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Movie review (Arabic): 3AlZero

24 Aug 2023 By ANIRBAN RAY

Genre: Family Drama

Among the many themes of cine story-telling, paternal love has always held a classic standard. Reminiscing several tear jerking scenarios from Bicycle Thieves (son comforting the distraught father among crowd) and Apur Sansar (son being carried on father’s shoulders) to In the Pursuit of Happiness (father-son fighting back tears), the latest Egyptian film 3AlZero can also be placed in the similar shelf of ‘feel good’ films.

This is the first film jointly produced by El Adl Group and VOX Studios, the production arm of VOX Cinemas, and is directed by Mohamed Gamal al Adl.

The film narrates the tale of a struggling singer and a single parent (Dragon Hamza) played by Mohammad Ramadan who gets the shock of his life when his son Yousuf is diagonalised with leukaemia. He is in dire need of a huge amount of money to treat his son and there starts the ‘hero’s journey’.

Dragon sells his equipment, his lovely dog Shakira is kicked out from his rented place and is seen roaming the streets in the rain, he gets associated with drug dealers and finally sells his kidney only to treat his son. A bad boy with a soft heart, he falls in love with a nurse Mariyam who also takes Yousuf as her son.

With occasional comic relief, the film touches on several social issues of modern Egypt (which is, indeed, very similar to other countries). Corrupt and heartless medical practice, forced organ donation due to poverty, and painful relationships are some of the issues that have been portrayed with brilliance. The painful plight of an ageing artist Warda who makes TikTok videos imitating the popular Soad Hosny drives in us a comic-tragic tickle. Interestingly financial help comes for Yousuf’s treatment from the downtrodden Maryiam, Warda, Nabil and not the rich (doctors, businessmen).

Symbolically, the narrative, believing in ‘Art for Life’s sake, takes us through the moralistic idea: What goes around comes around. The film begins and ends with saving lives: Dragon saving a rich man’s son from suicide and finally his own son being saved by others in the end. Call it fate or karma, the film clearly proves good action yields good results.

Starring: Mohamed Ramadan, Nely Kareem, Joumana Mourad, Islam Ibrahim, Monzar Mohran

Star: ***

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