دردشات رمضانية… عن عمر

وانقضى أول يوم من رمضان… كل عام وإنتوا بخير. الحمد لله كان خفيف لطيف خاصة إنه يوم جمعة وعطلة يعني لسا ما بلش الجنان في الشوارع

أناعن نفسي كنت متحمسة لرمضان ومشتاقة ييجي عشان يصير في تغيير في روتين الحياة إضافة إلى الهدوؤ والسكينة اللي بتعم الأجواء. أي نعم هدوء وسكينة، لدرجة إنه اليوم كنا أنا وأهلي قاعدين مع بعض بعد العصر والجو هادي وحتى ما تجادلنا حول أي موضوع، كونه إحنا في البيت ديمقراطيين وكل واحد عنده وجهة نظر فدايماً في جدال حول موضوع معين بس اليوم الكل قاعد ومش طايق ينفخ قلبه بنقاش وإقناع… خلص جملة من هون جملة من هون سكّر عالموضوع

طبعاً بعد الفطور ضلينا نترقب مسلسل عمر، خاصة إنه ما في إشي عالتلفزيون يعبي العين. المهم عملت كاسة الشاي وعمّرتها بشوية ميرامية وقعدت أحضر المسلسل أخيراً، بدي أشوف شو فيه

أنا شخصياً ما كنت ضد المسلسل ولا ضد تصوير شخصية عمر رضي الله عنه. قال في ناس معترضين إنه اسم المسلسل “عمر” فقط بدون ألقاب وإضافات، طب يا أخي بالعكس، لما يكون الاسم من دون ألقاب ولا إضافات بكون وقعه أقوى في النفس لأنه يعني إنه الشخصية أشهر من نار على علم وغنية عن التعريف، عدا عن إنه عنوان العمل الفني لازم يكون قصير ومقتصب مش ملخص لقصة المسلسل

ما علينا، آخر همنا العنوان. المهم، بدأ المسلسل ولم تكن عندي أفكار مسبقة للحكم عليه، اللهم كنت حاضرة العصر حلقة برنامج الفاروق لعمرو خالد وأول مشهد من المسلسل كان نفس المشهد اللي وصفه عمر خالد في حلقته. بصراحة القصة كما رواها عمر خالد ورسمتها في مخيلتي كانت أبلغ وأشد تأثيراً من مشاهدتها كمشهد تمثيلي… مش عارفة السبب، يمكن عشان ما حسيت الممثل أعطى شخصية عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه حقيها، وهذا شيء كان المفروض يكون متوقع، فمن يعطي القاروق حقه؟ بس هو حاول

فأول صدمة كانت الممثل نفسه، ما لقيت فيه أوصاف عمر، عمر الذي إذا مشى أسرع وإذا تكلم أسمع وإذا ضرب أوجع.. بعدين كان في للصوت أثره، كان واضح إنه مركب تركيب، الممثل ما كان يحكي بصوته الأصلي بل تم تركيب صوت الإعلامي أسعد خليفة عليه. صوت سعد خليفة مناسب بس الدبلجة خلتتني لوهلى أحس إني عم بحضر مسلسل إيراني

اللغة كانت ممتازة بس حسيت في بعض التكلف، أو يمكنما كانت متكلفة لكن فصاحة العرب في تلك الأيام ستبدو متكلفة لأذن السامع في زمن أصبحت فيه اللغة العربية غريبة

لكن بنرجع لموضوع الخلاف حول المسلسل. قبل فترة قرأت مقالة عن موضوع التصوير في الفن الإسلامي. الشيء المنهي عنه بووضح وبشكل لا نقاش فيه هو تصوير الذات الإلهية وبالتالي أصبح الفنان المسلم بدل أن يصور الذات الإلهية يصور عجزه عن تصويرها فكانت الفنون الإسلامية ذات طابع زخرفي وتجريدي بخلاف الفنون المسيحية مثلاً والتي يغلب عليها الطابع التصويري. وبما إنه الفن الإسلامي ليس فن تصويري أصبح صعباً على الناس تقبل فكرة تصوير الصحابة ولو اختلف فيها العلماء

