Kaf El Amar: Highly Melodramatic Khaled Youssef Film
Ghada Abdel RazekHaitham Ahmed Zaki...
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(Amer) is a widow with five grown sons living in Upper Egypt. She suffers from
a stroke that leaves her on her deathbed. Her final wish before she dies is to
see her five sons, who have all moved to Cairo, together again. It’s now up to
her eldest, Zikry (Saleh) to track down his four brothers and bring them all
back to her before she dies. The only problem is that they’ve all fallen out of
touch and they didn’t exactly part on good terms.
story behind their falling out is told in the form of flashbacks starting from
their father’s death when they were kids until they leave the village to work
and live in Cairo. One by one, the brothers disagree with Zikry, eventually
leaving him alone in the flat they once shared.
plays Yasin, the baby of the bunch who falls in love with a belly dancer named
Safi (Farghali) much to Zikry’s dismay. He follows her around like a lost puppy,
eventually joining her troupe as a tannoura dancer. Zaki spends his time on
screen either rapidly batting his eyelashes or looking completely vacant while
Safi is mainly there for the cleavage shots and the belly dancing scenes.
Together they result in some of the film’s most melodramatic, cringe-worthy
(El Radad) falls in love with Lubna (Murad), a needy woman who enjoys flinging
herself at guys. She plays real hard to get until she has him completely
besotted and about to propose. However, he discovers that she’d been having an
affair with Zikry the whole time, unaware that the two were brothers. This
leads to a fallout between Zikry and Bakr, with Zikry attempting to remedy the
situation by forcibly shoving Lubna into a room with Bakr and inviting him to
rape her. While Bakr doesn’t take up Zikry on his offer, he is unable to trust any woman after that.
is the eldest of the brothers and something of a father figure to them. He
falls in love with Jamila (Abdel Razek), a girl from his village, yet he’s
shunned by her father when he proposes. He travels to Cairo to make some money
to facilitate her father’s approval and becomes a successful builder with a
side job in dealing in arms, yet her father remains obstinate.
alleged transformation from an exemplary older brother to an arms dealing
tyrant is at the heart of the film, which hinges on how this transformation
tears his family apart. Yet, since his transformation isn’t clear on-screen and
is based more on the brothers’ insistence that he’s changed rather than
anything we’ve seen, the film’s arc seems very flimsy. Frankly, the brothers
come across as overdramatic pansies that need to grow up.
While the acting for
the most part is pretty patchy; the real culprit here is the story and dialogue,
which beat you over the head with their irrationality and lack of
not getting anything new here. If you’ve seen Youssef’s other films, you know
exactly what to expect; a heavy-handed melodrama focusing on the poor, corrupt
and exploited. Your appreciation for this film will largely depend on your
level of tolerance for his shtick.