Egypt detects 354 new coronavirus cases, 12 deaths on Monday    Egypt condemns Houthi attack on Saudi fuel distribution terminal    Sisi, telecom company Orange discuss increasing cooperation in Egypt    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Suspension of CAF boss Ahmad opens elections race wide open    GCC countries surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases: Reuters Tally    AstraZeneca novel COVID-19 vaccine can be 90% effective, results show    Egypt's military production minister, S. Korean ambassador discuss boosting industrial cooperation    UN urges civilian protection after Ethiopia's 72-hr deadline for Tigrayan forces    Orascom Development inks $265m loan deal with four banks    International Energy Agency tailors a plan for post COVID-19    Egypt-Kenya bilateral trade hits $303m in H1-20    Suarez says Uruguay players let guard down after spate of COVID-19 cases    Polling stations open at home for 1st stage of Egyptian parliamentary run-offs    Liverpool coach Klopp blasts broadcasters over hectic match schedule    Biden expected to nominate Blinken as secretary of state    Egypt detects 351 new coronavirus cases, 13 deaths on Sunday    Egyptian president inaugurates Middle East and Africa Smart Transportation Fair    Winners of the 5th Sharm El-Sheikh Int'l Theatre Festival for Youth    Egypt confirms 358 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Saturday    BREAKING: Sudan decides not to participate in ministerial meeting on GERD Saturday    G20 to discuss post-pandemic world, back debt relief    First day of Egypt's parliamentary runoffs kicks off for expats    US will reduce number of its troop in Iraq, Afghanistan    Don't miss the concerts of the 12th Cairo International Jazz Festival    Asia forms world's biggest trade bloc, a China-backed group excluding U.S    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Palestinians mourn the loss their longtime spokesman, Saeb Erekat    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    1st stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections kicks off on Saturday    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    Legend footballer Lionel Messi says he is forced to stay with Barcelona    Iraqi conglomerate eyes developing land that housed Mubarak-era ruling party HQ    Famous Egyptian actor Mahmoud Yassin passes away at 79    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Broken hacks
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 06 - 07 - 2017

This year, where the audiovisual media is concerned, electronic espionage seems to be all the rage. It was a major theme in one of the best serials this Ramadan Hadha Al-Masaa (This Evening), written through a workshop conducted by the director Tamer Mohsen. And it's also one in the Eid film Al-Asliyin (or “The Indigenes”). A new collaboration between director Marwan Hamed and novelist Ahmed Murad —whose novel The Blue Elephant Hamed made into a 2014 movie — the film also features Karim Abdel-Aziz and Khaled Al-Sawy. Unlike Turab Al-Mass (Diamond Dust), a film of which is also planned by Hamed, The Indigenes is not based on a novel; it is Murad's debut screenplay.
The film stars Maged Al-Kedwani as Samir Elewa, a bank employee whose wife Mahitab (Kenda Aloush) is a greedy and materialistic woman. They live with their son and daughter in an upscale gated community. One day Samir arrives at the bank to discover he has been forced to leave. That night a smartphone is left anonymously at the door. He picks it up and, to his astonishment, it contains videos of him at different ages starting in his early childhood, obviously filmed from within the house and featuring members of his family. Too much, tedious detail comes up at this point, much of which serves no purpose later on. Likewise the directorial technique: the suspense and mystery, especially within Samir's maze-like house, seems to serve no dramatic purpose whatsoever.
Samir is now confronted with the fact of having been watched all his life, and he has no idea who is watching him or how. Soon enough, however, he receives a phone call and ends up meeting a middle-aged man (Khaled Al-Sawy) at a public park. The man, who calls himself Roushdie Abaza (after the legendary actor), introduces himself as a member of a giant institution called the Indigenes, who out of love for the country have used mobile (and presumably also pre-mobile) technology to spy on people for many years with the purpose of protecting the country. Roushdie Abaza offers Samir a job with the Indigenes for a comparable income to what he got from the bank. And so, notwithstanding the many loopholes in the script, Samir himself becomes a reluctant Indigene, a hacker spying on other people.
He is assigned to watch a young Egyptologist named Thourya Galal (Menna Shalabi), whose life details — her mother, her unfaithful boyfriend — eventually reveal a possible antiquities smuggling connection in Luxor. Still too much irrelevant detail: Samir attends one of Thouraya's lectures and is told off by Roushdie Abaza; Mourad's perennial fascination with hallucinogens (an idiotic reference to DMT in The Blue Elephant) comes up in Thouraya's search for the blue lotus. Eventually Samir flees to the Oases where he starts a technology-free camp by way of rebelling against the whole system...
All through this second-rate imitation of James Ponsoldt's The Circle, there is no genuine characterisation or coherent picture of people's lives. Thouraya's lecture — delivered to images of ancient Egypt — feels disconnected. Unfortunately for Hamed, much audiovisual material in and beyond Hollywood — not only documentaries like Citizenfour but also television series like Mr Robot and Black Mirror — has tackled the theme of surveillance in far more convincing and relevant ways since Edward Snowden defected from the NSA in 2013.
The topic was far more effectively tackled in This Evening, in which mobile phones cause far more convincing problems to far more lifelike people between a working-class neighbourhood and an upper-class one: two brothers who own a mobile shop and hack into people's mobile phones with a view to blackmail and extortion, for example. Despite considerably more expensive production values, The Indigenes compares very unfavourably to this work.

Clic here to read the story from its source.