Documaker Ahmed Atef pulls out all the stops in his feature bow, a high-spirited adolescent fantasy about the wall facing young Egyptians as they enter adult life. Instead of dramatizing job shortages and corruption, "Omar 2000" leaps into a magical Helzapoppin' world of ghosts and goblins. A big winner at the Alexandria film fest, this uncategorizable pic inspired by everything from Indian song-and-dance movies to "A Thousand and One Nights" is quite a reach for Western auds, though some fests may take a shine to it.

Documaker Ahmed Atef pulls out all the stops in his feature bow, a high-spirited adolescent fantasy about the wall facing young Egyptians as they enter adult life. Instead of dramatizing job shortages and corruption, “Omar 2000″ leaps into a magical Helzapoppin’ world of ghosts and goblins. A big winner at the Alexandria film fest, this uncategorizable pic inspired by everything from Indian song-and-dance movies to “A Thousand and One Nights” is quite a reach for Western auds, though some fests may take a shine to it.

Unpromising opening shows Omar turning 30 with gray hair and no job prospects. Deciding to immigrate to America, he gives himself a month to “go wild.” Equally irritating in his manic and depressive phases, Omar finally finds his match in an uninhibited girl who was accidentally buried alive and now lives for the day. Best part of film is a graveyard full of ghosts. There is a remarkably frank sex scene, shot as a choreographed song number, and a refreshingly nonconformist attitude toward women. But pic’s chaotic home- movie look and string of undigested slogans against consumerism and war pull it down.

Omar 2000

Egypt

Production

A Shoaa production. Produced by Aboul Kassem Omar Rageh, Ali Al Warshefani. Directed, written by Ahmed Atef.

Crew

Camera (color), Said Shimi; editor, Mona Rabie; music, Hesham Nazih; production designer, Mohamad Al Moetassem. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (In Praise of Folly sidebar), Jan. 27, 2001. (Also in Alexandria Film Festival.) Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Khaled Al Nabawi, Mona Zaki, Ahmed Helmi, Monalisa, Ahmed Fouad Selim.
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