Mongol is a 2007 semi-historical film directed by Sergei Bodrov about Temüjin, the young Genghis Khan. The film was an international co-production between companies in Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. Shooting took place, for the most part, in the China, mainly in Inner Mongolia, and in Kazakhstan.

Mongols need laws.
I will make them obey…
…even if I have to kill half of them.
Our laws will be simple.
Don’t kill women or children.
Don’t forget your debts.
Fight enemies to the end.
And never betray your khan.

The movie is an epic story of the young Temüjin and how events in his early life lead him to become a legendary conqueror, starting from his choice of a bride when he was nine years old, his father death and the betrayal of the clan, his escape and the humiliation he endured before rising to power.

(spoiler alert)

The movie’s  cinematography is superb. The landscapes, the use of colours, the costumes are incredible. And the actors were surprisingly very well trained, in battle scenes and in emotional ones as well. The one thing that disappointed me is that the movie concentrated only on the hardships Genghis Khan faced, before becoming the Great Khan, but the crucial part of how he collected the men and united the Mongolian tribes was jumped for one final battle! Also the movie makers focused on a soft version of the ruthless Genghis Khan, by concentrating on his love story after years and years of separation.

You Are Not Welcome Here

This is definitely not a typical sci-fi movie. It’s a movie that engages you in questioning the ideas instead of being mesmerized by the latest graphics technology. This is not to say that graphics were not on A level, they were, and at the exactly right portion for the normal viewer. The first thing that makes this movie special is that IT IS NOT A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE! YAY!

The director is Neill Blomkampm, born in South Africa and living in Canada, really did a great job in making you believe that this movie was REAL.

The story is about a spaceship that was hovering over Johannesburg, with a large number of sick aliens. They were allocated to camps, which were transformed by time into a slum refugee camp called District 9. After 20 years of troubles between the locals and their new neighbours, the government decides to evict them outside of the capital.

The movie starts as a semi-documentary, with some interiews on what happened during the eviction, especially to the one responsible for the eviction. Shit happens and he finds himself in a situation where he needs the aliens’ help, or else he’s finished. Tough situation.

I may seem biased for the movie, but I just loved it. I loved the camera movement, the soundtrack, the acting, the directing. Everything.

I even liked hearing an accent I’m not used to 🙂

I found some interesting Trivia on imdb, for example: “All the shacks -except only one- in District 9 were actual shacks that exists in a section of Johannesburg which were to be evacuated and the residents moved to better government housing, paralleling the events in the film. Also paralleling, the residents had not actually been moved out before filming began.” WOW! This must have been tough!!

Also check out the website, it’s so cool 🙂

And some quotes:

Automated MNU Instructional Voice: [in MNU Humvee] When dealing with aliens, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet.

Slumdog Millionaire

I am not into Indian movies. Some people like the music, the dances, the actors, but for me the only thing that can make me watch the Indian movie is the colourful schemes. I was surprised to see “Slumdog Millionaire” among the nominated movies in the Oscar, and later on winning Best Picture, Best Director along with 6 other Academy awards. First thought that crossed my mind is why wasn’t it put on the foreign movies? Then I got to know that it was directed by Danny Boyle (British) and co-directed by Loveleen Tandan (Indian). I didn’t know about a movie having a co-director, I don’t think this is similar to what we know in the egyptian cinema as مساعد مخرج, right?

The movie is based on a novel called “Q&A”, written by Vikas Swarup an Indian novelist and diplomat (currently posted in South Africa as Deputy High Commissioner, in arabic it’s called نائب رئيس البعثة). The novel was adapted into a radio play, a stage musical and the movie Slumdog Millionaire. The radio dramatisation by Ayeesha Menon, directed and produced by John Dryden on BBC Radio 4, won the Sony Radio Award for Drama 2008 and the IVCA Clarion Award 2008. (source: wikipedia). I expect that this novel will also hit the best seller lists in Egypt, hopefully soon…

Saying this, I must admit that I was not very excited about watching the movie till it won the Oscar, and I wasn’t that excited about searching for the novel till I finished the movie.

The story in a nutshell is very simple. A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers. Simple, right? ….. wrong! Through the interrogation you’ll discover a fascinating and fearful world of Mumbai that will absorb you. And what makes it more intense is how we as Egyptians can relate to it looking at all the slums surrounding and penetrating Cairo.

