Thomas Cook in talks with UK government and investors over rescue deal    US sending troops to bolster Saudi air, missile defenses after attack    Egypt's presidency releases short film on the role of Egypt in founding of the UN    El Gouna Film Festival celebrates 100th birth anniversary of novelist Ihsan Abdel-Quddous    Poland's PiS pledges more spending ahead of parliamentary election    FIPRESCI and Netpack hosted by El Gouna Film festival for the first time    Small protests in Egypt dispersed by police    Tennis: Kenin battles past Stosur to claim Guangzhou crown    No crowds as Apple's iPhone 11 hits stores in China    Egypt jumps nine spots in Tourism Competitiveness Index rankings    Iran would destroy Saudi Arabia in any war:Hezbollah    Israel's Netanyahu trails rival by two seats, coalition talks loom    Ahly wins Egyptian Super Cup after beating Zamalek    Cameroon hires Toni Conceicao as national team coach    UK Labour deputy leader says Brexit stance behind effort to oust him    Egypt's developer SODIC hopes to buy 10% share in Heliopolis Housing    Rare protests in Egyptian streets after online call for dissent    Sisi Oks loan to build four desalination stations in South Sinai    Asian markets amid U.S.-China trade jitters    Egypt's tuk-tuk start-up Halan to tap Ethiopia before year-end    Preview: Plenty of promises as Egyptian league kicks off    Egypt's health ministry bans all ranitidine medication    Cairo Opera hosts closing ceremony of the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre    Egypt, UAE cooperate over drugs combating    Allianz Egypt allots $399K to promote UNICEF's vulnerable children initiative    Felix Brych to referee Ahly-Zamalek Super Cup game in Egypt's Alexandria    Danone Nations, DECATHLON launch series of initiatives, creating change    World at risk of pandemics that could kill millions    'Egypt will not allow any country to impose its will on another in Ethiopian dam issue,' FM says    5 plant-based soup recipes to warm your body and soul    Egypt, Ethiopia at odds as talks over Blue Nile dam resume    Egypt says GERD talks with Ethiopia 'stumbled', next round in Khartoum in October    Egypt's Sisi discusses education, terrorism at national youth conference    Egypt's PM discusses details of Al-Hussein Mosque renovation    Egypt's Baron Empain Palace to be reopen after renovation    Court sentences six to death, 41 to lifetime imprisonment violence related case    Trump says he would release Mideast peace plan after Israeli elections    NBE announces EGP 2.5m prizes for handball youth teams for their world achievements    ACWA Power compares 3 bids to supply production units for Luxor power station    What do you know about gold alloying?    Jennifer Lopez evokes Egyptian outrage post her North Coast performance    Cairo's historic Tahrir square to be renovated – PM    Al-Sisi honours Egypt's scholars on Science Day    IS claims responsibility for suicide bombing killing 63 in Afghan wedding    Political parties gear up for parliamentary, senate, local elections    Unprecedented Glory: Egypt win Men's U-19 World Handball Championship    12th National Egyptian Theatre Festival fuel up public theatre art scene    Ministry of Environment has a plan for "black clouds season"    







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Al Kenz II: Egyptian cinema's sequel mania but not in the usual sense
Published in Ahram Online on 22 - 08 - 2019

This Eid season families who celebrate by going to the movies had five choices, three of which are sequels – an unprecedented phenomenon pointing perhaps to greater commercialisation. One was Khayal Maata (Scarecrow) starring Ahmed Helmy in his silver-screen comeback and written by Abdel-Rehim Kamal (also the author of Al-Kenz) who, together with Helmy, was accused of plagiarism by screenwriter Nehal Samaha, who declared she had discussed the premise with Helmy's wife actress Mona Zaki.
Other offerings included a sequel to Welad Rizk (Sons of Rizk) starring Ahmed Al-Fishawi, Ahmed Ezz and Amr Youssef, written by Salah Al-Geheini and directed by Tarek Al-Eryan, the new Ahmad Al-Sobki production Enta Habibi wi Bas (You're My Only Love), a comedy starring Safinaz and singer Al-Leithi and directed by Ahmed Al-Badri, director Marwan Hamed's The Blue Elephant II (actually released before the Eid and previously reviewed here) and Al-Kenz II.
Al-Kenz II: Al-Hob wal Massir (The Treasure II: Love and Destiny) is the second part of director Sherif Arafa's 2017 collaboration with screenwriter Abdel-Rehim Kamal Al-Kenz: Al-Haqiqa wal Khayal (The Treasure: The Truth and Fantasy), produced by Walid Sabri.
It brings together three intertwined tales that deliver the same message over and over even though they are set in different eras: the story of Queen Hatshepsut (Hind Sabri), the second confirmed female Pharaoh who fought for her crown after the death of her husband Thutmose II, balancing religion and politics as she schemes to reach the top and even giving up her love for Senenmut (Hani Adel) to preserve her power until the crown goes to Thutmose III (Ahmed Malek); the story of the Robin Hood-like figure Ali Al-Zebaa (Mohamed Ramadan) and his gang, who fights the unjust Ottoman official Al-Kalbi (Abbas Abul-Hassan), once again evidencing a corrupt connection between religion and politics, even though he is in love with his daughter Nafissa (Rouby); and the story of Bishr Pasha Al-Katatny himself, who witnesses the events of the 1952 revolution as an adult and loses his beloved Neemat (Amina Khalil) when she marries his brother Mustafa (Haitham Ahmed Zaki).
The treasure of the title, which Hassan eventually finds, turns out to be the tomb built by Senenmut for himself and Hatshepsut.
This is not a sequel in the usual sense, however, since Al-Kenz is effectively one long film chopped down the middle, with the second film simply continuing the events of the first, which ended abruptly and unjustifiably for the viewer.
In both the ideas are in-your-face, the dialogue cliched and unconvincing with inopportune jokes ruining the scenes between Sabri and Adel especially. Nor are costume and décor very sound, with the makeup – in the case of Ahmed Rizk as Hassan's old guide, for example – being particularly unsuccessful.
Acting was very uneven, with a confusing cameo by Sawsan Badr at the start, inappropriately theatrical delivery by Abdel-Aziz Makhyoun as the Pharaonic Sage Ini and excellent work by comedian Mohamed Saad, who proves he is able to transcend his traditional stock characters, such as Al-Lemby.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 22 August 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Sequel mania
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