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Zay El Naharda

The word “Déjà vu” takes a whole new meaning in the new film “Zay El Naharda” or “Like Today”. The film, which was one of many to open the Eid season this year, is the directorial debut of young Director Amr Salama and it capitalizes on theme that might be very familiar in very original way.
The film tells the story of Mai, played by Basma, a girl who is so into details that she rights in her journal everyday, describing every little incident or feeling. She gets engaged to Ayman (Nabil Eissa) and true to her nature, she starts recording in her journal every little detail in her first relationship, the date of her engagement, the first day he told her I love you… etc.
The plot unravels when Ayman dies and a year later, Mai is engaged to another guy, Yaser (Ahmed El Fishawi) and the semblance between the incidents that occur in the previous relationship and the current one strike fear inside her and drives her to take desperate measures.
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Stolen Kisses

Unemployment, Frustration, lead to “Stolen Kisses”
A Review of Khaled El Hagar’s new movie, starring Ahmed Azmy, Yousra El Lozy, Randa El Beheiry, Farah Yousef, Ahmad Kamal, Basem Samra, and Shady Khalaf
After watching “Hob El Banat” and then recently “Kobolat Masroqa” or stolen kisses, it came to my mind that director Khaled El Hagar loves to work with an ensemble cast. For him, it is not about the hero and bringing someone under the spotlight but rather about the group and exploring the dynamics that control their relations among each other. It was successful in Hob El Banat; but it was not in “Stolen Kisses”.
The film, which triggered much controversy for bold, steamy scenes that strayed away from the lines of “Clean Cinema” tells the stories of a group of couples: Ahmed Azmy and Yousra El Lozy who love each other but cannot get married lawfully because of the vast social difference between them, Farah Yousef and Basem Samra who suffer from the girl’s ambition for a more luxurious life, and Randa El Beheiry and Mohamed Karim, who strive to make a living and keep the balance in their relationship. The socio-economic woes lay enormous pressures on them, affecting their relationships and leading to catastrophic actions like betrayal, murder, and false accusations.
The plot, which is solid in the most part, lacked originality. Because there was a lack of dynamics between the group and the focus was on the couples and their problems, the plot in somehow descended into a series of “clichés” and the dialogue felt redundant more often, resulting in the film losing some of the momentum it strove to create.
The casting was for the most part, the strongest element in the film. The male leads, especially Ahmed Azmy, did an excellent job in bringing to the screen convincing, heart broken, frustrated youth, who’s suffering was genuine and heartfelt. The female leads, on the other hand, with the exception of Farah Yousef, were mediocre, even artificial at times, especially Yousra El Lozy, who was perhaps the weakest element in an otherwise excellent cast. Secondary characters, like Doaa Teama and Shady Khalaf were both astounding in their roles and I only wish their storyline could have been developed in more details and they had more on-screen times. Veterans such as Ahmad Kamal, Salwa Mohamed Ali and Hanan Youssef, are also great and manage to push the momentum of the film up when it was about to fall.
Director Khaled El Hagar proves that he can guide his cast well although he should’ve capitalized more on the fact that he had such a wide range of actors and actresses to create much more motion in the film. He did manage to produce some visually astounding scenes that years from now will still be remembered.
In short, the movie is worth seeing. Despite the controversy about the baldness of some scenes, this is a serious movie that cares so much about the story it is telling and their certainly devotion and dedication from the cast and the crew even if there was a lack of novelty.

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