|Index||9 reviews in total|
Don't be fooled by appearances: the fact that this is an exotic entry from Egypt doesn't shield the fact that it's just a boy-meets-girl love story given heavier trappings. Adam is the son of a wealthy Egyptian-American family who is studying at UCLA and returns home for a brief vacation. Upon his arrival he meets beautiful reporter Hanane, with whom he begins an intense love affair, and eventually they marry. Trouble arises when Hanane' s journalistic interests lead her to the corrupt business affairs of Adam's parents, who are interested in building an American tourist compound that would allow Americans further control of Egypt's tourist industry, and make them a whole lot richer. The climactic ending of the film is the tragic result of the adults' selfish greed which manifests itself on their children. Not really inspiring in any way, the film does feature some colourful musical numbers and wry moments. Nabila Ebeid is excellent as Adam's hard-driven mother.
To the pretentious reviewer who uses 'melodrama' as an insult: What do you know about Egyptian film? Or Arab culture for that matter? If you knew something, you would have realized that any film that begins with a cameo from Edward Said must be somewhat worthwhile (Or at least play with some interesting ideas). Yes, this movie is firmly situated within the romantic-melodramatic genre common in Egyptian cinema. Cinema is at its root a popular entertainment, and many of the greatest masterpieces of American cinema (which most world cinemas have been trying, with varying degrees of success, to emulate since the 30's) were produced in a similar context. What is 'Casablanca' if not a melodrama? Egyptian cinema likewise operates within the framework of melodrama, and utilizes these conventions to tell stories which have a deeper meaning. Watch 'Du'at al-Karawan,' 'la anam,' 'sigara wa ka's', etc... and tell me that's not art. Youssef Chahine has experimented with auteur-style film-making (Iskandriyah leih?) but he also -like Barakat and the best of the Egyptian directors before him, knows how to exploit the narrative tropes of the melodrama genre to create art. So leave your film-festival snobbery at the door and enjoy. 'Al-Akhar' is not Chahine's best film (in my opinion, that's Bab al-Hadid) but it is a well-told story which also takes a frank look at Egyptian society and the complex relationship between the West and the Arab world.
L'Autre (Al Akhar as we say it in Arabic) succeeded in attracting more
people who were never big fans of Chahine's previous movies. But on the
other hand, the majority of Chahine's fans didn't like the movie, or at
least they said:"May be it is a good movie, but not Chahine's", and I am one
of them. The characters in the movie are not deeply described, symbols used
in each character are most of the times superficial. Fans of Chahine used
to watch his movies to spend 2 hours of deep thinking and analysis, not only
of the artistic way and the impressive mise-en-scene of Chahine - which were
very good in l'Autre also - but also for the revolutionary ideas and the
"Deep Diving" he used to make in his characters and the strong
contradictions inside one character as well as between different characters.
L'Autre was Me versus The Other, but this Me was not surely Me, and the
other was too much the Other. And to understand this, just compare this
Other with Chahine's
Others in Salaadin 1956,and Adieu Bonaparte 1984. I was never a fan of
Nabila Ebeid, but I have to admit she played a very good role. Mahmoud
Hemeida was very good in a role that did not show most of his strong
capabilities. Hani Salama made big progress from EL Massir.
A very good romance between a prince and a unsubdued girl, so it is for a general public. "Le Destin" (1997) was better since it was more historical and the songs were really part of the film. But "L'autre" includes also a fair good critics of terrorism (in Algeria and in Egypt). So, if you've never seen a Chahine's film, see this one, before "Le Destin" and long for the next one.
I could not figure out what Yousif Shamine meant by the name of the movie "The Other"? I understood what the movie was about and I can relate it to life in general in the 2000s. I makes you wonder sometimes if people are really that far out of their actions, as if they do not see the effect of their actions on others. It is a tragic ending, but very real. A very good romance between a prince and a unsubdued girl, so it is for a general public. "Le Destin" (1997) was better since it was more historical and the songs were really part of the film. But "L'autre" includes also a fair good critics of terrorism (in Algeria and in Egypt). So, if you've never seen a Chahine's film, see this one, before "Le Destin" and long for the next one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this as someone who has lived in Egypt and knows enough
Arabic to follow the dialog with the help of subtitles. I saw a movie
with Hanan Turk last year, and wanted to see more of her. That movie
(Dunya)was a lot better than this one. Maybe Chahine (73 when he made
this!)is over the hill. At least it had a definite ending, and I
suppose the repeated "law of the jungle" warning was the message, but
it was a mess.
