The movie La Mo’akhza perfectly tackles the idea of religious differences as well as variations in socio-economic levels, both of which are extremely relevant topics to Social Psychology. Through a young Copt’s transition from an elite society to a public school, the extent of social influence and social perception is highlighted. After his father’s death, Hany had to go to a public school due to financial constraints; there, he faces the challenge of adjusting his mental schemas to fit in. For instance, instead of listening to English songs and taking notes in class, he begins listening to “sha3by” and focuses less on his academics. He becomes more aware, and definitely a little shocked, at the degree of individual differences between himself and his peers; their choice of diction, their actions and their backgrounds. Hany’s further socialization with the students revealed how the future roles that were expected of them were very different than what he was used to. Also, the growth mindset that he was taught to adopt was now being opposed by a fixed mindset and a destruction of self-esteem; unlike the usual appreciation of student creativity, there was very little support and funding for innovations.
Another critical aspect of the movie, is the effect of social influence on Hany’s social cognition and construal of religion. Not only did his behavior change ( memorizing a Muslim-related song and publicly chanting it), but a huge inner-conflict arose; what had once only needed automatic thinking, now necessitated a lot of deliberation and controlled thinking that was to be externally justified. For example, telling people his full name became a matter of conflict, whether to remove the cross from his room or not, declaring his religious identity…
Overall, La Mo’akhza sends out a crucial message, but one that can only be deciphered through holistic thinking and by looking at the big picture.
Below are a few pictures from the movie.