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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Brave but plodding: Rashid Irani reviews the Egyptian film Yomeddine

A critically acclaimed movie about a leper and a boy who won’t leave his side, Yomeddine (Arabic for Judgment Day) is for the true cinephile.

movie-reviews Updated: Aug 22, 2019 15:32 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
The lead character is portrayed with amazing grace by non-professional actor Rady Gamal, a leprosy survivor. Ahmed Abdelhafiz is equally striking as his little companion.
The lead character is portrayed with amazing grace by non-professional actor Rady Gamal, a leprosy survivor. Ahmed Abdelhafiz is equally striking as his little companion.
         
YOMEDDINE
  • Direction: AB Shawky
  • Actors: Rady Gamal, Ahmed Abdelhafiz
  • Rating: 3.5 / 5

This Egyptian film was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and was showcased in the prestigious International Competition section at Cannes in 2018.

First-time feature writer-director AB Shawky’s has expanded on his own short film to chart an unlikely friendship between a 40-something leper (portrayed with amazing grace by non-professional actor Rady Gamal, a survivor of leprosy) and an orphaned stowaway (Ahmed Abdelhafiz, equally striking).  

The stowaway becomes a sort of surrogate son during their journey across the countryside, their meager belongings packed onto a donkey cart. The road trip feels cloying at times, especially during the encounter with other physically impaired outcasts. A Christianity/Islamic subtext is awkwardly woven in.

On the other hand, there are several moments of throwaway humour, as when the boy clarifies that his name – Obama – is similar to that of “that guy on TV”.

Straightforward and sincere, Yomeddine (Arabic for Judgment Day), is notable primarily for its empathetic treatment of a serious yet rarely addressed theme.

First Published: Aug 22, 2019 15:32 IST

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