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Moana (2016)

المقالة باللغة العربية

When the giant empire of Disney announces a new princess, our expectations would surely rise, especially after the introduction of the influencer Elsa (Idina Menzel) from the great hit Frozen.

This time Disney presents Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) the chief’s daughter of the island Motunui, she is to inherit the leadership after her father but she dreams of sailing in the vast ocean which is strictly prohibited by the chief Tui (Temuera Morrison).

The island suffers as the fishes disappear from the lagoon and sudden disease infects the plants, Moana believes that her grandmother’s tales about the gods offers the solution by returning the goddess Te Fiti’s heart, which was stolen by the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson).

Moana succeeds (by the help of the ocean itself) in finding Maui who at first refuses to help her, especially after his defeat by the hands of the lava demon Te Ka, however Moana manages in making a deal with him, and so they go on an adventure to save Motunui. Continue reading

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Moana (2016)

The article in English

عندما تعلن الشركة العملاقة ديزني عن تقديم أميرة جديدة لمملكتها، لابد و أن نتوقع الكثير خاصة بعد شخصية مؤثرة كـ Elsa (Idina Menzel) من فيلم Frozen.

تقدم لنا هذه المرة Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) ابنة زعيم جزيرة Motunui، من المفترض أن ترث الزعامة من بعده لكنها تحلم بالإبحار في المحيط الواسع، الأمر الذي قد حرمه الزعيم Tui (Temuera Morrison).

تعاني الجزيرة من اختفاء الأسماك و مرض مفاجئ يصيب النباتات، تؤمن Moana أن حكايات جدتها عن الآلهة تقدم الحل، لابد من إعادة قلب الإلهة Te Fiti  و الذي سرقه نصف الإله Maui (Dwayne Johnson).

تنجح Moana في العثور على  Maui الذي يرفض في البداية مساعدتها خاصة بعد هزيمته على يد وحش الحمم البركانية Te Ka لكنها تتمكن مع عقد صفقة معه ليخوضا مغامرة لإنقاذ Motunui.

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Network (1976)

المقالة باللغة العربية

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” who can forget Howard Beale’s (Peter Finch) exciting speech, that expresses the feeling of millions of viewers?

Beale is  a news anchor, who loses his mind after his wife’s death, his addiction to alcohol, and his dismissal from his job due to his weak rating, instead of announcing that he would leave the show like anyone else would do in his place, he declares that he will commit suicide on live television, thus he becomes the talk of the media, and he stays on the show to keep presenting shocking speeches, and keeps on getting more famous.

 

The movie depicts the TV industry, especially the news, as a heartless and conscienceless business, that would use Beale as long as he makes a profit, and discard him as soon as he loses his value as a desired commodity. Continue reading


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Network (1976)

The article in English

“غضبي كجحيم مستعر، و أنا لن أحتمل كل هذا بعد اليوم.” من يستطيع نسيان خطاب Howard Beale (peter Finch) الحماسي، المعبر عن مشاعر ملايين؟

Beale  مذيع للأخبار، يفقد عقله بعد موت زوجته و إدمانه للكحول و فصله من العمل لضعف شهرته و تقييمه في القناة، بدلا من أن يعلن تركه للبرنامج كأي شخص آخر في مثل موقفه، يعلن إنه سيقدم على الانتحار على الهواء مباشرة، ليصبح بعد ذلك حديث المدينة، يواصل في إلقاء خطبه المفاجأة و الصادمة و تزداد شهرته.

الفيلم يعرض صناعة التلفزيون و خاصة الأخبار، كتجارة بلا قلب و بلا ضمير، تستغل Beale طالما يحقق ربحا، و تتخلى عنه عندما يفقد قيمته كسلعة مرغوبة بدون عناء. Continue reading


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One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest (1975)

المقالة باللغة العربية

The world is filled with systems that consist of rigid rules, that don’t allow for individuals to defy them even if they were meritless or even harmful.

One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest discusses this issue through the ward of a psychiatric hospital, where the patients spend their days in a boring and to some extent cruel routine, that is imposed upon them by the hospital’s administration and especially nurse Ratched, however everything changes when R.P. McMurphy joins them, he is a convicted criminal who is trying to escape his last punishment by pretending to be insane, assuming that his stay at the hospital would be an easier punishment to endure.

