The last scene of the movie, the girl is in the airport, leaving the country after getting her heart broken by her old boy friend. Suddenly, comes our hero, shouting: Ba7ibbeeeeek! And they live happily ever after…
This was a scene of some Egyptian movie that was shown on T.V a zillion times. It was on TV while I was doing some work on the PC, -so I was indeliberately listening to the dialogue. After it finished, I found myself thinking of something, but I shut the idea out because I felt I was almost going to blow a gasket.
When I think of the difference, well maybe different is not the right word, the huge gigantic thing whatever it is called, between a movie like “el7ob el awwal” (the first love” and a movie like “The silence of the lambs”, “Blood Diamond”, or “The pursuit of Happiness”… You name it!
Lately, Arabic movies were divided between 3 categories:
1) The story of a group of girls and boys, falling in love with each other while being involved in something together
2) Comedies, sometime funny with a smart streak, and sometimes nothing more than a farce, like “Al-limby” series
3) Movies in which someone tried to do something different, like Mafia.
Leaving the 3rd category aside, how many movies of the first 2 categories have we had in the last few years? Too many, more than enough actually! I think there are 2 problems in these movies; the first is that they insult the audience’s intelligence; the second is neglecting the great potential and talents of movie makers, actors and other people in the film industry in the Arab World.
I don’t want to sound like a stiff-neck or something, but let’s be realistic. The whole poor visual effects, poor sound mixing, stupid sexual innuendos, disgusting love scenes, typical dialogue, typical stories and uncreative imitations. It’s visually, auditory and mentally disturbing! And then you watch a Hollywood or foreign movie that keeps you mesmerized in your seat after the last scene, and you wonder… Why?
I don’t really know why. Don’t say we don’t have the same capabilities. We’re not talking about Hollywood production only here, many low-budget movies are just as good as Oscar winning ones. So the question returns: Why? Maybe they attempt to cut cost and increase profits. Maybe they think this is what the people want. Maybe this is really what appeals to a very large population. Maybe it’s just bad taste, and maybe there’s something else to it.
Can we do better?
I’d say yes! In the last few years Jordan witnessed a revolution in movie making. Talented film makers began to surface and there movies saw the light. I know they are mostly short movies, but they indicate the potential we have. New creative ideas, an eye that sees more, and a high sense of whatever is necessary to produce a visually entertaining picture.
But, the problems remains here that the road of those talented movie-makers-in-the-making is not paved. They need support, sponsoring, guidance, learning more and more.
Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see a Jordanian movie in the Academy Awards. “Best foreign movie”. Wouldn’t that be cool? Yes, and when that day comes –in sha’a Allah- I will dare to make a comparison again, and rest assured I won’t flip.
Originally posted on Saturday, July 7 2007 on