لكن بصراحة ما يجب التركيز عليه أكثر هو دقة الوقائع التاريخية في القصة وهو أمر يتطلب متابعة المسلسل لمعرفة ما إن كان هناك أخطاء والإشارة إليها، أما مقاطعته فقد يكون ضررها أكثر من نفعها.  بعدين خلينا نحاول نفطر بشوية منطق:  المسلسلات والأفلام أصبحت وسيلة رئيسية في إيصال المعلومات والدخول إلى عقول الأطفال في هذا الزمن، ومهما حاولت تدير بالك على اولادك وتقنعهم يحضروا بارني بدل ما يتابعوا مسلسلات تركية  وهانا مونتانا وأشياء مالهاش علاقة بثقافتنا فما رح تقدر تمسكهم، ورح يحضروها، ولم ما حضروها رح يسمعوا عنها في الشارع والمدرسة… فهل الأفضل يكون المسلسل اللي شاغل عقول الأطفال والشباب هو مسلسل ساقط -عذراً عالكلمة- مثل كتير من مسلسلات الفضائيات ولا يكون مسلسل تاريخي يحكي سيرة صحابي جليل؟ يعني الأطفال هلأ لما يلعبوا  مع بعض بتخيلوا حالهم مراد علمدار اللي هو بطل مسلسل تركي أكشن وما أكشن، شو فيها لو كانوا متابعين مسلسل عمر وجذبتهم وقائعه وصاروا يسألوا عنها وتعلقوا بشخصية عمر وشخصيات الصحابة الآخرين؟

بتذكر وإحنا صغار كم مرة حضرنا فيلم الرسالة وقديش تعرفنا عن قريب على الصحابة من خلاله. وما أثر علي بشكل سلبي على الإطلاق إنه عبد الله غيث مثل دور حمزة سيد الشهداء، واللي مثلها أنطوني كوين في النسخة الإنجليزية من الفيلم، لأنه الموضوع مش موضوع شكل ووجوه الموضوع موضوع سيرة  إنسان عظيم فهمناها وتعرفنا عليها من خلال تصوير شخصيته في الفيلمز حتى شخصية سمية  أول شهيدة ف يالإسلام، لما شفنا مشهد قتلها علق في أذهاننا أكتر وصرنا نقدر نتخيل الموقف ونتعاطف معها أكثر من مجرد سماعه كقصة

وبنرجع بنقول الله أعلم، بس الأفضل نستنى ونشوف النتائج بعد عرض المسلسل… طول عمرنا بنحكي بدنا إعلام هادف وبقدم مواد إلها علاق فينا وفي تاريخنا وفيها توعية للناس وإشي مفيد بدل البلاوي اللي بنحضرها على مدار السنة، بلاش لما حدا يحاول يعمل خطوة جريئة شوي نتهمه في دينه ونقول عنه فاسق وعم برتكب كبيرة من الكبائر…

بس الغريب إنه في أكتر من برنامج هاي السنة عن عمر بن الخطاب بالذات. ممكن الواحد يفكر إنه القنوات العربية عم بتحاول تنمي روح الجهاد والغيرة على الإسلام في الناس وهو أمر مستبعد لأنه هاي القنوات الواحد ما بعين فيها خير وصعب الواحد يتغاضى عن برامج مسح الدماغ وتسفيه الشباب ويقوللك عم بحاولوا ينتجوا جيل يحرر فلسطين، ما إحنا بنعرف مين اصحاب هاي القنوات كمان ولأي دول تابعة وهاي الدول مين اصحابها. وبالتالي بتضل عنا نظرية المؤامرة،  ممكن تكون محاولات استفزازية عشان يطلعوا إيران عن طورها مثلاً . أما قصة إنه يستخدموها لبث الفتنة بين السنة والشيعة العرب فمستبعدة لأنه من أول حلقات في الملسل وبرنامج الفاروق كان الموضوع الرئيس هو الفتنة ومنع الفتنة وكيف كان عمر رضي الله عنه باباً مغلقاً في وجه الفتنة

على كل حال ستبدي لك الأيام ما كنت جاهلاً، وإن شاء الله نشوف نتائج إيجابية وإعلام يرتقي إلى مستوى أفضل بعد هذه التجربة، وكل عام وإنتوا بخير

وكل عام وإنتوا بخير مرة تانية

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Some TV Wisdom

I like it when sitcoms get deep all of a sudden, they could really surprise you…

Malcolm (all covered in slime) : Oh, mother… You know what? I’m glad! This is appropriate. Now my life looks exactly how I feel! How could you screw me over like that?

Louis: Because you were going to take that job, and we are not going to let you throw your life away.

