Al Juma Al Akheira – Berlinale Forum 2012

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Al Juma Al Akheira | The Last Friday
Director: Yahya Alabdallah
Cast: Ali Suliman, Yasmine Al Masri, Taghreed Al Rusuq, Fadi Arida, Nadria Omran, Lara Salawa, Abdul Kareem Abu Zayad, Shadi Salah
Jordan, United Arab Emirates, 2011 (European Premiere)

Delphi Filmpalast, 12 February 2012

A middle-aged divorced father discovers that he needs to undergo an emergency operation for a twisted testicle, which he cannot afford. Having gambled away everything he earned as a successful care salesman in Amman, Yousef (Ali Suliman) lives alone in poverty, working as a taxi driver, stealing electricity from a neighbor to brew coffee and enduring his sleazy boss’s degradations and double-dealings with ironic stoicism.

Much is in motion on the eve of Yousef’s surgery. A Last Supper with Islamic background, where Friday has multiple meanings as holy day, protest day, strike day.

First, his teen-age son (Fadi Arida) comes to stay with him, hiding out from Yousef’s ex-wife (Yasmine Al Masri), now married to a powerful, invisible husband. Yousef discovers that his son is nearly illiterate, a habitual truant from his expensive private school.

On television and radio, we hear strange ideas about romance and love, where women have the upper hand, while Yousef has coffee on the veranda, playing solitaire backgammon, outside his pitifully empty bedroom.

The first Jordanian film screened at Berlinale, Al Juma Al Akheira first took form in Paris, where director-screenwriter Yahya Alabdallah studied at the International Film and Television School EICAR.

Working on a 100,000 euro budget, Alabdallah has turned in a well-written, well-acted, beautifully photographed film that casts a perceptive gaze on a society in crisis, with a focus on the drama and comedy of everyday life that will be recognizable to audiences worldwide.

Berlinale Section: Forum