Wednesday, February 16, 2005

la porte du soleil

This is far from being anything related to a movie review ofcourse.

I was anxiously awaiting the release of Bab ElShams in Egypt for a while now. I love to watch something different, and this one is certainly categorized as such, compared to most other Egyptian movies atleast.

Gladly, I found more people watching the movie than I had expected. I thought that those kind of movies last less than a week at the movie theatres because there's such low publicity and demand, but apparently not this time.

I got to see the two parts (and I'm glad they divided it, otherwise, 4 hours are just too much of anything), plus, the two parts are really very different.

I have nothing but praise for part 1. Loved the acting, the directing, the visual scenes, Nahila, the blind, telling to most Arabs, that no, Palestinians didn't sell their land, and most of all, showing the struggle and refuge with such a human perspective.

I just loved the ending of that part, when the Israeli officer was interrogating Nahila as to the whereabouts of her fida'e husband, and she denies that she knows. Then he asks her how come she's getting pregnant so frequently, and she tells him, "I am a WHORE, don't you have whores in your respectable country!". Saying (or pretending to be) that, got her off the hook in their respectable country.

A conservative/Islamist-leaning friend of mine came along to the movie, and he was pretty annoyed from all the love scenes, arguing that the movie diminished the Palestinian cause to just that. I thought my friend diminished the movie to just the love scenes. He couldn't make it to the second part.

As for part 2, I didn't swallow it very well. It was more like a documentary to me (which there are certainly better ones around). I can't figure out until now where the role of Shams relates to anything. She acts well, but I think her role was just superfluous and removing her role all together would not have affected the movie at all.

It seemed to me that the second part was catering westerners more than the first (both are really), but it was very obvious in the second part, especially with all the unnecessary English and French dialogues.

For some reason I found part 2 portraying all arab women encountered in the film as promiscuous (except for the adoring Nahila ofcourse)! I'm not sure why that was so, maybe that's supposed to be more appealing to the western viewer (I hope that wasn't the reason).

Also, part 2, which was named "The return" didn't really exemplify any return, since no one is really returning or even close to it, as opposed to part 1 portraying "The departure".

Overall, I think it was a great film. Shows that we still have good movie makers in Egypt after all.

The title of this post is in French because a friend of mine kept referring to the movie in French, and I liked the sound of it!


Anonymous said...

The movie is very well done, especially Part1. No doubt, Nahila is the super star. An archetype for deep love and love for one's land and roots. I also liked Nahila's father-in-law (hate to call him blind man though) The 'Barwoudi's poem of first love, passion of one's land brought tears to my eyes. Moreover, the part when he smelt the tree to know the direction of the sun was great. I got the impression that there is more to palestine than the actual land, it is also the sky above palestine that matters too. Don't ask me why I got that impression. Great movie.
Part2 was not that great. A friend of mine kept yawning all the time. Now I know why was that.

Al Sharief said...

The Return, or the Second Part of Bab el Shams was actually as Great ...
With the Luxury of seeing Part II first, with more than a bit of background on the Palestinian struggle and suffering in Lebanon,
may be I was on a bit better position to see how great "The Return" is...

It is Great as a complimentary to part I as it accurately depicts the continuation of the Palestinian suffering in a Great artistic "docu-drama" style with great joyous cinematic symbolism on very turn of the camera and the accompanied scenario...

"The Return" is Great on its own standing, even without Part I.

Part I "Al Raheel" was a Great epic...Part II "The Return" is a great "neo-Realism" of the Refugees Camps in Lebanon , and the whole of the Palestinian Diaspora done (written and directed) in a GREAT and high intellectual docu-drama style...

Yousry Nasrallah was great in mixing the Magic love of an Oppressed woman / Oppressed and raped Land; (reads: Palestine)
Shams is an essential representation of some of the Palestinian Diaspora who toured many refugees camps in a social despair of any normal family life and a normal wife/mother role that she never choose, yet kept chasing that role on an empty promise of a miserable second marriage to the man she shot in seeking revenge for all the suffering and despair... To me this was as obvious as her name "Shams"

In the contrary the beautiful very feminine, fertile, and attractive Nahila stayed on the Land yet virtually raped, at least for sometime with the thin doubts of some of her villagers. Remember: Shams was turned into a sort of "Freedom Fighter". Nahila was almost a very successful wife/mother role who raised 5 kids. More over she appeared to be the ONLY successful person in keeping one cave "FREE" in Palestine that is "Bab AL Shams".

As for the "Return" it was presented as a completely personal vision that reflects the current political realties of Palestinians "Return" as it is almost a personal decision in many cases. Some Palestinian-Americans "Returned" to Palestine like Dr. Ibrahim AbuAlughod, God Bless his soul.

Khalil - our hero - did "Return" on his own way and the best risky way he knows how..

Um-Khalil-the maid wife- also "Returned" in the very beginning of part II and returned back with the Orange Branch / Orchid, to the refugee camp in Lebanon as if she would take care of all her adult children including Khalil who eventually decided to "Return" to join his real bio- mother...

Younous "Return" was far more frequent, fertile, and resistant yet was never complete and always in-between the dream of peaceful loving "Return Home" to the beautiful Nahila / the Land : Palestine Reads: Prison in Younous case and he chooses to always starts from the beginning as a Freedom Fighter in the center of the Palestinian Diaspora in the center of a Refugee Camp.

Mohamed you write so eloquently and I've much enjoyed your style and I hope you will get to see this comment..

Mohamed said...

Thank you for your in-depth opinion Al Sharief. Appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

hi people,i`m from Argentina, and I saw this article in the iternet.My name is Daniela,but Nahila was the name my mum choose for me,but the judge in Argentina didn`t let her to call me Nahila.All my friends and family call me Nahila as if it where my name. I would like to know what is the meaning,if someone could help me , I would apreciate it.Sorry my English,since my language is Spanish,please help me to find the meaning of my name, my e-mail is to all of you!!!Kiss ...Nahila