Malcolm: How is being rich throwing my life away?!

Louis: Because it’s not the life you’re supposed to have! The life you’re supposed to have is you go to Harvard, and you earn every fellowship and internship they have. You graduate first in your class, and you start working in public service, either district attorney or running some foundation, and then you become governor of a mid-sized state, and then you become president!

Malcolm: What?!

Louis: Of the United States.

Malcolm: Dad?

Hal: I’m sorry, son. It’s true. I thought you knew.Our expectations started out much smaller, but you just kept upping the ante.

Louis: What if I don’t want to be president?

Louis: It’s too late that. You’re gonna do it.

Malcolm: Oh, really? Have you decided my position on capital-gains tax cuts? What are my foreign policy objectives?!

Louis: That doesn’t matter.What does matter is you’ll be the only person in that position who will ever give a crap about people like us. We’ve been getting the short end of the stick for thousands of years, and I, for one, am sick of it. Now, you are going to be president, mister, and that’s the end of it!

Malcolm: Did it ever occur to you that I could have taken this job, gotten really rich and then bought my way into being president?

Louis: Of course it did. We decided against it.

Malcolm: What?!

Louis: Because then you wouldn’t be a good president. You wouldn’t have suffered enough.

Malcolm: I’ve been suffering all my life.

Louis: I’m sorry, it’s not enough.

Louis: You know what it’s like to be poor, and you know what it’s like to work hard.

Louis: Now you’re going to learn what it’s like to sweep floors and bust your ass and accomplish twice as much as all the kids around you. And it won’t mean anything because they will still look down on you. And you will want so much for them to like you, and they just won’t. And it’ll break your heart. And that’ll make your heart bigger and open your eyes and finally you will realize that there’s more to life than proving you’re the smartest person in the world. I’m sorry, Malcolm, but youdon’t get the easy path. You don’t get to just have fun and be rich and live the life of luxury.

Malcolm: This is unbelievable! You actually expect me to be president. No, no, I’m sorry. You expect me to be one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States!

Louis: You look me in the eye and
you tell me you can’t do it.

And this is from Malcolm’s valedictory speech:

Most of us have been
dreaming of this day for years,

the day we leave childhood
and achieve independence.

But even if we move
thousands of miles away,

there’s no escape.

Our families are
coming with us.

They’ll be with us forever.

In our habits, our gestures,
and in the choices we make.

So we’ll never be set-free,

we’ll never be alone.

But the most surprising piece of wisdom comes from Reese:

Maybe life  is like a roller coaster, we only go down to have fun going back up

Told you…

دائماً… تقريباً

في أي مسلسل عربي على أي قناة في أي وقت تجد واحداً أو أكثر مما يلي… 0

 

رجل أعمال غني بتزوج وحدة قد اولاده وبروح شهر عسل وبرجع شباب

 

فتاة في العقد الثالث أو الرابع من العمر  كل اللي في المسلسل بحبوها وكأنه ما ضل غيرها في الدنيا

 

واحد هبيلة (عادة في المسلسلات الأردنية)

 

عرس لعيلة هاي كلاس أو عرس شعبي (بكسر الشين) وعلى الأغلب بتصير مصيبة أو بتكبس عليهم الشرطة

 

وحدة بتروح عند مشعوذ تعمل عمل لجوزها

 

أخوين، واحد طيب وواحد شرير، وعارف إنه شرير

 

واحد بفكروا مات في الحرب وبطلع عايش

 

وحدة بتتجوز غصب وبطلع جوزها أنذل من النذالة

 

ولا ننسى شارة البداية اللي مدتها 3 سنوات وبحطوا فيها لقطات بتحرق المسلسل

 

وأحلى إشي اللقطات اللي بموت فيها حدا أو بسمعوا خبر محزن… ببدا الصراخ واللطم بعدين الفلاش باكس إنه يا مشاهد ابكي بالعافية!

 

والمشاهد اللي بكون فيها الممثل بحيك في عقله، محادثات بتصير وإذا كان ببكي بتسمع صوت البكا، في عقله! كإنه تكنيك عشان يوصلوا الفكرة للمشاهد ويختصروا على حالهم

                                            

وأهم إشي إنهم بتوصوا بمسلسلات رمضان، ما بخلوا كباريه ولا رقاصة ولا مشاهد محرجة من شرهم… فاهمين رمضان غلط

 

المشكلة إنه صعب نلوم الغزو الثقافي هون… هاي الزبالة زبالتنا!

