Review: ‘On a Day Like Today’

Tyro helmer Amr Salama goes out of his way to give "On a Day Like Today" a hip indie gloss that's miles from the usual garish Egyptian drama, but imitating the Western canon of cool isn't enough without consistent characterization and cohesion.

Tyro helmer Amr Salama goes out of his way to give “On a Day Like Today” a hip indie gloss that’s miles from the usual garish Egyptian drama, but imitating the Western canon of cool isn’t enough without consistent characterization and cohesion. Tale of a woman spooked by the similarities between her dead fiance and her current beau starts off intriguingly but takes a nosedive just before the one-hour mark, and while pic created a buzz at home after its early October opening, offshore play will be limited to Middle Eastern showcases.

Mai (Basma, hollow) has found the perfect partner in Ayman (Nabil Eissa), but when her junkie brother Mohamed (Asser Yassin) tries to steal her engagement ring, Ayman gets killed in the chase. Months later, Mai meets actor Yasser (Ahmed El Fishawy) and starts to emerge from her funk, but soon she realizes every milestone in their relationship eerily coincides with those she shared with Ayman. Salama’s concept isn’t bad, but Mohamed and his pregnant g.f., Hala (Arwa Goda), are far more compelling than Mai and her paranormal travails. Handheld lensing and cool tonalities provide the desired sleekness.

On a Day Like Today

Egypt

Production

A Rotana Studios presentation of a Film Clinic, Rotana Studios production. (International sales: Rotana Studios, Cairo.) Produced by Mohamed Hefzy. Executive producer, Perihan Mahfouz. Directed, written, edited by Amr Salama.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Ahmed Gabr; music, Hani Adel; production designer, Sherine Farghal; costume designer, Laila Soliman. Reviewed on DVD at Middle East Film Festival (competing), Abu Dhabi, Oct. 19, 2008. Original title: Zay el naharda. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Basma, Ahmed El Fishawy, Asser Yassin, Arwa Goda, Maha Abou Ouf, Nabil Eissa, Rania Shaheen, Zeinab Ismail, Abdel Aziz Makhyon, Mahmoud El Bezawy.
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