Film Review: Esabat Azeema, fictional movie centered on a family forced to reclaim their own narrative

Film Review: Esabat Azeema, fictional movie centered on a family forced to reclaim their own narrative
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Updated 19 January 2024
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Film Review: Esabat Azeema, fictional movie centered on a family forced to reclaim their own narrative

Film Review: Esabat Azeema, fictional movie centered on a family forced to reclaim their own narrative
  • When a series of unfortunate events threatens to bankrupt her family, she takes matters into her own hands and, together with a few trusted confidants, creates a “gang”
  • Directed by Wael Ihsan, the film stars the legendary actress Esaad Younis as Azeema

Starting 2024 with a bang, the new Egyptian movie, Esabat Azeema, is part suspense, part musical, and completely centered on a family forced to reclaim their own narrative. It is a fun ride — almost goofy at times — but also touches on issues such as disability and finding hope when you feel engulfed in grief and defeat.

The story begins with a flashback of an Egyptian athlete called “Azeema,” which translates to “great” in Arabic, as she wins a medal at the 1988s Olympic Games. While it is true that an Egyptian woman competed at the Olympic Games that year, it was for another sport and she did not win any medals. In this fictional portrayal, they make her a champion. 

And, indeed, we see Azeema as one. Fast-forward to the present, and Azeema has lost her eyesight in a car accident sometime after the “win.” Now in her late 50s, she has never let her disability slow her down or prevent her from hitting her targets; she can still “see” things even if no longer able to see.

When a series of unfortunate events threatens to bankrupt her family, she takes matters into her own hands and, together with a few trusted confidants, creates a “gang.” That gang, made up of her blood relatives and some others, goes on an adventure to become amateur criminals and scheme to steal from the criminals who stole from her. The title of the movie can be translated to “a great gang” or “Azeema’s gang.”

The film is fast-paced, full of drama, suspense and humorous dance and song breaks that merges the serious with the silly. It is about a group of people who become family and form an unlikely alliance that is worth more than gold. 

Directed by Wael Ihsan, the film stars the legendary actress Esaad Younis as Azeema, with iconic actor Mohammed Mahmoud and a stellar performance by Kareem Afifi, Rana Raies, Mustafa Enba, Farrah El-Zahed and Mohamed Tharwat.

Esabat Azeema is playing in cinemas across the Kingdom and is in Arabic with English subtitles. Check your local listing for timings.


Egypt condemns Israeli human rights violations in Gaza Strip

Egypt condemns Israeli human rights violations in Gaza Strip
Updated 19 min 3 sec ago
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Egypt condemns Israeli human rights violations in Gaza Strip

Egypt condemns Israeli human rights violations in Gaza Strip
  • Egypt said it condemned violations of international law including the targeting of civilians
  • Abu Zeid reiterated the need for immediate intervention by the international community to stop such violations

CAIRO: Egypt has condemned the repeated Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “It is regrettable and shameful that violations of international law and humanitarian values continue in such a flagrant manner in the 21st century, in full view and hearing of all countries, international organizations, and the Security Council.”
This came during statements made by ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid regarding the discovery of mass graves in the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Egypt said it condemned violations of international law including the targeting of civilians, displaced persons, and medical teams by Israeli forces.
Abu Zeid reiterated the need for immediate intervention by the international community to stop such violations and to conduct the necessary investigations to hold perpetrators accountable.
He added that the killing, destruction, and violence witnessed in the West Bank over the past few weeks is no less dangerous, further aggravates the crisis, and threatens to escalate tensions across all occupied Palestinian territories.
He called for an immediate halt to the violence and attacks by settlers, protected by Israeli forces, against Palestinian civilians, their property, and homes in the West Bank.
The bodies of over 200 Palestinians, including patients, have been uncovered so far in mass graves at the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza’s Khan Younis since Saturday, according to media reports.


Hezbollah drones target northern Acre in response to Israeli strikes on Lebanese group

Hezbollah drones target northern Acre in response to Israeli strikes on Lebanese group
Updated 30 min ago
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Hezbollah drones target northern Acre in response to Israeli strikes on Lebanese group

Hezbollah drones target northern Acre in response to Israeli strikes on Lebanese group
  • Israeli media reported that “those present on the beach were evacuated after a Hezbollah drone was intercepted in the skies over Nahariyya and Acre”
  • Israeli army had said it killed “two significant terrorists in Hezbollah’s aerial unit”

BEIRUT: Hezbollah forces in south Lebanon on Tuesday launched a combined aerial attack with diversionary and assault drones on Israeli military targets.