 

**مع الاعتذار للاستثناءات القليلة  على الشاشات العربية

My Favorite (possibly obsolete) Video Games

So a new trend appeared on Twitter called “Thursday Theme” or “Theme Thursday” I’m not sure of the name, but the bottom line is that each Thursday twitterers (or should I say twitters or tweeting heads I don’t know), each Thursday they agree on a theme for their profile pictures. Last week it was cartoons from the 80’s, which brought Bck childhood memories, this week it is video games, which also brings back a whole lot of memories. So, in celebration of this theme, I decided to list my favorite video games.

Honestly, I’m kind of old school when it comes to video games, the newest thing I’ve played was on Play Station 2 and after that I got cut off. I don’t even know what’s X-box is and it was just few months ago that I learned what Wee is. Actually I first heard about it in an email about a woman who died while participating in a competition called “Hold your pee for a wee”, but whatever. And for what it’s worth, I’m a firm believer that the old video games where harder to get sick of. So, here’s my short list:

1- Super Mario

Do I even have to say it? Of course it’s Mario, everyone’s favorite since the Stone Age. I’m trying to remember the feeling when we discovered the secret of putting that turtle in a corner and jumping over it to get as many lives (or up’s as we used to call them) as we could. Stepping over those little annoying mushrooms, jumping into green and orange pipes, it was the ultimate gaming experience!

2- Crash Team Racing

Going on break-neck speed while shooting missiles at other cars and planting bombs in their way, need I say more? Of course other Crash games are great too, like Crash Bandicoot and Crash Bash, especially when you’re playing against other 3 people or in teams of 2.

3- Worms World Party

Hilarious, creative and extremely competitive!

4- Driver

Honestly, I can’t say for sure that I used to get to anything playing this game; it’s just that I enjoyed it until the car got wrecked and the game was over. I mean, driving around the city, wrecking cars and being chased by the police, isn’t that a sweet fantasy for any decent citizen?

5- Gran Turismo

Racing, racing, racing! And, speed tests to obtain driver license (A, B AND AB) as well as buying and selling cars to build your own garage. I wasted so much time on that!!

6- Toy Story

My long lost love!! A game with funny, colorful characters and challenging tasks (well at least the first time around) I got really addicted to that game and I’m willing to play it again. It was really fun the first time I played it, wondering where the next level will take place. The scenes from the movie were an extra bonus!

Trivia: the first video game we owned was a Rambo that my father brought us from UAE a million years ago. It had joy sticks and the most basic graphics; nonetheless we never grew bored of it!

So, do you have any favorite video games?

This is Why Morgan Freeman Rocks

This is Why Morgan Freeman Rocks

Friday, January 01, 2010

Okay, so I’ve just watched a short interview with Morgan Freeman done by an Arabic channel in Dubai. Frankly, some of the questions got on my nerves and I could imagine what was going through Freeman’s head having to answer them. All in all, it was interesting, and that man rocks! Here are some interesting points, positive and negative:

First. The host started by asking him about his experience co-piloting his own private jet. Valid question, especially that he said he always wanted to be a pilot. But then the flying thing gets out of hand when she asks him how it feels to fly and how free it makes you feel. I mean, you’re sitting down with Morgan Freeman, you don’t ask him about being in an airplane, you ask him about movies!! Blockbusters! I’m sure there’s more than enough people to tell you how it feels to fly a plane, let alone be in one, at least more than those who starred in one of the greatest movies in Hollywood’s history. Way more. His answers, however, were dead-on. He said that it really doesn’t make you feel free because you’re controlled by people on the ground after all and you will keep thinking about how to get to your destination safely driving a plane at such high altitudes. In her defense, maybe she’s not the one who prepared the questions and she seemed to be a bit too excited.

