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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 1:38 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom

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Yomeddine review – Egyptian leper colony drama is slight and sugary.


A man who has recovered from leprosy goes in search of the father who abandoned him in a sentimental drama that infantilises its lead character.

Yomeddine (the title means “day of judgement” in Arabic) is a gentle, but persistently sugary road movie, set in Egypt. There is a streak of sentimentality – with which I have no real problem – but also a kind of infantilisation.

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Beshay is a man who has recovered from leprosy, but left with extensive scarring: he makes cash by scavenging for sellable items from the local garbage dump. Bashay is played with relaxed candour and without prosthetics by non-professional Rady Gamal. The feature was in fact developed by the director AB Shawky from his earlier documentary short entitled The Colony, about the Abu Zaabal leper colony, just outside Cairo. Bashay has been raised in the colony as a Christian, and evidently married to a woman who has depression which has been insensitively and negligently treated.

When tragedy strikes Bashay, he arrives at a midlife crisis and resolves to travel somehow, anyhow, to his home village which is hundreds of miles away – to find his family, to reconnect with them, and perhaps to confront them about the way his father abandoned him. This he does sweetly in the company of a trusting young boy from the neighbouring orphanage, played by another non-professional newcomer: Ahmed Abdelhafiz. This boy’s nickname, to which he responds as earnestly as any given name, is “Obama”. It is a sort of joke which is not explicitly acknowledged until the very end when he says that his name is the same as “the guy on TV”. The humour or irony struck me on watching the film as slightly condescending and ill-considered.
Obama stows away on the covered donkey-cart that Bashay has procured for his great journey. He is furious on finding the boy at first, but then they become firm friends and have many wildly implausible adventures together on the road, the unlikely nature of which we are encouraged to overlook in the interests of sympathising with his condition and applauding his stoicism and courage.

Comedy is the solvent for this situation - comedy of both the gentle sort and the tougher, more acid kind when Bashay befriends a crowd of quasi-Tod-Browning disabled beggars who are finally – and again, very implausibly – to hook our heroes up with a free ride to the home village.

But the pain is present too. There is a flashback to the awful boyhood moment when Bashay was left at the colony’s gates wearing a sackcloth mask which looks very like the famous mask of The Elephant Man. Later, in a bus, the grownup Bashay will furiously rail at everyone shrinking from him in disgust: “I am a human being!” His humanity is to come into full focus when he finally encounters his father. It is an affecting scene.

But why was his journey only dramatically valid when taken in company with a little boy of colour named “Obama”? This is an intelligent adult we are talking about, with some hard won life experiences, and someone who appears to have had an adult relationship. I’d somehow preferred to have learned more about his marriage than the rather quaint Chaplin-and-the-kid set-up. It is a rather slight dramatic experience.

Source: ... and-sugary


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 5:58 pm  |  Posted from: Egypt

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I had a mate in the UK that was a leprosy sufferer, he fell apart laughing one day watching Laurel and Hardy.

Life is your's to do with as you wish- do not let other's try to control it for you. Count Dusak- 1345.

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