The double standards that have become so rampant in
The film has several storylines about types who fit the double-standard category. There is the owner of the night club, brilliantly played by Salah Abdallah, who is a trickster who steals his brother’s land—a role played with mastery by Maged al-Kadawany. He treats his brother cruelly, forcing him to work as a lavatory attendant. In spite of all his evil, however, he sees himself as a pious and religious man who insists on doing the omra (the smaller pilgrimage) every year without fail. By the same token we come across the kind-hearted girl, played by Jumana Mourad, who takes care of her ailing mother with total devotion but is the complete opposite in the evenings which she spends working as a showgirl at the night club. One of the most moving scenes in the film is when the mother dies and they bring her body to her daughter at the night club. There is also the cabaret employee, portrayed by Ahmed Bedier, who is depicted as a very religious man who prays and fasts but nevertheless works at the night club because it pays so much better than other work. And there is the maid, played by Donia Samir Ghanem, who has no compunction in telling everyone about her indiscretions but pretends to be innocent and pure when in the night club.
Finally we meet for the first time in an Arabic film the proverbial Arab princess, played by Hala Fakher who lives in Egypt and becomes the patroness of a singer with a poor voice, Belo’om (the name literally means ‘throat’) played by Khaled al- Sawy. She splashes out extravagantly on this singer in attempts to promote him. The film shows clearly the deteriorating levels of music and singing as well as the clashes between the different singers trying to rise to stardom.
The night club is under surveillance by a terrorist group that decides to bomb it and sends for this mission one of its members, played by Fathy Abdel-Wahab. The scenes depicting the training and preparation of the terrorist for the mission are taken from the Palestinian Dutch film
Paradise now. After completing his training, Abdel-Wahab heads to the night club to carry out his mission, but has to mingle there and so is forced to drink a beer, which he does through his tears in a brilliant scene. He is sick and is helped by a workman. Abdel-Wahab starts a conversation with the employee (Bedier) when he finds him praying. Abdel-Wahab manages to convince him of the evil of working in such a place, and the employee quits his job. This persuades the terrorist that dialogue may accomplish the mission of obliterating immorality better than destruction. He tries to prevent the bombing of the night club but fails; a colleague in the extremist movement accomplishes the bombing mission and the night club is destroyed.
Many writers and journalists have deplored the film, saying it damages
26 October 2008