TIFF 2017 Movie Review: SHEIKH JACKSON (Egypt 2017)

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

Sheikh Jackson Poster
An Islamic cleric has a crisis of faith when he hears the news that his childhood idol, Michael Jackson, has died.

Director:

Amr Salama

Writers:

Amr SalamaOmar Khaled

Stars:

BasmaAmina KhalilAhmad El-Fishawi

Sheikh Jackson is the nickname given to Sheikh as a kid for loving the pop idol Michael Jackson.

The film concentrates on Sheikh as a grown man, now a devout imam (Ahmad Alfishawy) who tends to be praying all the time and demanding devout behaviour of his children, just as his father (Maged El Kedwany), shown in flashback demanded of him.

Didn’t Sheikh learn from his father’s mistakes? Sheikh is also upset that he cannot cry while praying and sees a female psychologist, the sex of which he objects to.

Salama’s film is all over the place, with no observable goal. He has put on centre a subject which western audiences are unfamiliar with and makes no attempt to make him likeable or connected to the audience. The influence of Jackson over Sheikh is also vague at best.

A few comical moments like watching the father pump weights in the gym like a world class bodybuilder helps elevate this otherwise sordid affair.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsijix35ORE

sheikh jackson.jpg
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Short Film Movie Review: OH MY OH AGAMI (4min, Egypt, Documentary/Poetry)

OH MY OH AGAMI played to rave reviews  at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016. 

OH MY OH AGAMI, 4min, Egypt, Documentary/Poetry
Directed by Hani R. Eskander

A visual poem depicting a life of an Agami resident who reminisces his childhood amidst the ongoing destruction and illegal construction.

Movie Review by Amanda Lomonaco:

I’m often skeptical of poetic cinema, in the same way that I’m often skeptical of overly “artsy” cinema. Although I have found many that I have enjoyed and appreciated, I’m all too aware that these films can often go one of two ways. Oh My Oh Agami is definitely one of the winners.

Despite not being able to understand what was being said in the film without the assistance of the subtitles, I could certainly appreciate the lovely intonations and rhyming sounds I was able to pick up. One of the great advantages of poetic cinema is that it opens up the meanings and rythmns of poetry in different languages, in a way that the written form cannot. It opens access to a whole world of literature that would otherwise be completely locked to those who do not speak the language.

What’s more Oh My Oh Agami opens up a world and concept that are almost completely foreign to North Americans, and others in the developed world. To most of us, the concept of illegal building seems almost impossible. How could anyone ever build an entire building without the city or government legally allowing them to do it? It’s difficult for us to grasp how some countries and governments can have so few resources that they are not able to enforce the law in any way, or where they are so easily bribed for want of accountability.

Hani R Eskander’s film immerses us in Egyptian culture through everything from its imagery, to its phonetic beauty, to its harsh realities. He both satiates and entices our wanderlust by bringing us into his world, and teaching us more about his day to day life. Through his poetic words and imagery, Eskander captures the true meaning of the concept of “show don’t tell,” playing into his audience’s curiosity.

Oh My Oh Agami is truly a beautiful film, and a powerful statement against illegal building in Egypt. If nothing else it’s worth a watch purely for the eye-opening experience it provides. This film is for the philanthropist, the traveller, and the environmentalist in all of us. It is a truly gorgeously made short film that deserves our attention, even if only for four short minutes.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Festival of the Short Film: