Just went to see the Egyptian movie "Cabaret" last night. Came out of it less than impressed, and with shaabi pop music ringing in my ears for hours. The movie tells the story of one night in a cabaret (an establishment that features belly dancers and singers) in Giza, and of the lives of nine characters from among the staff, the entertainers, and the customers. The movie suffers from faults common in the current crop of Egyptian films: too many characters, poor editing, over-the-top drama, "social issues" (like prostitution) shoe-horned into the plot. Then again, there are some funny scenes, some good acting, and a few plot lines which would have born great fruit if they'd been properly developed. But it's a bit troubling how much the film titillated the audience with endless shots of female booty, joint-smoking and beer-swilling--thus making the film "edgy" and above all marketable--but swathed all this voyeurism in a thin layer of moral condemnation.
The Arabist is published and edited by Issandr El Amrani, a writer and analyst based in Cairo, with contributions by friends.
The Arabist is a labor of love. We don't make much from ads, so please contribute to keep us going.