A young photographer, Tariq, must choose between his love and his duty of this aristocratic family. He can either run away with his lover, an orphan from the lower class, or go through with his arranged marriage to the daughter of a judge.
In this achingly romantic tale, handsome young Tariq is about to marry Bilquis, eldest daughter of a prominent and powerful judge. But as he wanders the ancient city of Sana'a late one night, he spots a beautiful young woman dancing in the street and falls madly in love with her. Before long, the young groom must choose between following his heart and protecting his family's honor. Filmed entirely on location in the ancient city of Sana'a, this exquisite film is the first feature ever to come out of Yemen. Written by
Alex O. Williams
I recently saw this at the 2007 Palm Springs International Film Festival but was not impressed with this film being billed as the first feature film shot in Yemen. The old capital city of Yemen is Sana'a and I would expect to see more of the old historic city from this film's director Bader Ben Hirsi who previously shot a documentary about Yemen. It would have been more beneficial getting the viewer of this film more into the film by giving us more of Sana'a itself. We don't know much or anything about this setting except for the corny English voice over and the panoramic sweep of the city that sets the film up. With it's 1950's type travelogue opening I thought maybe this was going to be a tongue-in-cheek comedy. Actually there are a few well-crafted comedic moments but the plot is pretty week with no subplots to the storyline. No great acting here either as none of these actors are actors and a drama/acting coach had to be brought in to work with the cast for five months before they started shooting the film. There are a lot of women in the cast but most of their screen time is spent behind a veil and the face is so important in conveying emotion on screen that it just doesn't work. This is the story of a son of a diplomat who works as an aide to an English photographer and is engaged to the daughter of a prominent judge but is sidetracked in love by his infatuation and ultimate love for a woman of a lower class stature. The film's title comes from the weak ending. Due to the hassles the filmmakers had to endure with the government and the Ministry of Culture it doesn't look like many more fictional feature films will be coming out of Yemen anytime soon. Possibly an all Yemeni produced film eventually but not with another country like the UK involved. I would give this a 5.0 out of 10.
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