70-year-old Makkah Hajj footage to be auctioned in Dubai

Footage is part of the film titled Pelerins de La Mecque and includes scenes taken by non-Muslims of the annual pilgrimage
70-year-old Makkah Hajj footage to be auctioned in Dubai
By Lubna Hamdan
Thu 09 Nov 2017 01:30 PM

Footage of Makkah that is nearly 70 years old will be auctioned as part of Sotheby’s auction Boundless: Dubai on November 13.

The 1948 footage is estimated to be worth $10,000 to $15,000 and is part of one of the first documentary films about the Hajj.

The film titled Pèlerins de La Mecque (1940) includes actual scenes taken by non-Muslims in Makkah to reveal the full account of the annual pilgrimage that takes place in the holy city.

It opens with scenes in Morocco and documents the route of Muslim pilgrims from North Africa to Makkah. It is filmed by producer and director Marcel Ichac, who made two films in the Middle East between 1939 and 1940.

The second being Pèlerins de La Mecque and the first being Mission de la France (1939), which followed the lives of French people in different countries, such as Syria and Lebanon.

The films were part of Ichac’s effort to counter Nazi propaganda by showing North Africans freely travelling to Mecca in spite of the war. The present version, with an English title and soundtrack, was released after the Second World War in 1948. It consists of 800ft reel of 16mm film that comes in a steel can with a lid.

Ichac (1906-94) was a pioneering French filmmaker, photographer and explorer, having directed the first two French expeditions to the Himalayas in 1936 and 1950, dived with Jacques Cousteau, the father of scuba diving, and made the first documentary about caving with famous French adventurer Norbert Casteret.
In 2017, as many as two million Muslims travelled from around the world to attend the annual pilgrimage.

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