The focus of the Lebanese group’s attack was the headquarters of the Golani Brigade at the Shraga barracks, north of the city of Acre.

The attack was described as “a new qualitative strike against an Israeli site,” using drones said to be able to bypass Israeli radar and avoid Iron Dome missiles.

A security source told Arab News that the attack was “a sensitive targeting.” The area struck is more than 15 km from the border with Lebanon.

“This targeting took place in broad daylight while the Israelis were celebrating the Jewish Passover,” the source said.

Hezbollah said it launched the drones “in response to Israeli aggression against the Lebanese town of Aadloun and the assassination of a (Hezbollah) cadre there.”

Videos on social media showed explosions and smoke rising north of the coastal city of Acre, with beachgoers fleeing in all directions.

Israeli media reported that “those present on the beach were evacuated after a Hezbollah drone was intercepted in the skies over Nahariyya and Acre.”

A few hours after Hezbollah’s strike, Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrike on the town of Hanin, 7 km north of Bint Jbeil. It destroyed a two-story family house.

Initial reports said there were two casualties, including a woman, and five were wounded, some seriously, including women and children. The injured were transferred to hospitals.

Meanwhile, an Israeli military drone struck a car between the towns of Adloun and Al-Kharayeb, killing Hussein Ali Azqul, who reports suggested was an engineer working in Hezbollah’s air defense unit.

The group was left mourning a second member, Mohammed Khalil Attiya, from Qana, who died from injuries received a few days ago. The Israeli army described him as a “leader in the Radwan Force (a Hezbollah special unit).”

In ongoing cross-border clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, the former said it had attacked “a gathering of Israeli enemy soldiers in the vicinity of Al-Asi,” to which Israeli fighter jets retaliated with airstrikes on the towns of Blida and Hula.

Israeli airstrikes continued relentlessly on Tuesday night, striking Yaroun and Al-Aishiya as well as other districts in south Lebanon.

The Israeli military also launched flash bombs over villages in the western and central areas, extending to the outskirts of Tyre, and on Tuesday morning fired heavy weapon rounds toward the towns of Naqoura and Jabal Al-Labouneh.

 


Houthi threats continue but attacks on ships in Red Sea appear to be on hold

Houthi threats continue but attacks on ships in Red Sea appear to be on hold
Updated 49 min 16 sec ago
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Houthi threats continue but attacks on ships in Red Sea appear to be on hold

Houthi threats continue but attacks on ships in Red Sea appear to be on hold
  • Observers speculate the militia might be running out of drones and missiles, or air strikes by US and UK could have damaged launchers
  • Houthis have claimed credit for significantly fewer assaults this month and international marine agencies have reported a decline in the number of strikes

AL-MUKALLA: Despite ongoing threats by Houthi leaders in Yemen that they will continue to attack international shipping in the Red Sea, the number of strikes on vessels has drastically fallen in recent weeks.

The group has not claimed credit for any assaults on ships since April 10. Analysts speculate that the militia might be running out of missiles and drones, or air strikes on Houthi targets by the US and UK could have damaged their launchers.

Since November, the Houthis have launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and remotely controlled and explosive-laden boats at international commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea, Bab Al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden. They say they are acting in support of the Palestinian people and the aim is to force Israel to allow more humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.

Compared with the early days of their campaign, the Houthis have claimed credit for significantly fewer assaults this month, and international marine agencies have reported a decline in the number of strikes.

The organization UK Maritime Trade Operations, which records attacks on shipping, has not received any notifications of incidents in the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden since April 7, one of the longest periods with no reported attacks since the start of the Houthi campaign almost six months ago.

The US Central Command last reported intercepting Houthi missiles and drones on April 16. Prior to that it had been issuing almost daily notifications.

