Henedy’s Eid of­fer­ing is a treat for fans of Ara­bic film

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An­tar Ibn Ibn Ibn Shad­dad Di­rec­tor: Sherif Ismail Stars: Mo­hamed Henedy, Bassem Samra, Dorra and Eman El­sayed Ara­bic film af­fi­ciona­dos do not have much to choose from this Eid sea­son. Much- an­tic­i­pated Egyp­tian dra­mas Jawab E’Tikal and Herob It­tary failed to make it onto UAE cin­ema screens as ad­ver­tised, while the re­lease of Egyp­tian pop-star Tamer Hosny’s drama Tis­bah Ala Khair has been de­layed. For­tu­nately, Mo­hamed Henedy’s sparkling new com­edy, An- tar Ibn Ibn Ibn Shad­dad, pro­vides some good cheer.

No, the ti­tle, with its re­peated “Ibn”, is not a typo. It refers to Henedy’s char­ac­ter, who is part of the lin­eage of the great pre-Is­lamic Arab knight and poet An­tarah ibn Shad­dad. Not that he ini­tially knows this. The film be­gins with him known as Hich­mat. After be­ing aban­doned as a baby in a desert mosque, he is adopted and ends up work­ing in the fam­ily- run elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ance store with his half-brother, Saeed (Bassem Samra).

The lat­ter – a wily, self-serv­ing businessman – re­veals to Hich­mat his true iden­tity after an en­counter with a his­to­rian of- fer­ing riches for arte­facts from the his­tor­i­cal Ibn Shad­dad clan.

So Hich­mat, with Saeed in tow, re­turns to the desert and his roots, where he dis­cov­ers a tribe in need of lead­er­ship against a ma­raud­ing ri­val gang. Fans of Henedy know what to ex­pect – the 52-year-old essen­tially plays the same char­ac­ter in most of his come­dies – a fran­tic neu­rotic in the vein of Se­in­feld’s Ge­orge Costanza.

What el­e­vates An­tar Ibn Ibn Ibn Shad­dad to one of his best of­fer­ings since 2012’s Tita Ra­heeba is that some thought has gone into the plot.

The char­ac­ters are well drawn, par­tic­u­larly Saeed (Bassem Samra), who dis­plays an en­gag­ing, con­flicted mix of ten­der­ness and self­ish­ness.

The script also does what good come­dies should do – sub­tly al­lude to a wider topic af­fect­ing so­ci­ety. In this case, the film ques­tions the ex­tent to which moder­nity should be prized over his­tory.

But the script’s big­gest suc­cess lies in the many zingers through­out. When Hich­mat learns his heroic fa­ther has died in bat­tle as a re­sult of catch­ing a cold, he quips: “You guys didn’t have an­tibi­otics?”

Yes, in print reads as cheesy but when con­veyed in the trademark rapid-fire Egyp­tian ver­nac­u­lar, it will il­licit a hearty laugh. Fun and care­free, An­tar Ibn Ibn Ibn Shad­dad is Mo­hammed Henedy at his best.

cine­mas now is in

Courtesy Ta­her Pro­duc­tion

Mo­hamed Henedy in An­tar Ibn Ibn Ibn Shad­dad.

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