Then they move to politics and he mentions an interesting point. He says that Bill Clinton was one of the best presidents the US has ever had. He says that the country was in such a good shape when he left off then it was like “they crashed and burned”. Then he goes on to say: “but now we survived that and we have president Obama”. He might as well have said: Bush screwed thing up and Clinton seemed to be one of the best because he was sandwiched between two Bushes. I mean, how much worse can he do than a second and a third Gulf war? Any infidelity scandal pales in comparison…

Then, they move to talk about the Arab world, and he says that we have some of the most beautiful women in the world. But the host couldn’t just take the compliment, she was like: but I think the difference between Arab women and Western women is that they put more make up, they are more natural. Well, Freeman didn’t agree, but I guess he would if he saw one episode of a Kuwaiti TV show. That would be a shocker! But thankfully, no label has been stamped on Arab women yet because of the minority who seem to believe against every fact, physical proof and logic that when it come to make up, less and more. Actually more makes you closer to a clown than you are to an actress. A creepy clown. You know the movie IT, right?

Then comes my favorite part. First she asks him about any modern or historical characters that he would like to play in a movie. As you would imagine, Arab leaders were out of the question. Actually he said that he would like to play a role of a character that was played before. He said that it was a man called “Sulaiman: who fought for Jerusalem during the Crusades and won. It was very nice although I’m not sure who this Suleiman is, I’m afraid he got the name wrong. Could he mean Saladdin? Then they talked about peace, stereotypes and the Middle East and he said something about the movie “Paradise Now”. It was interesting that he described it as the “movie from Palestine” and when he talked about the conflict he said “Jews and Palestinians”. I don’t know but I liked the fact that he didn’t say Israelis, as if alluding to the truth about their so-called state and their discrimination and apartheid against people from other faiths. It shouldn’t be a big surprise coming from someone who just played Nelson Mandela.

I have one thing to say, Mr. Freeman: Touché.

An Open Letter to MBC Group

An Open Letter to MBC Group

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Usually when you read a title like this it sounds like something tactful, grave and pretty serious is about to be said. But here’s my open message to MBC group: Get a Life! Now here’s an open message for you, how about that?

I don’t know where to start, from stupid stupid stupid shows like ET and the insider or those creepy dubbed movies?

Well, let’s start with the utterly ridiculous shows since they were there first. A daily show that rarely talks about something interesting, let alone of an interest to the middle-eastern viewer. I mean, what in the world do I care, what does anybody care if John Gosling whoever he is, is doing Yoga! Yes, that’s actually a piece of news, they have a picture of him taking a Yoga pose, wow! Seriously WOW!! Okay, then? What did we achieve here? The moral of the story? Someone who became famous overnight for having 8 children and is trashing his wife on TV and of course she’s trashing him too and the whole thing is a large pile of white trash, and then MBC brings it to you, why? Let me make a WILD guess: because this network is getting trashier everyday and seems to think that the viewers are a bunch of morons or celebrity-obsessed fanatics… And what’s even worse is that they TRANSLATE these shows! Like they really believe anybody cares!

I know that they are trying to fill the broadcast hours but then why don’t they have something like the Daily Show for example? That’s something of substance and will at least show that the network respects its viewers…

And what’s with the dubbed movies? Couldn’t they choose any other movie other that Brave Heart to BUTCHER it!! Well, at least brave heart was done is classical Arabic, the real disaster was The Godfather, dubbed in Syrian! Now that must be the most ridiculous joke in TV’s history! It’s a joke, right?

And what the heck is MBC3 about? I’ll tell you: the definition of double standards. They pitch all kind of junk on children and they claim that they are child-friendly by editing specific scenes and manipulating the translation in a really weird way! I mean, even if you didn’t translate “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” and “kiss” and “hug” as what they really mean in the context, children believe it or not are not stupid! They can get the idea, so stop treating them as a bunch of drooling chimpanzees and stop feeding them all that crap!

So, MBC, or whoever is in charge of you, get a grip! And please consider shutting down 90% of your channels, I think it would be a HUGE favor for the Arab nation!

Jordanian Short Films Screening: A Brief Review

Yesterday we attended the screening of 5 short films at the Royal Film Commission. The films were done by a group of 14 apprentice movie makers, who participated in a 5-week workshop held by the Royal Film Commission in collaboration with the University of South California.

Before giving the brief review, I should note that I’m not an art critic, so this is for the most part my personal opinion as a viewer and observer.

The first film: One Day

This film shed light on a very important issue that is somehow becoming an unspoken taboo, or rather the elephant in the room that most of us are unwilling to acknowledge. Does love fade away after marriage, or is it us who have very high expectations?  I can’t say I fell in love with the film, maybe because I couldn’t relate, but my cousin said that if I was married, I would probably have liked it. After all, I trust that the writer and the creator of the movie must have had a message to deliver through the movie, and it did get across. On another subject, I think there was a serious problem with the language. Apparently, the script was written in English and then literally translated into Arabic, which sort of caused and identity crisis for the movie. It felt like watching a dubbed version of The Young and the Restless.