Despite the decline in attacks on shipping, the Houthis’ Political Office said on Monday it had instructed its military forces to escalate attacks in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea on ships linked to or bound for Israel in response to what it described as “genocide crimes” committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza.

Mohammed Al-Basha, an expert on the Middle East with the Navanti research group in the US, cautioned that the recent extended period without any claims of attacks does not necessarily mean the Houthis have halted their attacks in the Red Sea.

“The absence of frequent daily claims could also represent a strategic decision or the possibility of diplomatic or secret talks, rather than an operational inability,” he wrote in a message posted on social media platform X.

“This might suggest that the missile stockpile of the Houthis is diminishing, while the production of drones remains steady.”

Yemeni military analyst Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al-Kumaim suggested airstrikes in recent months by US and UK forces might have diminished the capability of the Houthis to launch attacks, and said the group might be settling into a war of attrition.

“The US may have targeted the few mobile missile launchers belonging to the Houthi militia; they need three or four launchers if they have 100 missiles,” he told Arab News.

The UN’s special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said on Monday he held talks with Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdul Sallam and Omani officials in Muscat to explore ways in which to advance a UN-brokered peace plan for Yemen while also reducing wider tensions in the Middle East.

Abdul Aziz Al-Bukair, a Houthi government minister of state, said the militia’s representatives discussed with Grundberg their recent negotiations with Saudi authorities, as well as issues such as payment of wages to public-sector workers, the reopening of key roads in Yemen, and oil exports.

The ongoing, UN-led peace efforts to end the near decade-long war in Yemen suffered a severe blow when the Houthis began attacking ships in the Red Sea in November.


Iran threatens to annihilate Israel should it launch a major attack

Iran threatens to annihilate Israel should it launch a major attack
Updated 23 April 2024
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Iran threatens to annihilate Israel should it launch a major attack

Iran threatens to annihilate Israel should it launch a major attack
  • Explosions were heard over Iran’s Isfahan city Friday in possible Israeli attack
  • But Tehran played down the incident and said it had no plans for a retaliation

DUBAI: An Israeli attack on Iranian territory could radically change dynamics and result in there being nothing left of the "Zionist regime", Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi was quoted as saying on Tuesday by the official IRNA news agency.
Raisi began a three day visit to Pakistan on Monday and has vowed to boost trade between the neighbouring nations to $10 billion a year.
The two Muslim neighbours are seeking to mend ties after unprecedented tit-for-tat military strikes this year.
On Friday, explosions were heard over the Iranian city of Isfahan in what sources said was an Israeli attack, but Tehran played down the incident and said it had no plans for retaliation.
Iran launched a barrage of missiles and drones at Israel on April 13 in what it said was retaliation for Israel's suspected deadly strike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1, but almost all were shot down.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran will honourably continue to support the Palestinian resistance," Raisi added in the speech in Lahore.


Soccer agent ‘threatened’ Chelsea director over Zouma fee, UK court hears

Soccer agent ‘threatened’ Chelsea director over Zouma fee, UK court hears
Updated 23 April 2024
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Soccer agent ‘threatened’ Chelsea director over Zouma fee, UK court hears

Soccer agent ‘threatened’ Chelsea director over Zouma fee, UK court hears
  • The arrests took place in the Paris region and in southern France, the PNAT anti-terror unit said
  • French prosecutors suspect the eight of preparing and financing terrorist acts

PARIS: French police arrested eight men on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the finances of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), banned as a terror organization by Turkiye and its Western allies, anti-terrorism prosecutors told AFP.
The arrests took place in the Paris region and in southern France, the PNAT anti-terror unit said.
The PKK has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the United States and the European Union.
French prosecutors suspect the eight of preparing and financing terrorist acts, and of conspiring to extort, or attempt to extort, funds to finance a terrorist organistion between 2020 and 2024, the PNAT said.
Investigators believe the eight to be connected to a campaign to collect funds from Kurdish business people and other Kurds in France, a source close to the case added.
Police can hold the suspects for up to 96 hours for questioning, the source said.
Another source said the funds were destined for use in Belgium, where police on Monday raided Kurdish-run media as part of a probe undertaken at the request of a French anti-terror judge, the PNAT said.
The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority of Turkiye in the southeast of the country, in a standoff with the Ankara government that remains unresolved to this day.