Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bab El Hara 2

The final episode of this series in its second part has ended last Saturday. Bab El Hara is really a great series ("Bab" means gate or door in English, and El Hara means Neighborhood, or district)! The title of this series episodes refer to the main gate of a neighborhood in old Damascus, Syria, and the events surrounding the life of the inhabitants of that neighborhood with each other and towards others from nearby neighborhoods. Like millions of Arabs around the world, I was paralyzed on my seat watching this show every night from 9PM onwards - I used to watch it for a second time on another channel at 10PM - it sounds crazy, in the weekend I watched it during the day for a third time sometimes! I can’t recall when was the last time I followed every single episode of an Arabic show. There are many reasons I loved that show; one for sure is simplicity; no gigantic special effects (it is not Star Wars), neither the useless overestimated budget applied on production like many Egyptian drama series in recent years. I also loved mostly the little details on every scene (big salute to the director, Bassam Il Mila), such as the scene when women from the neighborhood as a group visited Suaad; The focus of the scene was on the group of old women with their daughters entering the house and the way they greeted each other after long time no see. It was beautiful to watch small details like young Khairiyah sneaking through the other women and walked exactly behind her mother with a shy smile on her face. There were many other small details I considered adorable while watching Bab El Hara, a gesture, a wave and even a movement by a man or a woman, all were done perfectly. The atmosphere reflecting Damascus in the early 20’s century was so real and believable, from the grocery, rituals of Ramadan, the food, the customs, the alleys in the neighborhood, even love. The relationship between the different characters, old and new captivated the hearts and minds of all.

I don’t know if it was the director who is so smart, or the actors (main and secondary roles) are so perfect and professional, or both? Each character played by each actor was done in thrilling and astonishingly excellent way. It is the first time that I fail to find a point of criticism towards an Arab show ever.

I read that in Arab countries it was like martial laws imposed during the time the show time. The effect on Arabs in Europe was no difference, the majority was glued in front of the television screens waiting to see what will happen to Abu Isam during the period he locked himself up in his shop, or what is the next move by the wicked Firial (Um Taufiek), or how and when the killer of the neighborhood’s leader, Al Za’eem, will be caught and justice prevail… The episode was packed with thrilling events surrounding numerous characters. The influence the show made has reached real life in some Arab countries: I read that young teens on the streets of Lebanon adapted the same terminology and nicknames used in the show, such as calling the brave by the name of “Ageed”, which the nickname of one of the main characters, Abu Shihab, or children shouting in the streets “beleele …” imitating the villain, Abu Ghalib in the series, or some people who exchanged SMS messages wishes each that God protect him from the magic of Um Abdallah (played by the great actress Muna Wassif).




I loved the end, and loved the way the two main actors in the show, Abbas Il Noory (Abu Isam) and Samer Al Masry (Abu Shihab – Ageed) appeared at the end titles wearing suits and without the familiar make up we used to see them on that show – they looked younger, actually more handsome, and with cute sense of humor indicated that part 3 of Bab El Hara might have a lucky woman will be the wife of Abu Shihab.

1 comment:

Gale said...

Ahhh! I wish it was in english now after i read what you wrote and i watched the clip...alas