First off, there's too much going on: we are introduced to two young men, one of whom immediately leaves the movie to go back to Algeria and is not seen again except for a brief "fantasy" sequence of his death at the hands of fundamentalists. Then there's a brief sequence with Edward Said--setting up the theme of "Can't we all get along" (I guess).Then we have the love at first sight between Hanane and Adam--I can certainly see Adam's attraction to Hanan (why use her real name, by the way?), but total love at a glance was a bit much. Then the mother-son thing, then the corruption thing, then...it just goes on and on adding elements without developing any of them. Adam knows full well Hanane is a journalist trying to interview a guest at a dinner party, but he invites her to the table and is shocked--shocked!--when she writes what she hears and sees. The mother-son thing is a bit gross and borders on child abuse--I would say goes over the border. Why make Adam's family Christian? Just to knock Christians? A Christian Arab-American conspiracy? Please. The mother is a drunk, a border-line child abuser, hates poor people (esp. Egyptians), and is thoroughly unpleasant. Two questions about all that: First, if Adam is a Christian, why is his middle name "Muhammad"? Second, the mother is thoroughly Egyptian, but she is labeled as an American (OK, maybe she emigrated and came back) and a point is made of describing her parents as a hot dog vendor and a (can't remember what the mother was--a singer?)in New York. So how did she get so rich? The scene of Adam beating up and then raping Hanane (his true love?) was disgusting. How are we supposed to think he really loves her? More, why on earth does Hanane want to get back together with him? Is she nuts? Would a Muslim woman (Hanane) be allowed to marry a non-Muslim in Egypt today? Not according to the Qur'an. Is this realistic? Or is it just to set up the fundamentalist brother's motivation? If so, it's clumsy. The brother and his fellow fundamentalists are given no background, no character, no motivation--nothing. They just appear as a device to end the movie. And Adam flips back and forth between loyalty to his family and to his wife--with no apparent struggle, just flipping back and forth every few hours.
So what was this about? None of the characters are admirable--except Uncle Maher, and maybe Hanane. Everyone (rich, poor, Christians, Muslims, fundamentalists, secularists, Americans, Egyptians, etc.) is shown in a bad light. The message I got was they're all bad news--damn them all! A disappointment.
This movie is one of the best romantic dramas and examples of political
realism in the Middle East region. It discusses what is the meaning of
terrorism and who is a terrorist, and who is the real terrorist. The
movie shows how power can destroy the most beautiful things in the
world. The movie is extremely intelligent and it has many interesting
ideas. Every time one watches the movie, it is as if you are seeing it
for the first time because you see additional layers of meaning in the
The movie is a love story between Adam, the son of an American woman and an Egyptian man (who are married only for business reasons without love) and Hanan, a female journalist from a poor family. Adam studied human rights and terrorism. Hanan's brother is a member of a terrorist group. The movie explores how their life develops and grows after their marriage. The American woman becomes jealous on her son and doesn't want someone to take her son and wants to destroy their love story. It's a very touching love story and expresses much about the situation faced by poor Egyptians and gives the viewer lots of questions as to how people become terrorist and what leads a young guy to pursue this path.
Twenty minutes after screening L'AUTRE at a film festival lately, I lost all hope it could be viewed as a serious film and began to see it for what it is- a tacky melodrama. More cliches are impossible to fit in (cyberspace, terrorism, Oedipus complexes, the works). If this is what Egyptian filmmaking is like, Mexican telenovelas are a a refined art form with nuanced acting. Worth seeing if only for the SHOCKING appalling experience of what passes off as brilliant filmmaking in North Africa. A total disgrace to the art form, and a total disgrace to Egypt, which has contributed too much to world culture to let this travesty represent the the state of its cinematic arts.
I am a big movie buff and have been watching great directors such as
Bergman, Felini, Kuberik and see foreign movies on regular basis.
Yousef Chahine is one of the most talented directors today. His movie "The other" exhibits many of the shortcomings of Muslim cultures. The Meeting scene in the airport was brilliant and heartwarming. I loved Chahine's brilliant choice of playing Arabic music at the wedding. The attitude of the rich towards poor is very accurate and the character of Diana was so exemplary of most Westerners attitude and behavior in other countries. I have watched this movie many times and each time I love it more. Chahine tells it like it is and needs no apology or explanation because those who are true movie fans and understand other cultures and their issues appreciate his exposure regarding the Muslim men hitting their wives no matter how educated they are (and even raping them as seen in the movie). Most westerners do not realize that in many Muslim nations women are married young and their children become their obsession so the relationship portrayed was correct. The corruption shown is very true and most Americans are not aware of what American businessmen do in other countries and at what price. This movie gives a good portrayal of complexity of relationships in countries predominately Muslim (even though the main characters are Christian in this movie). I loved the one liner about Americans having trained the son who is a terrorist back from Afghanistan. The scenes showing women among the terrorists are another means to educate most people about the problem not being limited to having men terrorists. Take it from someone who knows movies and downs a large selection for Movies from around the world. Chahine is the Ingamr Bergman of our time, only better.
|External reviews||Official site||Plot keywords|
|Main details||Your user reviews||Your vote history|