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Juliette’s Trousers: Leggings Are Not Trousers
This film is a graduation project mostly shot on the AUC campus. Now as any student who’s tried to make a film knows, filmmaking is incredibly hard work; it can be very costly, even if you’re working with a micro budget, and usually it consists of using friends for as much free labour as possible. It’s an immensely difficult task and requires major guts and perseverance, but having said that, Juliette’s Trousers isn’t a very good film. And while some of its faults can be blamed on a small budget, the film’s biggest fault is in the script and plot; two things that could have held it together should all else fail.
The film revolves around the idea that leggings are not trousers and should not be treated as such. Arguing this is Tarek El Ibiary, while taking the stand for the opposing side is his girlfriend Mona Lasheen. He disapproves that she wears leggings with short tops; she maintains that her fashion choices are none of his business. This is the one issue that poses a problem for them in their otherwise blissful relationship and the film is basically a chronicle of how Mona’s leggings brought them together then tore them apart.
Funnily enough for a film with a central argument, it fails to make a convincing case for either side. The characters speak in clichés and platitudes never delving beyond the surface. Their arguments can be summed up to: leggings overly reveal a girl’s body, and the counter argument that girls are free to wear whatever they want. What is absolutely astounding is that not once does Mona tell Tarek that perverts will stare at a woman no matter what she’s wearing, and that the onus is on the harasser to stop and not on the woman to alter her lifestyle. There was clearly a concerted effort to avoid sexist tropes but due to the film’s shallowness, they fall into many of them anyway. For example, the justification that he is doing this because he cares and isn’t a control freak is trotted out a few times, though this makes it no better. The film doesn’t seem to realize that sexism is sexism no matter how sugar coated or how well-intended that person is.
Another problem that goes hand in hand with the aforementioned one is that the characters are wildly inconsistent with Tarek being the number one example of that. He fluctuates all over the place, starting out as a guy who’s idea of a good time is watching women as they walk by - in fact that’s how he first met Mona - only to become possessive when his friends insinuate that her leggings are a sign of her easiness. From then on, he goes back and forth between being mad at her for wearing them and supporting her right to wear whatever she wants. The acting doesn’t help much either; the cast is made up of amateurs and therefore the dialogue often sounds forced.
As for the technical side of things, the film is for the most part, poorly shot, lit and edited; some ‘funky’ editing tricks are liberally used, giving it an amateur feel - but there are some commendable points nonetheless. It was a pleasant surprise to see that even though the film revolves around leggings, not once did the camera focus on a woman’s curves, preferring instead to use multiple below the knee shots and guys’ reactions to convey the idea. The filmmakers chose the anti objectification route and kudos to them for that; this choice seemed to send a stronger message than all of the film’s dialogue. It says that women shouldn’t be ogled at no matter what they’re wearing and that is ultimately a very decent message to send.
It was the magnificently choreographed fighting sequences and its unapologetic approach to violence that made Gareth Evans’ 2011 The Raid: Redemption a breakthrough hit and it sure looks like that The Raid 2 - the sequel to the deliciously fierce Jakarta-based thriller - will have no problem in keeping the momentum alive.
The Raid 2 picks up hours after the events of the first film which finds Rama (Uwais) - the sole surviving member of the elite squad responsible for uncovering evidence on dirty cops and taking down the forty-story compound run by Jakarta’s crime-lord – with an opportunity to dig deeper into the rampant corruption.
However, getting there is no easy task and if he is ever to gain access into Indonesia’s criminal underworld, he must go undercover and into prison, where he is to earn the trust of Uco (Putra); the son of a mob kingpin, Bangun (Pakusadewo). With a number of people on his tail – from street mobsters to the corrupt officials he helped expose – Rama has no choice but to accept and after four gruelling years infiltrating the system, he finally manages to get in.
Upon their joint release, Rama becomes one of Bangun’s trusted enforcers and soon witnesses the troubles between the overindulged Uco and his controlling father; but the real worry comes with the arrival of Bejo (Abbadi); the leader of the rival Japanese gang whose sole aim is to take control of the city’s underworld.
The Raid 2 is definitely not for the squeamish or for the faint of heart, but if you are a die-hard action fan then you will find plenty to love about Evans’ latest effort. With plenty of broken bones, blood and bullets, the violence is unrelenting and very little is held back in terms brutality and carnage. The fighting sequences are aplenty –perhaps even a little excessive – but they are all captivating and exceptionally fascinating to watch.
Although still as hypnotising and captivating as its predecessor, The Raid 2 suffers from an overly long running time – one hundred and fifty minutes to be exact – and the narrative, whose simplicity was one of shining factors of the first film – now just seems heaped and overcomplicated. There are too many faces and names to keep up with and it takes a while before the plot finds its foothold; Uwais, the real-life Indonesian martial-arts champion, returns to play Rama and once more demonstrates amazing skills, while Putra – as the spoiled son desperate to break away from his father’s shackles – steals the show.
In the end, The Raid 2 makes for a fine sequel and although its storyline may be a little convoluted at times, Evans’ brilliant and gracefully composed action sequences make up for any of the film’s shortcomings.
First, it’s important to establish that we cannot place the blame in its entirety on Ramez Galal for his sadistic show. A big part of the blame should fall on us, the viewers, who eagerly wait for pranks and spike the show’s ratings, even reaching the point where café owners will blast these shows on large TVs to attract customers. It’s time to admit that there’s a sadist in all of us.
The premise of the show is a guest will come in to film an episode about the World Cup on a zodiac boat out at sea. The boat malfunctions, one of the presenters dives in to see what’s wrong, and the events quickly escalate to the boat sinking with the guest and a fake shark attack.
In the episode with Rania Mahmoud Yassin and Mohamed Riad, it’s interesting to point out that the boat didn’t sink entirely, and Rania kept a firm clutch on her sunglasses in a situation where any normal person would’ve let go of his/her belongings in exchange for safety. We ignored these points at first, but after several mentions on TV and by other viewers, we couldn’t help but wonder.
The show comes with a lot of legal issues this year, of which, a case that Athar El Hakim filed against Galal, banning her episode from airing, under the pretence that the prank extremely frightened her. The truth behind that is in question, after a video of her discussing her pay for the episode was leaked. Other legal issues concerning the show include damage to marine life from planting metal poles to support the hidden cameras.
Because nothing is black and white, it’s important to admit Galal’s sense of humour and experience, especially when it’s imitated by an artist like Mohamed Fouad in his show “Fo’sh Fil Mo’askar”, a stale and completely void of humour prank show.
We have to admit, we were impressed by the shark boat Galal uses to rescue the guests. He is a smart actor who was able to establish himself within Ramadan TV and create shows that people wait for year to year.