The second film: By the Sidewalk

This was the one I liked the most. It’s a movie that would make you laugh at the first and cry at the end. Ruba Haddad, who played the role of the homeless beggar did an awesome job and was extremely convincing. It was my favorite particularly because of the last scene, when her features softens, and all of a sudden she stops being the shrewd hobo cussing people out and calling them all kind of names. She turns out into a completely different person, and her dreamy eyes and faint smile say what you may take to mean: “I’m a human too”. The film had a strong influence on the audience, which was very obvious in the long round of applause that followed the last frame.

The third film: Yasmina

I wasn’t able to form an objective opinion on this one, since I was already familiar with the script, so I was technically waiting for the events to unfold. Honor crimes, a very important and sensitive subject, yet very complicated. Visually speaking, the film was really good, but I have more to say on the subject itself. As I said, the issue of honor crimes is very complicated. There is more to it than killing a female relative in the name of honor. It’s about the Jordanian law imposing minor punishments on those who commit such crimes, so I was hoping for at least one allusion to that point. In all fairness, the writer said she was trying to focus on Islam’s stance on this, but due to problems in sound editing some essential parts of the film were cut.

The fourth film

Well, what’s in a name! I’m really embarrassed to say I forgot the name of the film! Not that it wasn’t memorable enough, but I’m having memory issues. The film tackled a very important subject, parents and children alike complain about: teenage. What’s the best way to teach teenagers responsibility and independence at the same time? And when they make a mistake, which is bound to happen, what’s the best way to make them realize their mistake and learn from it? It reminded me of something my uncle once said, and I thought it was very true. He said: “None of us parents have an experience in raising kids, we are all experimenting.” The film tackled the subject in a funny way, which made it appeal more to the audience. The film is very realistic, and I’m pretty sire it was based on a true story. But again, the elephant in the room.

The fifth film: The Other Side of My neighborhood

I’m glad they left this one for the end; it was really something, a very professional experience on all levels. Great script, great visual effects, great editing, great music and the actors did an amazing job too. As for the audience, it was a real human experience; for the film brought to light the problem of those we all know they live amongst us, but hardly take notice of. Proper notice that is. If I talked more about it, I would probably ruin it for those who want to watch it, so I’ll just stop here.

I just want to note at the end that those guys did an awesome job and proved a high level of talent, especially given their young age and little experience. This gives hope for change in the Jordanian film industry scene, which is hoped to reflect on the society as a whole.

Originally Posted on Sunday, August 05, 2007 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/8/283337.html

Reviewing I’m in Jerusalem

As we watched Abdullah Joudeh standing inside the Dome of the Rock mosque, my brother turned to me and said: This makes you feel lucky that our roots go back to that place. In deed, that’s the way I always felt.

I’m in Jerusalem is a golden prize-winning documentary film featuring the trip of Abdullah Joudeh, a young boy from Gaza, through the city of Jerusalem. He takes you on a trip through the streets of Jerusalem, visits the holy places, the markets, talks to the people and participates in demonstrations. All the way through the trip, Abdullah keeps you glued to your seat as he explores the charms of the old city. Signs of astonishment and bewilderment keep drawing themselves on Abdualla’s face as he asks questions and gets answers he didn’t seem to expect. Perhaps the most disappointing part for him was when he ran all the way to the dome of the rock, full of excitement, and when he gets to the shrine of Al-Aqsa mosque, he is shocked to see tens of Jews praying at the western wall of the shrine, that we call The wall of Buraq, while the Jew call the wall of wailing.

Perhaps the last part of the movie is the what makes it all make sense; for the trip turns out to be a dream, and it is actually a dream, not only the dream of Abdullah, but of every one of us. After the film it struck me that at some point I wished very hard that I could go there, and when I ran the film through my head I found that it really resembled a dream.

I do feel ultimately luck and grateful that, of all people, Allah made me not only a Palestinian, but also from Jerusalem, and what this film did is that it intensified this sentiment all the more, and revived a tender dream, hopefully not too distant, of being there sometime on a trip of my own.

