Thursday, March 29, 2012

a Man of Honor - إنسان شريف

  Trailer of a Man of Honor

The second feature by Jean-Claude Codsi which was screened during Doha Tribeca Film Festival has gained finally some narrow theater screenings in Lebanon (only 2 currently). Even though most cast and artists are Lebanese, the story, who excogitates the honor killing practice, takes place in Jordan where this practice is relatively vivid. This feature might bring some notable similarities with a Lost Man who takes part in Jordan as well, but with a somewhat reverse circumstances, in Codsi's movie, the Jordanian man flees to Lebanon, while in Arbid's one, the Lebanese man flees to Jordan. Bernadette Hodeib participation is of no doubt distinguished regardless of its duration. Note that the Lebanese actors manages to (effortfully?) speaking the Jordanian dialect, this didn't had much influence on the narrative and the mostly refined built plot. Personally, I found one particular scene incorporating some unnecessary exaggeration; the director purposely mutates traditional practices into some primitive foreign ritual that mimic those of isolated tribes (in Amazon or maybe tribal Africa?). This might be a bottleneck for the storytelling to assert the fustiness of such crimes, but of course exaggerated to amplify the effect. The spotlight covered in this film is an interesting perspective, worth seeing and will be much appreciated by the viewer, along with the pleasant music of Toufic Farroukh.

Edit: It should be noted, that this movie, like other recent Lebanese releases is including French and English subtitles. This increasing trend is getting ridiculous. Should Lebanese be bound by subtitles on all movies, even those narrated in their own Language?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Taxi Ballad - تاكسي البلد

Trailer for Taxi Ballad

Recently released widely in Lebanese Theaters, Taxi Ballad is a first attempt for Daniel Joseph to direct feature films. The movie is about an "underachieving" Lebanese Taxi driver's ambitions with a remarkably good level in English(?). The debut of the movie is little disappointing with a curious decision to reveal the movie title solely in Latin script, while completely discarding Arabic. The same remark holds for the credits in the end. Another disappointing decision is to screen the movie with French subtitles. Such absurd decision can be only seen as if the distributors think that the Lebanese language cannot be understood by Lebanese audience! (see also Where do we go now? who managed to rectify later this problem is some theaters)
The film is overly nice keeping in mind that this is first long feature for the director, with hope that he will learn from this experience to give us in the future even better movies. Most nature scenes are beautifully colored, but some elements are felt missing every time, making it little credible in faithfully presenting the Lebanese life. The storyline can be enjoyable, but its structure could've been better built. We should note that most actors played their role naturally, most notably the honorable presence of Mahmoud Mabsout (Fahman) who died recently and whose role was inspired from a previous character in Beirut After Shave.
Most audience would enjoy the movie, and are encouraged to watch it in order to support the Lebanese movie productions in the future.

Parenthesis: I couldn't help noticing this currently growing trend where foreign actors costarring the Lebanese movie. I suspect that the reason might be the foreign funding, but this could not be the only one. (e.g. Beirut Hotel, Where do we go now?Taxi Ballad, Une Chanson dans la tête﴿