Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sea of Crap

Stars sink in the Sea of Stars

After attending the premiere of Bahr El Negoom, I pondered over how one could possibly write an honest review about this movie without being offensive. I decided it wasn't possible…not when a movie is this bad. And why should I be tactful in pointing out the horridness of this movie when its makers were so blatant in their offence to the audience while making it? No effort was made to spare us the torture of having to watch an extended, mindless and poorly implemented advertisement.

Had it not been an invitation I received with the knowledge that the stars would be present, I would not have attended, and even with all that I do regret wasting my time with this movie. Haifa was present at the premiere and I was almost stampeded by people charging at her. Had it not been for 'Gigantor' her body guard, she would have been dead meat. What's all the fuss about a talent-less Barbie doll? I'm talking about artistic talent of course, but we've come to realize that people are just looking for other kinds of 'talents'. I suppose that's what the producers were thinking of and counting on while making this movie.

It's not so much that the movie was bad, it's just that it was so damn ugly and embarrassing. It was ugly in a way that can almost scar the human soul. It was called Bahr El Negoom or Sea of Stars, and rightly so, for it is like a sea where its stars have sunk. Unfortunately for the stars, who were probably paid a hefty amount to sell their souls to the devil, the movie did nothing to increase their stardom, but in effect the little they may have had plummeted to the depth of the sea on account of this movie. I'm sure that all the fans will not take well to being tortured by their favorite artists. Even worse, Pepsi, the sponsoring company might have affected its image negatively, for after the movie, the mere sight of the Pepsi can brought back memories of this torture and made me want to puke.

I never regarded the silliness of making music videos till I saw this movie. When watching a music channel you can ignore the silly moves done by the singers and dancers in the context of watching a song, but when it's within a movie, the absurdity really shines because of all the silliness embedded in reality. All the sexiness of Haifa with her come to bed moves has been lost in the context of a real life; the nervous twitch that Wael Kafoury that looks like interesting camera work in close-ups just doesn't seem that attractive when he's talking in medium shots rather than singing. Carol Samaha was out to prove that she's capable of competing with Haifa's seductive powers, wearing a sexy skirt and top and moving her body to the music, but no amount of shape, curves nor clothes could have camouflaged the monkey dance she delivered. Lotfy Labib, while usually giving performances that I enjoyed very much has really managed to annoy me, but then again it was fitting of this movie.

The pain while watching this movie was so intense that I was worried if I shall be able to retain what remains of my manhood after completing its viewing. But instead of just relaying the pain I felt watching this movie, let me try to present analyze the movie more objectively.

At the very start of the movie, we can see a young boy, Youssef (Karim Mahmoud AbdelAziz), narrating that his story is about 'love'. Apart from the cheesiness of this start, and the fact that his story had nothing to do with love, and the irrelevance of the starting lines with the rest of the story, never has a word been so cheapened as the word 'love' in the start of this movie. There should have been a warning that this movie was not to be viewed for those under twelve, and even then I think the remaining audience would have launched some complaints.

It seems that the corporate producers were given a late tip that 'love' is a key word to lure the young teenagers in, and so perhaps after the lousy screenplay had been completed they had to insert it and found no other place but the start of the movie. The word was even more cheapened with most of the songs being about love, and during the course of the movie, after a singer would sing passionately about love, they'd just switch to the usual and practical bitch mode hence nullifying every feeling they might have tried to put across with the love song.

Youssef's parents had a restaurant that they would lose if they don't pay off their bank loan on time. In order to help them he has to revive an old music festival organized by his grandfather and another famous producer. The festival was called 'Bahr El Negoom' (surprise surprise). He moves on from one star to the other, trying to convince them to sing in the festival and is rejected, five times!! It is so apparent that all the stars will say no, but we had to endure the torture of each dull rejection scene so that each star can get his 5 minutes of poor acting on screen. Now why doesn't Youssef change the way he presents the idea to the stars, five times, just saying the same lame old crap and we have to see the actors rejecting it? Why do we have to endure this nonsense till we're finally offended by the smugness and idiocy of Ahmed El Sherif while he's rejecting the offer?

Anyway, in order to get the stars interested, he makes up two lies on a radio show; the first about a famous producer organizing the show, the second about Pepsi sponsoring the show. The Pepsi contact was apparently unaware that Pepsi was the sponsor, and he had to go to great lengths to find out that the famous producer thing was a lie. Why the great lengths? He was supposedly working in the sponsoring company, wasn't it enough for him to know that they were not sponsoring the event to figure out that all of it was a lie? Supposedly, this young man who was in his thirties it seems knew that famous producer, who had vanished 20 years ago!! No comment. It's not worth the time to point out holes in the plot, for if truth be told, it was not a movie at all.

If all the filming was outside Egypt and almost all the actors were not capable of delivering their lines with an Egyptian accent, then why on earth should you bother to do the movie in Egyptian? The actors were pathetic and I almost felt sorry for them. It's not just their poor delivery of their Egyptian lines, it's their inability to surpass an amateur level performance. The better question of course would be why do this movie when none of the actors in the movie could act for crap? But the answer to that is simple, this movie is an extended corporate ad, with infinite product placement so blatant it has reached a new all time low.

The movie is so shallow and sinister in its intent that one could go back in time to the cheap commercial eighties movies (Aflam Al Moqawalaat) and salute them for not having sunk that low. There was a masturbation of Pepsi throughout the movie and on the one occasion that a character was sipping a hot drink, there was a huge Pepsi logo overshadowing the entire shot.

Advertisements can sometimes be well made and entertaining, sometimes there are ideas that can exist for thirty seconds that make it bearable to finish watching an ad, but not on this occasion, this was the most boring advertisement and not even Haifa's feline looks and curves could change that. With advertisements at home, even though they're forced on you while watching your favorite television show, you can still switch the channel … but not in this movie, there's just no escaping it.

The movie epitomizes this day and age in one sense. It's the celebration of superficiality and consumerism. It represents a battle in the Egyptian Armageddon against bad art. The idea that a soda drink company actually produces a movie is unprecedented and incensing. It is going further down than we've ever been in the artistically void pit we've been in, and trying to get out of, for so long.

Bahr el Negoom sets a dangerous precedent; the malignancy of film making merely for profit seems benign in light of what this movie sets out to accomplish, for there something more sinister than just making money here, it's the disfigurement of art for the sake of consumerism.


Anonymous said...

i actually liked the movie

Wael Eskandar said...

Yes.. it is possible.