I didn’t find much about it on the net, since the movie is relatively new, but I found this interview with the creator of the film, Muna Jraidy, you can read it to find more about the movie: http://www.alwatanvoice.com/arabic/news.php?go=show&id=94518

Originally Posted on Saturday, July 28, 2007 http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/7/277951.html

on

Shunker

The other day I went to see Die Hard 4 with a friend. I’m not big on action movies, but my friend was in the mood for something where cars crashed and people beat the crap out of each other. As it turned out, she hadn’t seen any of the previous parts of Die Hard, so she was actually afraid Bruce Willis would die by the end of the movie. I was like: Relax! He won’t die, that’s the point! It’s “HARD”

The movie wasn’t bad for an action movie raging with violence and negative energy. Yet, I thought there was something different in this one; because it reminded me of an Indian movie I saw some while ago…

To begin with, I don’t think that anything you’d ever seen was something like the Great Adventures of Shunker. Yes, that was the name of our protagonist, Shunker. I didn’t know how to start telling this timeless legend, so I thought the best way is to introduce it the way another legend was introduced, and say…

In a certain corner of India, the name of which I don’t choose to remember, there lately lived a deaf-mute handsome young man, who bore the name of Shunker.

Shunker was no Don Quixote, no Samson, no William Wallas, but he possessed certain bravery and nobility of heart as no man in his village ever had. One day, Shunker’s heart started to beat with an unfamiliar feeling, his forehead began to sweat, and his eyes twinkled like two stars in a cloudless night. He was falling in love.

But of course, love doesn’t come for free, there’s always a price tag attached, and for Shunker, there was the Devil to pay. He decided to stand up for the Girl he loved, whose name doesn’t matter;for she was the love object of Shunker, who decided to fight the evil forces, incarnated in the form of horrible men trying to steal his beloved one. You know those well, they are present in every Indian movie, err, in every timeless legend.

The evil men wouldn’t leave the love birds alone, they insisted on taking Shunker’s sweetheart and put her in a whorehouse (Don’t ask me why). But it was against the will of Shunker they did of course, for if it was in his power, he would never let them do it. So, as what happens every time a hero stands up for his honor, a melee ensued. They all ended up on the top of a mountain, the name of which also doesn’t matter; for above that very mountain stood Shunker, fighting the forces of evil, trying to save his love.

Then, there on that very mountain, happened what no one had expected (Or had they?) Shunker was held by the arms, and then one of the horrible men, who was probably a pimp, came forward and slashed his throat [gasp] then threw him over the edge of the mountain, into a deep abyss…

Now, what do you think would happen to an average human being if his throat was cut and then he was thrown from above a mountain? Most probably, he would die at once. But no, we’re not talking about an average human being here, we’re talking about Shunker!

Down at the lower edge of the mountain, there was passing a shepherd, whose name doesn’t matter, and as he was passing, he saw trickles of blood dripping form above. When he looked upward, he saw something he wasn’t expecting to see. It was Shunker dangling from a tree branch, and to his surprise, he was still alive.

The good shepherd took Shunker home and took good care of him. He didn’t only treat his wounds, but also operated on him. Yes, our shepherd was not only a shepherd. He was a surgeon too! He opened Shunker’s voice box and tampered with his vocal cords, so when Shunker woke up, he was not only safe and sound, he could talk as well!

Then, one night when Shunker was lying in bed, his wounds still fresh, the shephered, who was also a singer, was playing some music and singing his heart-felt songs. In the same time, Shunker’s woman was trapped in a room in the whorehouse miles away,  panicked and lonely. She let out a cry: Shunkaaaaaaar! And, to everyone’s surprise, Shunker rose from his sleep, and I can’t tell if he felt his sweetheart was in danger or that he actually heard it, since the surgical operation probably improved his hearing to a great extent. He got up from his bed, with his fresh wounds, and ran, yes, he didn’t ride, he ran all the way to the cathouse where his beloved was, and beat the crap out of everyone who was there to be beaten, and saved his sugar muffin, who was dumbfounded as he not only came back to her alive, but also able to talk, to tell her what he always wanted to say.

This, my friends, is the story of Shunker. Moral of the story:

1- Indian movies suck even worse than Arabic ones

2- Hollywood movies can be so Bollywood sometimes

3- Love triumphs over evil

Have I ever mentioned I love Finding Nemo?

Originally posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 on http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/7/271463.html

Cinemania

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

http://oeliwat.jeeran.com/archive/2007/7/262989.html