Talking about the movie itself. The actors were brilliant, especially the little kids, they were amazing. The director was very skillful in playing with the montage to keep your attention. And the music is simply perfect.

Here are some quotes: (source: imdb)

Middle Jamal: [seeing the Taj Mahal] Is this heaven?
Middle Salim: You’re not dead Jamal.
Middle Jamal: What is it? Some hotel?

Enjoy the movie 🙂

Apostrophe to the Ocean from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

Thanks to Ken, I got to know a lovely poem. It was mentioned in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County”, Robert put it in the front of his book “Remembering”. I found that it was written by Lord Byron, and published in “Apostrophe to the Ocean from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”, Canto 4 stanza 178:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not the man less, but nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.


Baraka (1992) is a Todd-AO (70 mm) non-narrative film directed by Ron Fricke, cinematographer for Koyaanisqatsi, the first of the Qatsi films by Godfrey Reggio. Often compared to Koyaanisqatsi, Baraka’s subject matter has some similarities—including footage of various landscapes, churches, ruins, religious ceremonies, and cities thrumming with life, filmed using time-lapse photography in order to capture the great pulse of humanity as it flocks and swarms in daily activity.” …..


I was very impressed with the numerous locations: Egypt,   Kenya , Tanzania, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Nepal, Thailand, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Poland, France, Vatican!
I wanted to copy the exact locations but it would take a long long long space.

I wish I could have the opportunity to do something similar. I feel that such work is life enriching in numerous dimensions. It opens out “lenses” on people, life, history and tradition.

For more info on this movie and other documentaries, I advise you to check out this website:

Mr. Magorium Wonder Emporium

This is a cute movie 🙂 I liked it.

It’s about a magical toy story and what happens when the owner (Dustin Hoffman) decides to leave and give it to the manager (Natalie Portman).
I loved all the toys. I liked the acting.

One of the things that was also cute is the way of writing the titles at the end. Something like “the people in the movie”, “those who made the people look good”, “those who created unreal things” … 7aga zai keda 🙂

When they wanted to put a song called “don’t be shy”, this is what they wrote: written by Yusuf Islam, performed by Cat Stevens. ehhhh, why didn’t they write the opposite? 🙂 at the end Yusuf Islam IS Cat Stevens, walla eih 🙂

I Am Legend

Oh My God!

This is THE scary movie. Perhaps for others it is not a scary movie at all, but for me I wasn’t able to keep my eyes open in some scenes, I had to put my hands on my ears so I don’t hear anything.

I always feared something like this.Everything is normal and all. Being alone in a city and all. But the idea of those “things” coming out at night, it’s just horrible.

And the wordt thing is that we know that this is not purely science fiction, this is something that can really happen. Rabena yostor…

Love Actually

I don’t know if I talked about this movie before, but I have to mention here that this is one of my favorite romantic movies. It is like a mosaic of tiny love stories mingled together forming a big beautiful picture. I liked how it traced the different types of love stories and formed relations between the characters so you’d feel that it is still one movie, not 8 short stories. It talked about love and politics, elementary love, love after death, moving on, unspoken love, love at work, lifetime love, love of friends, loving with a different language…

The movie in brief can be illustrated in this:

here are some quotes (lovely 🙂 :

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspision love actually is all around.

Love actually is all around. ….

Charlie Wilson’s War

Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts

US, Afghanistan


Charlie Wilson: You mean to tell me that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is to have the Afghans keep walking into machine gun fire ’til the Russians run out of bullets?
Gust Avrakotos: That’s Harold Holt’s strategy, not U.S. strategy.
Charlie Wilson: What is U.S. strategy?
Gust Avrakotos: Most strictly speaking, we don’t have one. But we’re working on it.
Charlie Wilson: Who’s ‘we’?
Gust Avrakotos: Me and three other guys.

Gust Avrakotos: A boy is given a horse on his 14th birthday. Everyone in the village says, ‘Oh how wonderful.’ But a Zen master who lives in the village says, ‘We shall see.’ The boy falls off the horse and breaks his foot. Everyone in the village says, ‘Oh how awful.’ The Zen master says, ‘We shall see.’ The village is thrown into war and all the young men have to go to war. But, because of the broken foot, the boy stays behind. Everyone says, ‘Oh, how wonderful.’ The Zen master says, ‘We shall see.’