Director Radwan al Kashef’s al Saher (The Magician) starring actor Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, has succeeded to bring pleasure to audience during the Eid al Adha holiday in Egypt.
In contrast with the title, the audience becomes familiarized with the magician after he stops his spells. Abdel Aziz plays alongside Salwa Khattab as a man who tries to bring pleasure to a certain class within Egyptian society that suffers from neglect and deprivation.
Earlier, Kashef featured this world and the world of marginal people in his first film Leh Ya Banafsag (Why Purple?), but the script of the film Magician, written by Sami al Sewi, does not only tell about one story but rather a group of stories, the most important which is the one in which the magician Mansour Bahgat lives.
Typical of many films of the past decade al Sahir is about life on the margins and the fate of the marginalised. Yet unlike many of its sister movies it is a much gentler take on those blurred areas of existence. A lot of the action takes place on the rooftop of a building in Old Cairo. Yet with Salah Marei's simple sets the roof, with a view of the Nile and healthy green plants, is not an oppressive marginal space. It is sunny, homey and safe. It accommodates Mansour's old magic-making equipment, including his pigeons, it has room for his daughter Noor and Hammouda's love affair, it accommodates Shawqiya (played by Khattab) after her divorce and witnesses her growing romance with Mansour. And it is finally in Shawqiya's room on the roof that Noor and Hammouda's engagement party takes place, according to al Ahram Weekly.
The characters exist on multiple margins and borders themselves, both spatial and psychological. Though they are all charged with sexual (and other) frustrations they manage to come out on top in the end. The most dramatic of these is, of course, Ali, on the verge of blindness, who can see and cannot see. Hisham, on the other hand, is forever stalled in his mental state. Scriptwriter Sami al Siwi and al Kashef should be credited for including this character, played brilliantly by Hisham Mashhour, so unobtrusively – Albawaba.com
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