Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Black Honey

Two nights ago I went to the theater and watched my first Arabic movie. It was called "Asal Essoued," which means "Black Honey." It's the story of a guy who's born in Egypt, then emigrates to the States with his father when he's about ten years old. He spends the next twenty years in the States, and winds up working as a photographer. (This is all back-story)

The film opens with him arriving in Egypt on a plane. He's got both an Egyptian passport and an American passport, but only brought his Egyptian passport with him. He's expecting a warm welcome as an Egyptian coming back home, but he gets taken advantage of at every turn. Finally he calls a friend back in the States and tells him to mail him his American passport. When it finally arrives, he throws away his Egyptian passport. He spends the next few hours walking around, being arrogant and flashing his passport around. He finally mouths off to the wrong guy, and a group of young men beat him up and take away his passport.

With no money, phone, or passport, he decides to try and find his childhood home. He manages to find the place, only to be attacked by the neighbors who think he's a thief. There are several hilarious jokes stemming from the fact that his name is Masri. Masri is a common male name here, but it also means "Egyptian." So when he's trying to tell his neighbors who he is, they think he's trying to tell them that he's an Egyptian. It's a lot funnier in Arabic.

He gets taken in by his neighbors, and lives with them for a while. He spends a lot of time trying to get back to the States, with no success. He finally manages to get his American passport back, and boards a plane for the States. But just as the plane is taking off, he decides that he really wants to stay in Egypt. So he fakes a heart attack and gets the plane to turn around.

All in all, it's a pretty funny movie. I was a little worried about going to see an Arabic film because I didn't know how much of the dialogue I would understand. I definitely didn't understand it all, but I got enough to understand the movie. It was a lot of fun!

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