Review: Movie - Assal Eswed - 2010


Assal Aswad (Black Honey)

Ahmed Helmy’s latest film discusses the negative aspects of Egyptian society as presented through the point of view of an Egyptian who had emigrated more than twenty years prior. The screenplay of the movies was written by Khaled Diab. Throughout the screenplay, Diab has endeavored to “dissect” Egyptian society in such a way so as to present all of its shortcomings without analyzing them or detailing the direct reasons behind their existence. This has led the screenplay to acquire a rather...Read more superficial tone. Khaled Al Mara’y has excelled in his role as director and has provided the production with several poignant scenes. Helmy has also performed admirably in his role as the returning emigrant. Nonetheless, Helmy’s portrayal was compromised by the fact that he did not speak with an American accent despite the fact that his character had supposedly spent the last twenty years living in the United States. Edward’s role as Sa’id was one of the best in his career thus far. Moreover, In’am Salousa was also extremely successful in her portrayal of the passionate Egyptian mother. Amy Samir Ghanem also proved herself as an upcoming comedy actress. Despite the fact that the production is critical of Egyptian society, it has nonetheless received praise from audiences. Critics were more divided in their opinion with some supporting and others opposing the movie’s central theme. Nonetheless, critics have been unanimous in their belief that the film is of a high caliber. Ussama El Shazly, who works at elcinema.com, has described the film as Helmy’s first attempt to discuss themes relevant to his homeland whereas A’bd Al Shakour has described as a transition in Helmy’s career in cinema.


Bitter Honey "Helmy"

It is well known that molasses is the liquid remaining in the manufacture of sugar from cane sugar after refining. It is a popular dish and Egypt, from the Umayyad period. Its distribution, until recently, was in the hands of hawkers who carried jars and jugs for sale by going around the streets and lanes before it was produced by food companies and sold to the Egyptian market . This is the definition of the title chosen by the film crew "Molasses" - specifically, Lotfi Labib - to be...Read more the title of a film that is an important issue, namely the transformation of personality (identity) in the Egyptian last quarter of the last century. This is presented through the eyes of an Egyptian returning from the United States after the 20-year absence. But the film did not present this issue, it has highlighted the dark without the honey. The writer Khaled Diab, tried to dissect the Egyptian society and show all his faults and major transformations in the characters of people without giving reasons or trying to analyze, which has a dimension somewhat superficial for this scenario. He clarified and highlighted the shortcomings such as the spread of corruption, low levels of education, overcrowding and constant humiliation to which exposed the Egyptian citizen in his country. At the same time, he did not identify the nostalgia and the return decision taken by the hero at the end. Khaled Diab has not bothered to deepen the personality of Masri El Sayed El Arabi - Ahmed Helmy - the hero of the film. Nothing is known of him that he is an Egyptian citizen who emigrated to the United States as a child with his parents 20 years ago and returned after the death of his parents to a photography workshop in preparation for its exhibition America and try life in Egypt to return permanently. This target is lost at the end of the first fifteen minutes of the film and the relationship between the protagonists. The writer was simply to highlight the intimate warmth of the Egyptian family, especially during Ramadan. The most important scenario Khaled Diab were based on the situation comedy is what we lack and which has been replaced by the effect which has become a disease in Egyptian cinema. The director Khaled Mareei maintained the pace of the film and the same level with which he presented before "Timur and Chafiqa" and "Sorry for the inconvenience". His work as an editor helped him, especially since he himself who directed the film editing. He took care of cadres especially, the hero working photographer. The music of Omar Khayrat, as usual, gives further dimensions to the film and the songs in the film are well used. The performance of Riham Abdel Hakim is excellent. The sets of Mohammad Amin gave a warm image especially the abandoned house of the hero 20 years ago and the single house of the Egyptian family.