At first McMurphy defies all the rules that exist without a convincing reason, for he believed that the duration of his stay will be the same anyway, and the hospital’s administration will release him regardless of his behavior, but he later realize that he was mistaken, and they may decide to keep him for indefinite period, despite of this new information he keeps on resisting nurse Ratched and her rules.

The power conflict between McMurphy and Ratched is the axis which the plot revolves around, in the first two thirds of the movie the audience detests Ratched but is unable to condemn her, for she harshly and coldly compels everyone to abide by rules intended to protect all the patients and not just those who we get acquainted with through the narrative, but in the last third of the movie it is revealed to us how little she actually cares for the patients, and that her higher goal is the rules itself, McMurphy on the other hand is not perfect either, for while he cares for the patient as fellow humans he often forgets that his way – entertaining as it may be – is not a cure, he doesn’t consider the consequences of his behavior, from his perspective all the nurses and doctors are adversaries, even though they are not all against him.

Unfortunately the movie disparages the doctors’ role, and represents the hospital as a place to imprison and abuse the patients, it also depicts the stereotypical image of a mental patient as the comical segment of weirdoes who are incurable despite their verbal portrayal in a different light by McMurphy, there is a lot of shots that has been added as funny filling to lighten the stress from the main conflict, however it doesn’t deepen the understanding of the characters, this may have been acceptable in the 70s but – at least in my personal point of view – it is less acceptable now, regarding the feminine characters in the movie, they are almost non-existent, aside from nurse Ratched (the main antagonist) there is an assisting nurse with a minor role, and Candy who – like her name implies – is just the pretty girl whom McMurphy enjoys her company, and can be transferred without trouble to Billy, Candy does not act on her own, she simply does whatever McMurphy tells her to do.

The rebellious McMurphy was played by Jack Nicholson with a convincing performance that reflects the complexity of the stubborn character, that pretends to be submitting to the system while he constantly attempts to break it, even though the character is a manipulative criminal who would do anything to get what he wants, Jack Nicholson makes us not only sympathize with him but also love and support him, Nicholson also adds a comedic factor that is special for this actor unique features.

Nurse Ratched was played by Louise Fletcher who had an even more complex of a role, for she doesn’t show the coldness and evilness of the character in an overt act , it is in the tone of her voice, her glances, and in her sly smile, even her hairstyle makes her look more like a monster with horns, Louise Fletcher managed to smoothly present all those little messages to the audience, thus helping us in understanding why McMurphy hates her and the rest of the patients fear her.

With a lot of characters being in a limiting space, the director Milos Forman and the cinematographer Haskell Wexler shine, for they don’t make us feel that the frame is crowded unless the scene requires it, they create artistic masses with the actors bodies that emphasize or diminish the power from the conflict’s parties, they also create symbolic images, like the squirrel who runs on a barbed wire like McMurphy who is trying to navigate through a system that might kill or cripple him, Ratched’s hat (and her authority) got tarnished by the hands of the patients after they dared to follow McMurphy.

The movie examines whether it is better to abide a heartless system to achieve a common benefit, or support individual’s right to defy the rules and tolerate the consequences, the movie also answers with a passionate style and unexpected content, for all that in my opinion the movie deserves the rating of: 7,5/10


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One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest (1975)

The article in English

العالم ملئ بالأنظمة القائمة على قوانين صارمة، لا تسمح ببقاء من يتحداها حتى و إن كانت عديمة القيمة أو مؤذية للأفراد.

 

فيلم One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest يتناول هذه القضية عن طريق جناح للمرضى النفسيين بإحدى المستشفيات، يقضون أيامهم في روتين يومي قاسي و ممل، تفرضه عليهم إدارة المستشفى و بالأخص الممرضة Ratched، لكن يتغير كل شئ عندما ينضم إليهم R.P. McMurphy، و هو مجرم مدان يحاول الهروب من قضاء آخر عقوبة في السجن عن طريق ادعاء الجنون، متصورا أن البقاء في المستشفى سوف يكون الأسهل ما بين العقوبتين.

 

في البداية يتحدى McMurphy القوانين المفروضة التي لا تقنعه و لا ترضيه بشكل واضح، لاعتقاده إنه سيقضي نفس مدة العقوبة على أى حال، و أن إدارة المستشفى ستخلي سبيله بغض النظر عن سلوكه، لكنه يدرك لاحقا إن الأمر لم يعد تحت سيطرته و إنما تحت تقييم الإدراة، التي قد تقرر إبقاءه لأجل غير مسمى، بالرغم من إدراكه هذا يستمر McMurphy في تحديه الصريح للممرضة Ratched و قوانينها.

