THE ROUNDUP — Regional pop-culture highlights for February

Lebanese band 'Mashrou’ Leila.' (Supplied)
Updated 25 February 2019

THE ROUNDUP — Regional pop-culture highlights for February

Dubai: The regions pop culture highlights for the month of February 2019.

“Cavalry”  

Mashrou’ Leila

The leading lights of the region’s alternative music scene return with their first new track in some time. “Cavalry” is the first release from the Lebanese band’s upcoming fifth studio album “The Beirut Story” and a continuation of the glossier, electro-pop sound the band mined so successfully on 2015’s “Ibn El Leil.” It is, the band explain, “an ode to putting up a fight, even when the odds are stacked against us.”

“Enfesam”

Sharmoofers

Another of the region’s big-hitters on the indie scene, Egyptian hip-hop duo Sharmoofers, dropped a new track this month. “Enfesam” has a typically infectious chorus to go with the upbeat instrumentation. The video features a few famous faces, including actor Fathy Abdel Wahab, vlogger Marwan Younis, and actress Hend Abdelhalim, and has already racked up close to 1 million views on YouTube.

“#MishMomken”

Jimi & The Saint ft. Hana Malhas

The Cairo-based electro-rockers (Jimi Elgohary and Rami Sidky) collaborated with Jordanian singer-songwriter Hana Malhas on this melancholy but uplifting mid-tempo track about love in a troubled world. “We can’t run away together,” the vocalists lament over reverb-heavy guitar and a pounding drumbeat. The track is dedicated to Sidky, who was jailed last year under confusing circumstances.

 


Film review: ‘Parkour(s)’ takes obstacle course through class conflict

The sport of parkour forms the backdrop of this Algerian film. Supplied
Updated 08 December 2019

Film review: ‘Parkour(s)’ takes obstacle course through class conflict

  • Fatma Zohra Zamoum’s “Parkour(s)” is set in a small city in Algeria
  • It screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival

CHENNAI: The fast-paced sport of parkour — or negotiating obstacles in an urban environment by running, jumping and climbing — forms the backdrop of this Algerian film.

Fatma Zohra Zamoum’s “Parkour(s)” is set in a small city in Algeria, and it seems that the director has used the title to convey the kind of histrionics her characters indulge in. Take, for instance, Youcef (Nazim Halladja) — a sportsman playing parkour — literally cartwheeling through the urban landscape. His reckless antics also include threatening people with a gun and pleading with would-be bride Kamila (Adila Bendimered) to ditch her future husband, Khaled, (Mohamed Bounoughaz). 

The movie, which screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival, unfolds during a day and takes us to the wedding and the assorted group of men and women gathered there. As we see these people making their way toward the occasion, we get to see that they are all motivated by different pulls and pressures.

The film unfolds during a day and takes us to a wedding and the assorted group of men and women gathered there. Supplied

Youcef is there to try to persuade Kamila from walking up the aisle. The kitchen help is set to make an extra buck. However, other characters have not been written with much conviction.

Zamoun says in a note: “The multi-character drama shows how a normal situation turns into major clashes reflecting the conflict between classes, ideas and generations in Algerian society, whose youth try to take control of their lives. But they are surrounded by those who try to handcuff them.” 

The movie is not convincing on this count. For example, how is the bride — who willingly prepares for the wedding (that was my impression, anyway) — “handcuffed?” The same can be said for other characters we encounter.

What comes across loud and clear, however, is the class difference. No clarity is lost when Khaled gives money to Youcef to buy a “decent” suit for the wedding and he is offended by Khaled’s arrogance. Youcef makes no bones about this to his friend — and perhaps he is taking his revenge when he tries to sow discord among his fellow characters. Also worthy of note is the performance by the young daughter of the kitchen help, Nedjma (Lali Mansour), who gives one of the most moving and natural sequences in “Parkour(s).”

The cinematography is nothing to rave about and Youcef’s parkour antics are rather intrusive and add little to the narrative.