This intriguing autobiographical wee film helmed by Egyptian/American filmmaker Sam Abbas who wrote, directed and starred in it, is full of promise which sadly is often over-shadowed by the movie’s rather deadpan and flat production.
Abbas plays Rami living in New York’s Lower East Side with his fiance Sara (Nikohl Boosheri) who is anxious to plan their wedding but fails to stir any enthusiasm at all from Rami. Neither does his traditional Muslim mother in her stream of regular phone calls, and it seems that his heart is really not in the matter.
The reason soon becomes clear as he is having sex with two seperate men strictly on the downlow, and when he is with either of them, this is the nearest we ever see Rami express any emotion at all. He is leading this double life stringing everyone along until Sara listens to a voicemail on Rami’s phone and discovers the real reason for his reluctance to agree on the wedding plans.
Abbas shoots the whole thing in a dim light using the fixed frames which are positioned at a distance from the action so there are no close ups. It certainly makes the already languid pace seem even slower and dissipates the little energy there is . The only hint of any passion is when Sara discovers Rami has been sleeping with Lee and finally blows up.
There are plenty of gaps in the story but that is definitely to Abbas’ credit for allowing audiences to use their imagination filling them in
Meanwhile the back story to the making of Abbas’s debut feature is quite fascinating as Abbas’ company ArabQ Films has a mission to produce queer-themed movies which can only operate virtually in the country’s increasingly authoritarian and state-sanctioned, virulently homophobic polity and will have nigh-on-impossible opportunities to screen them in Egypt. It will be interesting where he, and the film, will go from here.
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