Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Lost Man - رجل ضائع

Trailer for the film a lost man

A lost man (Un Homme Perdu in French - رجل ضائع in Arabic) is a film by Danielle Arbid, this is her second feature film and the second one to be selected for the Directors' Fortnight (Quinzaine des Realisateurs) at Cannes film festival 2007.
When she introduced this movie she said you'll like it or hate it, but can't be in between. Well, I believe that I fell in the "like it" category, because this film was great: the storyline was deep, acting and directing made the movie look pretty realistic, more than a documentary.

Something I didn't expect in the film, which I liked, was the way it shows the "underground" nightlife in the Arab world (Notably Jordan), this side of the Arab culture that no media talks about, a taboo subject that every body knows the existence but yet in denial !!! I appreciated as well the way Danielle attacked the problem of those who disappeared during the last civil war. Another thing is the way she integrated in her story two totally different persons, a French and an Arab, yet managed to show resemblance, something not that intuitive to detect.
I loved it, and I strongly recommend it.
It's due to be released in France in late 2007 or early 2008 (December - January)

Finally, I would like to note that the language of the film was a combination of Arabic and French (natural since the two leading actors represent different culture). The film contain as well around four erotic scenes, something we're not used to see in Arab (in particular Lebanese) movies. This was the reason I believe why the film wont be shown in Arab countries as the director stated. Something I found bad.

Update: Scenes and Trailer from the film were added.

Press Conference and Film projection with Danielle Arbid at Cannes 2007

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Falafel - فلافل

Falafel Trailer

Falafel (Arabic: فلافل ) is a film directed by Michel Kammoun. This film tells the story of a young Lebanese who got humiliated during a party in front of his (to be) girlfriend, and seeks for vengeance afterwards.
The film was presented in many festivals, and got some honors. Notably, it was premiered during Beyrouth film festival 2006, a month after the Israeli war against Lebanon ended.
From my point of view, I found the film a bit dark since it was almost exclusively shot during the night. It was a way to show the nightlife of Lebanese youth, but also what can oppression lead to. In all, and from what the director said, the movie shows potential events (something that might or not happen in the future), but not events themselves. The story was well built, actors were well chosen, especially when it's the first role for the most of them, and for the rest of the cast, I should note that the professionals like Rafic Ali Ahmad, Adel Karam, Hiam Abou Chedid and others perfromance was outstanding, even if their appearance was relatively brief for few minutes (personally, Rafic Ali Ahmad was the one I liked the most). We should note as well the appearance of the director in a relatively short shot in the film (as the owner of the Falafel shop).
Although the film genre is a bit special, I believe that everyone can enjoy watching it.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Caramel - سكر بنات

The trailer of Caramel by Nadine Labaki

I was able to watch this movie, the first feature movie by Nadine Labaki. I highly recommend watching it. In fact, no 5 minutes pass without laughing, but this doesn't mean that there were no strong drama scenes. Actors were too good, although it's the first experience for the majority. Everything was very well done from lighting, costume design, music, cinematography, storyline, ... I was really impressed in the way the director/writer choose to end the movie with this great last scene (the one just before the credits), for me I found it too strong, yet very beautiful.
In short this film is a success!!

After the projection Anne-Dominique Toussaint explained that the film was sold up to 35 countries including US and major European countries. It is expected to start showing in France starting august 14. Unfortunately, it was delayed in Lebanon due to current events, although it was planned to be released June 14.

N.B. If you wish to see the movie in an avant-premiere, it is planned to screen as the opening movie of the festival Paris Cinema 2007 (3-14 July).

You can found here and here the press conference at Cannes 2007 and the Film projection at Cannes during the Directors' Fortnight session (La Quinzaine des Realisateurs).
Don't forget to check the wikipedia article as well.

Update: A short trailer with french subtitltes is available now, as well as some trailers on the official website. You can find them as well here or below.
The Film has been scheduled to be released in the US on February 1st 2008. The US trailer can be found here.
La bande-annonce sous-titrée en français est désormais disponible sur le site officiel du film ou ici.

"Caramel" Music video