Religious feasts have always been a good season for filmmakers to release new movies and make profits. People wait for Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha to take a short vacation to help them relax and remove themselves from stressful work environments.
It has become habitual for Egyptians to visit the cinema during the Eid holidays, coordinating with the time periods in which Egyptian superstars release their films. Images of long lines of people waiting to purchase tickets to new films is quite the normal scene during the holidays.
This year’s Eid Al-Adha witnessed a special release: the first online movie produced with cinematic equipment.
Not only did the movie break records of being the first Egyptian film screened only online, it also reproduced the fan-favourite film Titanic, but with an Egyptian twist.
Titanic Bel Araby (the Arabic version of Titanic) presents a sarcastic version of the story of Jack and Rose, the main characters in the iconic Titanic movie.
Sponsored by TUC and OLX companies, the movie, starring the leading actress Bushra and the social media icon Shady Soror, is considered a new experience for the Egyptian filmmaking industry.
In the Arabic version, the young actor Soror, who plays the part of Jack, is a poor guy from Port Said who wants to make a fortune, while Bushra, who plays Rose, is a wealthy girl from the Gulf region.
Unlike the typical romantic love story built between a couple that come from different backgrounds, the Arabic version ironically shows the typical stereotypes of wealthy Arabs and stingy people from Port Said.
Cinematically, the movie contradicts all traditional production and distribution plans, as it was released on YouTube without any screenings taking place in the cinema.
Although the audience’s comments on the movie’s trailer has ranged between enthusiasm, sarcasm, anger, and admiration, the movie’s director, Mohammed Khedr, promised to provide a remarkable experience that may open the door to a new genre of low-budget movies in Egypt.
However, all these promises were made in vain when the film was released, with many audience members feeling like their expectations were struck to the ground.
According to social media feedback, the film was the furthest from being funny. Not only were its stars featured in a not-so-funny way, the dialogue was lacking the promised humour.
“I have wasted a huge amount of time on nonsense throughout my whole life, but the worst 30 minutes of all were those that I spent watching this film,” one social media user commented.
“I think Leonardo DiCaprio would’ve committed suicide if he knew you [Soror] played his role,” another comment stated.
While Soror is known for his short funny flicks, the film was a total fail for him, even in the eyes of his fans. In six days, the film achieved 2.8 million views on YouTube.
However, the film does have its supporters, who defended its idea by believing that it opens the gate for creativity in this cinematic field.
“You don’t have to find the film funny in order to be happy that there’s a new type of unique movie that doesn’t follow the same old pathway,” said actor Amr Salama in a Facebook post. “Actually, I find this a very important step in the world of art and creativity, and hopefully it will be the gateway into a new type of cinema.”