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Bonne Soirée: The story of bare shoulders, etc.

Bonne Soirée is a sign of cultural decadence and duplicity in contemporary Egyptian taste. The movie is more an expose on women's bare flesh than it is about anything else.

Wael Eskandar, Saturday 25 Dec 2010
Bon Soiree
Ghada Abel Razek - Bon Soiree
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This review of Bonne Soirée must be prefaced with a spoiler alert: This movie will spoil your day (if not your entire week). This reviewer has been coerced by his (sadistic) editor into watching about 90 minutes or so of mental torture and sees no reason why others should suffer the same. In the trailer, the makers of the film apologize for the film not being shown in Eid, however such an apology is unwarranted as they did cinema goers a favor which, unfortunately, did not last very long. In short, this movie was abysmal and might very well scoop worst movie of the year.

Expectations of a bland, banal movie by the infamous El Sobky productions were shattered by a film that is more heinous than could be expected. The movie seems to be an ancient relic from a time before people knew how to make films.

It may be a sin to objectively assess Bonne Soirée, but nevertheless such a risk must be taken. The film’s opening sequence set the bar for the rest of the movie. Disruptive music, poor sound editing, annoying camera work, an underwritten script and a rather distasteful, naïve, kitsch and insulting plot were all but the first of birth pains, with more to come. Repetitive aggravating camera moves were unsettling, such as the obligatory slow moving camera close-up on every character’s face as they deliver their lines. As if that’s not enough, poor lines are delivered poorly with invasive music hovering over every scene in an attempt to alleviate their insipidity.

The film allegedly stars Ghada Abdel Razek, Mai Kassab and Nahla Zaki as three sisters, Hoda, Iman and Afaf (Why bother give them names, we’re left wondering).  In reality the film stars bare shoulders, legs and large breasts, also known as meat, something with which El Sobky has expertise. The film is essentially an over-inflated walkthrough of Ghada and Nahla’s wardrobes as they unnecessarily dress in revealing clothing, oblivious to the fine line between sexy and crass. All maids are wearing a traditional porn outfit of a French maid with the greater portion of their legs exposed to serve the purpose of a passing remark by Hassan Hosny and Talat Zakareya who guest stars as Ghada Abdel Razek’s cheating husband. In one of the scenes Ghada looks at a bellydancer’s large breasts (Marwa), looks at her own, then looks at Nahla’s and finally pronounces, “Wow.”

Ghada Abdel Razek plays the role of a spoilt rich girl completely oblivious to the realities of the world, a role performed with so much crass that it is nothing short of scandalous. Alongside Ghada is Nahla Zaki, who loses all credibility as soon as she delivers her lines. Her talents would be better suited for a photo shoot or a music video where she can be quiet and look pretty, but not as a lead in any movie.

After the first ten minutes of meaningless humorless events, the girls’ father dies, leaving behind a large debt that will strip the girls of everything. An old friend of their father’s comes to save the day, paying off a debt owed to their father by leaving them Bonne Soirée, a cabaret that he owns. Nadeem (Hassan Hosny), the manager of the cabaret is stricken with jealousy and schemes to take over the cabaret. He succeeds in pocketing all the profit until the girls find out that he has been cheating them and start taking matters into their own hands. They succeed and he tries to win it back again, and he does. The End.

Perhaps it would be unfair to reveal the plot without mentioning the highlight of the movie. In new year’s eve, Nadeem arranges for Tamer Hosny (aka Tamoora) to sing at the cabaret. Predictably, Tamoora is a no show and in steps the dance craving Hoda and her sister Afaf to save the day by dancing to crowd of drunks expecting a show.

The real issue with the film is that that it’s not even funny. There is a very obvious attempt at humor driven by failed improvisation and jokes that simply don’t work. The most disconcerting aspect of Bonne Soirée however, is that films like these are still being made. This means that either El Sobky is making money elsewhere to finance his hobby or that these films are turning a profit. The latter seems to be a more viable conclusion and it often gives rise to the question as to how tens of people can all commit to making such brazen ugliness for a few weeks of their lives.

In light of Egypt’s recent international wins with films like El Shooq, Microphone and Hawi, Bon Soiree is a sign of blatant duplicity within Egypt’s social fabric. It is a sign of a strong force of cultural decadence that successfully continues to sweep the country.

 

Starring: Ghada Abdel Razek, Mai Kassab, Hassan Hosny, Tallat Zakaria, Marwa, Nahla Zaki

Produced by: El Sobky; Written by: Mahmoud Abou Zeid

Directed by: Ahmed Awad

The movie is shown in the following cinemas: City Center, Rivoli, Golf City Cinema, Good News Grand Hyatt, Dandy Mall, Tiba, Metro, Genena, Renaissance Nile City Cinema, Renaissance 6th of October, Renaissance Downtown, Renaissance Wonderland, Renaissance Cairo Mall, Sheraton, Rehab Cinema, Faten Hamama, Family Cinema

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