Written by Farida Gamal
Although Last Eid Al Fitr gathered a lot of amusing film releases, Al Asleyeen is a film that caught our attention with its exotic ambience, distinctiveness, and the peculiarity of it’s name. It was released on June 26th of this year, which was the first day of Eid Al Fitr. The script was written by Ahmed Mourad, the film was directed by Marwan Hamed, and the cast included Maged Al Kedwany as ‘Samir’, Menna Shalaby as ‘Soraya’ and Khaled Al Sawy as the mysterious ‘Roshdy Abaza’.
Samir is a husband and a father of two who has been a long-term employee in a bank with a normal, stable life and who was financially well-off until his life turned topsy-turvy when the bank he worked for decided to lay him off. Samir finds himself unemployed, and hides this from his family for quite a while. Following these incidents, he hears an unexpected ring at the door, only to find a mysterious box with an iphone, and receives a call that shifts not only his personal perspectives, but also his lifestyle.
The film had several positive angles, but the visual effects done by the talented team of ‘Mercury Visual Solutions’ was the highlight. Some graphics were added so professionally that they looked almost real, giving the film exotic effects which perfectly suited the mysterious atmosphere. Also, the lights and colour palette worked as a team. The emotions in each scene were amplified by the right colors to convey them, while the lights helped either to define and enhance these colors, or were dimmed to disregard other unnecessary colors in the surrounding environment. One example would be showing the repetition of Samir’s daily routine by using specific colors in every shot during that routine. Moreover, the lights enhanced these colors specifically so you would feel this repetition – these are some proficient details!
Another positive angle was the script remarkably written by the talented Ahmed Mourad. Every word felt like it has an underlying meaning, driving you to focus on what each character has to say and their motive. The work of an artist – Ahmed Mourad doesn’t disappoint!
Finally, the acting and directing were stunning! Maged Al Kedwany couldn’t have been any better, as well as Khaled Al Sawy, who managed to portray the evil character with the mysterious motives ideally. Menna Shalaby gave a fascinating, attention-grabbing performance; her character defined distinctiveness and difference. She managed to convey the true magic and spontaneity of this character, and truly, she couldn’t have done it better.
However, there were a few disappointments. As much as the script was truly professional and coherent as previously noted, it was a bit prolonged and ambiguous. There are times when you truly can’t understand what’s going on. Some points were clarified in the end, but tons of other points still weren’t deciphered. In spite of the fact that the moral or purpose of the story was incredible; sadly, it was regularly mysterious.
Lastly, the duration of the film itself, although not very long, was mostly wasted on moving around in circles through the same events till finally we were illuminated with the moral of the film.
Overall, it’s an interesting film even though it seems to cater more to a type of audience who value the technical and pre-production phase, and who put that into consideration rather than only judging by the acting. Regardless of the disappointments, this film is an original piece of art given significant hard work and passion, as well as an attractive, twisting touch. If you’re still eager to know who are ‘Al Asleyeen’, you will have to watch it, as we don’t do spoilers. Besides, when do we ever find such a fine film by Egyptian film-makers? Right on, Marwan Hamed and Ahmed Mourad!
What do you think?
How did you like ‘Al Asleyeen’ ? Who gave your favorite performance? Did you get the moral of the movie right away? Or did it give you any trouble? Which Eid Al Adha film are you planning to watch?