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The Long Night (2009)

Al-layl al-taweel (original title)
Three political prisoners are released from a Syrian prison after a long time. Their families prepare a celebration. Can they adjust to freedom? Meanwhile, their cell-mate, a stage actor, starts to develop a high fever.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Khaled Taja ...
Kareem
Amal Arafa ...
Orobah
Najah Safkouni ...
Hasan
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Storyline

Three political prisoners are released from a Syrian prison after a long time. Their families prepare a celebration. Can they adjust to freedom? Meanwhile, their cell-mate, a stage actor, starts to develop a high fever.

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10 October 2009 (USA)  »

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The Long Night  »

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Just looked fake, and looked like no one was even trying to make it good
15 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As someone who grew up (mostly) in the Middle East, I understood the language, knew the actors, and knew the director. I went to see this with a friend (with no connection to the ME) fully expecting an at least decent film with reasonable acting. The premise was promising, but was completely wasted by the collective ineptitude of everyone involved.

Firstly, everything looked artificial. The actors had loads of make up (even the men), the prison cell didn't look real, the dialogue was wooden and unconvincing, the scenes in Paris were completely pointless and also very fake and unnatural. This is all very strange, given that I know these people can act, I've seen them do it before! Perhaps Hatem Ali got lost, trying to imitate French Art-house? So, long and not-so-meaningful pauses, no dialogue, and badly translated scenes acted by a crazy playwright in his prison cell? Oh, and of course, the obligatory relationship drama bolted on top.

Also, there seemed to be attempt to use fewer actors? Everyone was someone's partner, but also someone's brother/ daughter / son. Which made the little plot that was there really confusing.

Anyway, none of the film made sense, it was boring, and the relationship between the characters weren't explored, there was no humour, and no characters one could engage with or feel for. It just falls flat in every way possible.

So in summary, kitschy villas, a lot of make up, and boredom, that's what I remember from it. What a waste of talent, time and story.


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