Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Excuse my French

Despite the English title "Excuse my French" (2014) is actually from Egypt with English being the only non Arabic language used.  Hany, the young protagonist is in a Christian family with lots of religious artifacts evident.  His parents loved watching "Seinfeld" while Hany watched American sit coms.  He is considered humorous by classmates and does well in most subjects 

Hany lives a protected life in Egypt with a loving father who dies unexpectedly.  He had been attending a private school, but his widow was informed that her husband had been living above their means and they had to find economies.

Hany is agreeable to going to a public school.  He hadn't realized the majority of his fellow students would be Muslim.  His mother had warned him not to talk to any of them.  Observing his classmates he decided it would be better to fit in.  A few seem to realize Hany is not quite like them, but keep it to themselves.

The second half gets more explicit.  His mother was consulting a lawyer about leaving the country and was advised she might claim discrimination based on her religion, but would not be able to return.  Hany watches tv with a variety of views regarding religion and reads.  Some of the opinions are hateful, while a few seem reconcilable.

He decides to enter a religious song contest and wins.   He was asked to sing popular song and does.

Overhears older boys talking disrespectfully about one of the female teachers.  They confront and threaten him.  He has had a good relationship with the teacher, Miss Nelly and decides to approach her and tells her to wear conservative clothes which she resents.  Very shortly she leaves the school upsetting some students and staff.   

We see Hany watching a Christian play in which Peter denies Christ.  This affects him and decides to be  open about his affiliation.  During Ramadan his mother asks him to eat his sandwiches at home rather than taunt those fasting.  He decides to eat in front of those honoring Ramadan.  He gets involves in some fights, but surprisingly some students stand by him.  

He runs into Ms. Nelly at a Christian wedding and they greet each other friendly.  We learn she is Muslim, although dressed in a western fashion.

Emigration continues to be a concern.  We see a  number of prospective migrants in crowded room--including one of his teachers.   His mother does not want to leave and claims to not been discriminated against.  In fact there has been increasing discrimination against the Coptic church.

In the end it seems that Hany and his mother have decided to stay.  Perhaps some minorities can feel comfortable in challenging environments

Although aware that the Coptic Church had long been established in Egypt most assume Egypt is a Muslim country.  One authority I recall claimed Jesus spent time in Alexandria.  There definitely are some who realize the Christians play a positive role, but there is also religious fervor against them.   

Amr Saama, the writer/director was born in Saudi Arabia.  He likes to deal with political and social issues. He won an award at the Venice Film Festival for  a documentary, "Tahrir 2011:  The Good, the Bad and the Politician" (2011).  Another film he directed and wrote was "Asmaa" (2011)--more below.

Rami Gheit is also listed as a (live) director.  He also plays one of the public school teachers in a semi comic role.  He also  been a 2nd director including for "Fair Game" (2010)

Ahmad Dash who played Hany was 13 to 14 years old while filming his first film.  He has since been involved in several films and tv series in Egypt.  He is both lovable and believable. 

Kinda Alloush played Hany's mother.  She received her acting training in Syria and has appeared in films in Syria, Egypt and Jordan.

Hany Adel played the father for a short time.  Aside from acting he also wrote music for this film and others.

Samia Assad played Miss Nelly.  Her film credits included "Asmaa" (2011)

 Bayoumi Fouad played the understanding public school principal.  He has over 150 film credits including ""Asmaa" (2011)

Hind Sabri had a non speaking role as a Christian bride.  Had the title role in "Asmaa" (2011) about a woman suffering from AIDS determined to support others in her situation.

This movie on Netflix gives insight into minorities in other countries--they are not all the same.  It is well presented.

Egypt has the technology to turn out interesting movies and some of social value.  Check:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2022/02/newtons-cradle.html

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