صراع القوى ما بين McMurphy و Ratched هو المحور الرئيسي في الفيلم، Ratched في الثلثين الأولين من الفيلم بالرغم من إنزعاج المتلقي منها لا يمكن إدانتها، فهى تلزم الجميع – بقسوة و برود- بقوانين الهدف منها هو حماية جميع المرضى و ليس فقط المرضى الذين يتم التعريف بشخصيتهم من خلال الفيلم، لكن في الثلث الأخير من الفيلم يتضح مدى عدم اهتمامها بالمرضى، و أن هدفها الأسمى هو القوانين نفسها، McMurphy في المقابل ليس بالرجل المثالي أيضا، فهو باهتمامه بالمرضى ينسى أو يتناسى أن طريقته و إن كانت مسلية، ليست علاج أيضا، فهو لا يفكر في عواقب تصرفاته، و من منظوره يتحول الممرضين و الأطباء إلى الخصوم، بالرغم أنهم ليسوا جميعا ضده.

 

الفيلم للأسف يهمش دور الأطباء تماما، و يصور مستشفى الأمراض النفسية كمكان لتعذيب المرضى و عزلهم، كذلك يصور المرضى النفسيين بالشكل النمطي على أنهم فقرات مضحكة لغريبوا الأطوار الذين لا يمكن علاجهم بالرغم من عرضهم اللفظي في ضوء مختلف على لسان McMurphy، تم ضم العديد من الفقرات التي لا تضيف عمقا على شخصيات المرضى كمجرد حشو مضحك يخفف من عبء الصراع الرئيسي، الأمر الذي قد يكون مقبولا في سبعينيات القرن الماضي لكنه – على الأقل من وجهة نظري- أقل قبولا الآن، أما الشخصيات النسائية في الفيلم فهى تقريبا منعدمة الحضور، باستثناء الممرضة Ratched (الخصم الرئيسي) لا توجد سوى ممرضة مساعدة لا دور حقيقي لها و Candy التي كأسمها تماما مجرد الفتاة الجميلة التي تبهج McMurphy برفقتها و يمكن نقلها دون عناء لصحبة Billy، Candy لا تتصرف من تلقاء نفسها، فهو ببساطة تفعل ما يقول لها McMurphy أن تفعله.

 

قام بدور McMurphy المتمرد الفنان Jack Nicholson بأداء مقنع و معبر عن تعقيدات الشخصية العنيدة التي تتظاهر أحيانا بأنها تخضع للنظام لكنها تحاول باستمرار كسره، و بالرغم من أن الشخصية مجرم متلاعب يمكنه فعل أي شئ لينال ما يريد إلا أن Jack Nicholson يجعلنا لا نتعاطف معه فقط بل نحبه و نؤيده، يضيف أيضا عنصر كوميدي خاص جدا بهذا الممثل بملامحه المميزة.

 

أما الممرضة Ratched فقد قامت بدورها الممثلة Louise Fletcher و التي كان دورها أكثر تعقيدا، لأنها في الحقيقة لا يظهر برودها أو شرها من فعل صريح، و إنما من نبرات صوتها و نظراتها أو ابتسامة ترى خلسة، حتى تصفيفة شعرها تجعلها اشبه بوحش بقرون، نجحت Luise Fletcher في تقديم كل هذه الرسائل الصغيرة بانسيابية تدفع المتلقي لتفهم كره McMurphy  لها و خشية بقية المرضى منها.

 

مع وجود عدد كبير من الشخصيات في مكان محدود يتألق المخرج Milos Forman و السينماتوغرافي Haskell Wexler اللذان لا يشعرانا بضيق إطار الكاميرا إلا عندما يتطلب المشهد ذلك، يخلقون كتل فنية بأجساد الممثلين الثانويين تؤكد أو تسلب سلطة طرفي الصراع، يصنعوا تشبيهات رمزية بالصور، كالسنجاب الذي يركض فوق سلك شائك كما يحاول McMurphy التحرك في نظام قد يقتله أو يشوهه، و تلوث قبعة الممرضة (و سلطتها) على أيدي المرضى بعد تجرأهم على اتباع McMurphy.

