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Soha Hesham , Tuesday 4 Jul 2023

Karim Abdel-Aziz drove Soha Hesham to see the Eid film Beit Al-Ruby

Beit Al-Ruby


This Eid film season there were four films: Tag starring Tamer Hosni as a superhero alongside Dina Al-Sherbiny, Mr X starring Ahmed Fahmi and Hana Al-Zahid, Al-Boubou (The Boogeyman), starring Amir Karara and Yasmine Sabri and Beit Al-Ruby (Al-Ruby’s House), directed by Peter Mimi. Mainly because of Karim Abdel-Aziz, the latter was the most promising.

Abdel-Aziz appears alongside Karim Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz, the son of the late actor Mahmoud Abdel Aziz who – even though uncannily reminiscent of his father – established his talent as an independent actor in the TV series Al-Beit Beity (This Home is My Home) and, opposite Menna Shalaby, in the film Min Agl Ziko (For Ziko’s Sake), both directed by Mimi.

Released a week before Eid, Beit Al-Ruby revolves around Ibrahim (Karim Abdel-Aziz), his wife (and for no obvious dramatic reason also his cousin) Iman Al-Ruby, a gynecologist, and their son and daughter. The family lives away from the city in a secluded area overlooking the sea, and they keep referring to something negative that happened in the past. This remains unknown until Ibrahim’s brother Ihab (Karim Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz) arrives with his pregnant wife Bahira (Tara Emad) in the yellow Jeep that will later take both families on a quick trip to Cairo, something Ibrahim and Iman are deeply scared of.

Co-written by Mohamed Al-Dabbah and Reem Al-Qammash, the screenplay reveals the story little by little: they fled Cairo following an incident concerning Iman that was leaked onto social media and made their life hell. Now they have to go back to clear the paperwork for a beauty salon that Ihab has inherited, and the plan is for them to stay for only three days.

During their stay in Cairo Ihab’s wife introduces herself as a social media influencer but then Ibrahim unwittingly becomes even more famous within a matter of hours and she grows jealous. Fame makes him want to stay on in Cairo, with the result that Iman’s predicament – the fact that both a mother and a child were lost at her hand – resurfaces, a deliberate move on the part of his social media team to keep him trending, though he doesn’t know this.

It is a light comedy in which both Karims give excellent performances and utilise humour to tackle a significant and sensitive issue, though the screenplay offers little beyond a simple, almost formulaic storyline.

Karim Abdel-Aziz’s debut was alongside the late legend Ahmed Zaki and the late Sanaa Gamil in Edhak Al-Soura Tetlaa Hilwa (Smile, So the Picture Is Good, 1998), followed by his debut appearance on television in the series Emraa Min Zaman Al-Hob (A Woman from the Time of Love), released in the same year, which made his name.

Born in 1975 to an artistic family, his father is the filmmaker Mohamed Abdel-Aziz and his uncle is also the famous filmmaker Omar Abdel-Aziz. As a child Karim performed in five films, the best known of them being Al-Baad Yazhab Lel Maazoun Maratein (Some Revisit the Marriage Officiant, 1978), directed by his father and featuring Nour Al-Sherif, Mervat Amin, Adel Imam, Lebleba, Samir Ghanem and George Sidhom, and Al-Mashbouh (The Felon, 1981), directed by Samir Seif and starring the great Soad Hosni and Adel Imam. He later graduated from the Higher Cinema Institute and embarked on a remakable career as of 1998, proving himself as competent a comedian as a serious actor.

He starred alongside the late comedian Alaa Walieddin in Aboud Ala Al-Hoddoud (Aboud on the Border, 1999), directed by Sherif Arafa, and played the lead in Sandra Nashaat’s Lih Khaletny Ahebak (Why Did I Fall for You, 2000), starring Mona Zaki, Hala Shiha and Ahmed Helmy. He joined forces with Nashaat two more times in Haramiya fi KG2 (Thieves of KG2, 2001) and Haramiya fi Thailand (Thieves in Thailand, 2003). He also starred in Said Marzouk’s Gonoun Al-Haya (Madness of Life, 2000), alongside Elham Shahine. Since the mid 2000s films like Al-Basha Telmiz (The Student Cop, 2004) by Wael Ihsan, Abu Ali (2005) by Ahmed Nader Galal, Wahid Min Al-Nas (One of the People, 2006), Fi Mahatet Masr (At Cairo’s Railway Station, 2006) and Khareg Ala Al-Qanoun (The Outlaw, 2007) were made specifically for him as star vehicles.

In 2009 he starred alongside Sherif Mounir and Mona Zaki in Sherif Arafa’s Welad Al-Aam (Cousins) and before a brief hiatus in Fasel wa Naaoud (A Break and We’ll Be Back, 2011), directed by Ahmed Nader Galal. For five years Abdel-Aziz took a break and came back with a more mature performance in Marwan Hamed’s hit Al-Feil Al-Azrak (The Blue Elephant, 2014) as Yehia, a psychotherapist working at Al-Abbasiya Hospital in the department of criminal psychology, one of whose patients turns out to be an old friend.

In 2019 he made the sequel of Al-Feil Al-Azraq (The Blue Elephant II) and starred in the comedy Nadi Al-Regal Al-Serri (Men Secret Club), directed by Khaled Al-Halafawi and starring with Ghada Adel and Bayoumi Fouad. Last year he participated in the Eid film season alongside Ahmed Ezz with Kira wal Gen (Kira and Al-Gen), directed by Marwan Hamed.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 6 July, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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