The city comes alive in Ahmed Abdalla’s film, MICROPHONE which I saw at London film festival.
The city of Alexandria is the setting and a major “character” in the film which traces the experience of a returned emigre among the city’s real life underground art and music scenes. The story is simple yet eloquent and the film wisely lets the city and the real-life characters who lay themselves, or version of themselves, to drive the narrative.
As befits a film set in the underground music scene, the music is amazing. My personal favourite is a band called Massar Egbari – you can hear them here http://www.myspace.com/massaregbari But I also liked the young rap band Y Crew (http://www.myspace.com/ycrewfamily) with their real life political old skool rap. Admittedly their lyrics made sense to me only because the film was subtitled! but I’d still recommend a listen.
The other thing that was fantastic, from my point ot view, was the street art; see more about that here http://alexstreetart.wordpress.com Banksy would be proud!
Microphone reminded me a bit of “Crossing the Bridge,” Fathi Akin’s excellent doc about the Istanbul music scene, but to be honest, Microphone is more entertaining. The merging of doc and fiction is daring and could have gone so wrong, but it doesn’t, it makes us really care about what we’re seeing.
One other thing I loved about it is the brilliant cinematography, all done on a 7d! Ok I am convinced: 7D is the way to go. It’s exactly the kind of cinematography I’ve yearned after – the qualities of both still and 35mm motion-picture together! but I’ve never quite managed to get it with either the big chunky cameras I’ve used for films, nor the little digital shits that I have so many of. This film could change my life 🙂
Anyway, I’m hoping Microphone gets an international release as I want to see it AGAIN!