 

الفيلم يطرح مسألة اتباع نظام بلا قلب لتحقيق المصلحة العامة أو اتباع حرية الأفراد في التمرد على القوانين مع تحمل العواقب، و يجيب بأسلوب مفعم بالعواطف و مضمون غير متوقع، لذا يستحق الفيلم من وجهة نظري تقييم 7,5/ 10.


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Kubo and the two strings (2016)

المقالة باللغة العربية

We know that the stories we tell to the children has to be entertaining and interesting, it also carries the values we wish them to adopt in their life. Laika presents the story of Kubo and the two strings, to implant unique values that we rarely find in movies intended for children, however Laika is beginning to be known for them, like -for example – their movie ParaNorman.

Laika depends on using a special method of narrating its stories which is the stop motion animation (that is when they create the characters as little figures and capture their movements one frame at a time, and when the pictures are played successively, it gives the illusion of the figures coming to life) we can notice Laika’s successful development of this technique in this movie, as the movement is smoother and more realistic.

Going back to Kubo who is a young child with one eye, who takes care of his ill mother by selling his stories, music, and origami figures in a nearby village,  even though the story takes place in Japan, Kubo with his sangen (musical instrument) reminds me of the Egyptian Rebab‘s poet who narrates the glorious tales of ancient heroes like Abu Zayd al-Hilali, Kubo narrates similarly the story of his heroic samurai father Hanzo, and as the plot develops our hero Kubo embarks on a journey to seek his father’s magical armor and sword in order to defeat an evil spirit that wishes to inflict harm on Kubo.

On this journey we meet many noteworthy characters, but the most important of them all is certainly Kubo himself whose vocal performance is depicted by the young actor Art Parkinson, who was able through the entire movie to portray our young hero’s complex and constantly changing emotions, for he is confidence when he is narrating his stories in front of a crowd, he is sad as he realize there is nothing he can do to heal his sick mother, he is afraid that he has to face powers that may  rob him of his life, and he is cheerful as life is filled with many joys for a child of his age.

The performance of  Rooney Mara as Kubo’s evil aunts is also praiseworthy, for just the way they call his name is sufficient to let us know that we are to meet cold and dark creatures, and later as they fight Monkey, the vocal interpretation of the actress adds depth to the characters, for they are not as emotionless as they seem, and their fury is justified at least in their point of view.

The role of Monkey was represented by the voice of the actress Charlize Theron, which was suitable, especially that it resembles her role in Mad Max: Fury Road as Furioso, both characters are strict, brave, and willing to risk even their lives to protect those whom they care about, except Monkey is definitely attempting harder to avoid danger.

On the other hand there is Beetle who is performed by Matthew McConaughey, the character is more than just a comic relief or a sidekick for Kubo, he creates a balance with his sense of humor, he is also an important factor in the story and indispensable member of the team to achieve victory.

The music is composed by Dario Marianelli, and it has as powerful of presence as the characters themselves, it accompany us from the first scene to the last, it emphasize the threats of danger and the depth of sadness, in some scenes it lift our spirits and even makes us smile, like the scene where Kubo creates origami birds with his new found magical powers.

There are some images in the movie that I believe were designed to get stuck in the audience’s mind even after the end of the movie, the credit certainly goes to the great effort of the entire cast and to the design of the cinematographer Frank Passingham, like the scene where Kubo’s mother rests on the beach after a deadly and exhausting struggle with the waves, she holds the toddler Kubo in her embrace, as the moon dyes everything surrounding them with shades of blue and black, however Kubo’s mother with her bright yellow robe becomes the center of the image and hope, as the color reminds us of the certainty of the rising sun no matter how dark the night gets.

The movie presents many themes like the true meaning for heroism, for Kubo with his endurance in serving his ill mother, with his attentiveness to his job, with his kindness towards others, Kubo doesn’t need a dangerous journey to become a hero, he already is, the movie also reveals the true power of the audience in any artistic production, for the hero will surely perish if the audience abandons him, and lastly the movie explores the duality of the poet/ warrior who resists evil with his sword and his music, it showcases which side is the more capable in conquering the evil that lies within our world and our spirit.

Kubo and the two strings is intended for children but it is suitable for all ages, the director Travis Knight has offered a production that is worth making him proud, I personally await more successful productions in the future, especially that this movie has raised the standards in this genre.