was published in April 2013. It is now one of the bestselling books in Egypt and reached the 4th print. Sarah tries to reach the hearts and the minds of the Arab world youth through her works. The documentary film project ‘’Egyptian Sumo/Osunaarashi’’ is her first feature length film in her filmmaking career.

Film Works:
– Paradox (January 2013)

– El Film Da Haram (February 2013)

– Soulless (October 2013) *Official Selection at NFFTY 2014

– The Bravest One (Music Video) 2015

Director Statement

I was surprised in the beginning to know that there is a professional Sumo wrestler who is Egyptian. Growing up in Egypt, I grasp very well the mentality of the Egyptian people; always tending to go with the crowd, disbelieving in anything that is new or odd from the norm that has been set for us. Thus, it is in fact one of the hardest and the most challenging things to stand up against family, friends, and the whole society to go and do something different from what we’re used to. It needs a lot of courage and readiness to face loads of criticism and arguments. So for an Egyptian to become a professional Sumo wrestler and center his whole life around ‘’Sumo’’, that’s quite an exceptional story that left me impressed, yet confused, having so many questions left behind. All that came across my mind was: ‘’Where did he get the courage to become a Sumo wrestler, whereas the image of Sumo for the Egyptians is something sarcastic which they make fun of all the time in their media and movies? What does his family think about it? How did he face the terrifying amount of criticism and opposing which I’m sure he has faced?’’.

Those were only the thoughts that triggered in my head the idea to document this story. Eventually, after I knew more about Osunaarashi and more about Sumo, my objective to make this documentary kept on expanding. It is indeed a story that tells much; not only about our protagonist, but also about ‘’Sumo’’ in itself as a sport that is totally different than any other sports for it is associated with the ‘’Shinto’’ ritual, and about the insights of both the Japanese and the Egyptian cultures which are obviously pretty much contrasting.

I have always been indifferent about ‘’Sumo’’. I remember when my mom once got Sumo tournament tickets and asked me if I’d want to accompany her, I told her ‘’Why would I go watch huge naked people doing that nonsense? I’m not a bit interested.’’. This impression I had on Sumo has totally changed once I started to know more about it through watching bouts and attending the ‘’Keiko’’ (practice) at the stable. It became very interesting to me; the techniques they use, the formation of their bodies, the deadly practice which they have to commit to 4 hours everyday, the culture and the life structure of Sumo wrestler inside the stable..etc. There’s a whole different world lying behind this sport. I had to re-introduce this sport to anyone who is nonfamiliar with it or who has certain misconceptions about it, particularly Egyptians and Arabs.

Above all, knowing the fact that only a very few people in Egypt have ever heard of Osunaarashi despite his stardom in Japan, I felt responsible to document his story and let everyone know what this Egyptian man has done and is still doing out there in such a far country as Japan. Being half Egyptian half Japanese, I have a good understanding of both cultures, which probably made me fitted to create this film in the most authentic way possible. I am also aiming that the audience would be inspired by the personal experience of Osunaarashi which is full of struggles and resistance; in terms of having a dream, fighting for it and standing tall against any obstacles one might face through the journey. Alongside with featuring an outlandish kind of a world that is certainly new to the eyes of many, considering all the different aspects which the story carries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.