‘You will die at 20:’ Cursed boy’s Sudanese struggles mix fantasy, superstition

The movie explores the dilemma of a family whose child may not live beyond 20. (Supplied)
Updated 08 October 2019

‘You will die at 20:’ Cursed boy’s Sudanese struggles mix fantasy, superstition

CHENNAI: Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala’s debut film, “You Will Die at 20,” which premiered at Venice, winning the Lion of the Future Award, and El-Gouna, where it clinched the Golden Star for best narrative feature, has all the magical qualities of a fantasy, tipped in superstition.

Mounted with almost ethereal sensitivity with some lovely color tones of the Sudanese landscape, the movie explores the dilemma of a family whose child may not live beyond 20.

In a land where blind beliefs rule, often cynicism overwhelms logic and reason. And with mind-blowing landscapes along the Nile, Alala takes us into the bitter-sweet story of Muzamil (Moatasem Rashed, later Asjad Mohamed).




Sudanese Amjad Abu Alala directed “You Will Die at 20." (Supplied)

His mother, Sakina (Islam Mubarak), takes him for a blessing soon after he is born, and at the religious ceremony a dancer in a trance stops counting at 20. The sheikh, who gives his benediction, states the child will die on reaching 20. Sakina is shattered, and the boy’s father, who cannot contemplate seeing his son die so young, leaves the country to find work.

Muzamil is aware of his fate and faces the ridicule of other children with unbelievable stoicism. His mother tries to keep him out of harm’s way and stops him going to school. But he manages to attend Qur’an classes, and proves a master at memorizing it.

However, his job with the village shopkeeper sees him befriend a cynical man, who encourages him to question his fate. The man also introduces him to cinema, opening up a whole new world for Muzamil.




The movie's latest premier was at El-Gouna Film Festival. (Supplied) 

Unfortunately, Alala veers into unnecessary terrain where we see a religious man asking Muzamil to remove his T-shirt. The director just leaves this scene hanging. And he skews into another inexplicable zone by introducing Naiema (Bonna Khalid), a vivacious young woman who falls in love with Muzamil. Does she merely pity him? We are given no clue.

Yet, the splendid visual design makes up for the somewhat slipshod script. There is also something very personal about the film, drawing on Alala’s experiences in Sudan where he spent five years of his childhood.

“I think my relationship to Sudan, my memory and my childhood — it’s all there,” he once said. The rest of the movie is based on a short story by Sudanese writer Hammour Ziada.


Indian label Two Point Two makes catwalk debut at LFW

Founder of Two Point Two Anvita Sharma presented her first catwalk show outside of India this week. (Supplied)
Updated 17 February 2020

Indian label Two Point Two makes catwalk debut at LFW

LONDON: “Two Point Two is a genderless, anti-conformist, all-inclusive brand. We don’t cater to any particular gender or any particular size,” declared designer Anvita Sharma at London Fashion Week’s Fashion Scout.

Some might say packing all that into a dress is a pretty big challenge, but this is something she clearly believes in.

This is Two Point Two’s first runway show outside India. (Supplied)

“We believe in diversity, independence and confidence and we support individuals who want to be as loud or mellow as possible. So we have a huge variety of colors, silhouettes and details,” she said.

Sharma, who studied at Istituto Marangoni in Milan and Paris, is a rising talent. Last year she won the third edition of “Scouting for India,” a global project developed by Vogue Talents in collaboration with FAD International Academy and FAD Institute of Luxury Fashion & Style.

The collection used wool and wool felt, shot cotton and wool and some Giza cottons for the shirts and dresses. (Supplied)

Her win included the opportunity to showcase her Spring/Summer 2020 collection at the Palazzo Cusani within the exhibition celebrating Vogue Talent’s 10th anniversary during Milan Fashion Week.

This week, amid the hectic backstage preparations for her Fashion Scout showing, she found the time to talk to Arab News, running us through her color palette and fabrics.

“We have a mix of neutrals and pastels as well as vibrant reds. Some shades are often categorized as either feminine or masculine, so we want to amalgamate both of them to say that colors are not supposed to be associated with any particular gender, color or race,” she explained.

The color palette was a mix of neutrals and pastels as well as vibrant reds. (Supplied)

“For fabrics, we have mostly used wool and wool felt, shot cotton and wool and some Giza cottons for the shirts and dresses. We have also done a lot of hand embroidery. One coat took four weeks to hand embroider,” she said.

The production for Two Point Two is based in Delhi.

For her next collection, Sharma is going to work with craft clusters of Indian women weavers based in the mountain city of Kullu, capital of the Kullu district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

She has a track record of being supportive of hand crafts — evident in her previous collections.

The production for Two Point Two is based in Delhi. (Supplied)

“Last season, we did handwoven fabrics of cotton and silk from another region in India. Now Two Point Two wants to bring different, dying crafts of India to an international audience,” she explained.

Commenting on her increasingly high profile, she said: “It’s very frantic and because I’m a perfectionist it really gets to me at times. I am happy to be here because it is London Fashion Week. This is our first runway show outside India — so we are very excited.”