"Egyptian filmmaking can be just as silly and commercial as mainstream US."
An aging (but not noticeably) singer and actress is having a midlife crisis as her husband has left her for her best friend, her screenwriter is stumped for new projects, the current director is more irascible that ever, and her daughter is experiencing the love she wishes she could have again.Then along comes a scam artist who convinces her of his love, when it is actually her money that he loves and readily mulcts. The family and friends catch on quickly, but Malak doesn’t want to believe it, so it has to be elaborately proved, which then serves as a perfect concept for the screenwriter’s new story. What director Youssef Chahine proves is that Egyptian filmmaking can be just as silly and commercial (also conventional) as films originating in the U.S. or anywhere for that matter. There are typical (surprising maybe considering where the criticism is coming from) digs at technology — computers, cameras, mostly cell phones and their ringers — the twisty, convoluted nature of deception and love, the insight into the film industry, etc. The fantasy sequences are the flattest parts of the film and actually weigh it down, but the rest is seemingly buoyant enough to prevent much virulence. In the long-run, the film goes on longer than it needs to and keeps on drawing out the inevitable. Tunisian singer Latifa plays Malak, and she is wonderfully energetic. I assume that she performed all of the songs herself, and even if they were redubbed, Latifa has a powerful and exciting voice.
With Ahmed Bedeir, the pretty Rubi, Mustapha Chaaban, Ahmed Mehrez, Magda El Khatib, Ahmed Wafik and Zaki Abdel Wahab.[Redeemable.]