‘Yallah! Underground': Dubai Review

Alternative Arab song is decorated as a force for radical change in a Middle East.

German-born documentarist Farid Eslam examines a ongoing Middle East revolutions and their issue by a eyes of immature musicians – rockers, rappers, rebels and alternatives – in Yallah! Underground. Their refreshingly cold p.o.v. bridges a opening with Western sensibilities and offers immature audiences, in particular, a behind-the-scenes demeanour during a sea changes holding place in amicable attitudes. Shot over a four-year period, a film was saved in Germany, a Czech Republic, Egypt, a UK, Canada and a U.S. While Eslam’s bits-and-pieces proceed to filming a musicians is acceptable, and maybe unavoidable given their geographic separation, what’s blank is a large final clincher that would strengthen an overly mellow ending. It has anyway valid a renouned festival object this year, and a outspokenness should send a drumbeat to a immature Arab audiences it essentially targets.

Eslam’s acclaimed initial film Istanbul United, co-directed with Olli Waldhauer, showed how fans of opposition soccer teams came together to criticism opposite a Turkish government, overcoming their sour differences in a name of a common cause. Here instead song cuts opposite borders, ordering Arab musicians from Egypt to Jordan, Lebanon, a West Bank and even Israel.

A tiny disappointingly, a concentration is not on live performances and there are usually tiny snatches of spontaneous and unison material. What abounds are off-the-cuff interviews, and a chairman who emerges many prominently is song writer Zeid Hamdan, called a “grandfather of Lebanese choice music.” He talks about a themes of war, separation, damaged dreams and doubt in a schizophrenic Arab enlightenment that veers between regressive repression, and ads pitching celebration and sex.

The women in Mideast stone indicate to their personal onslaught opposite a monotonous sexiness approaching of them, though have no goal of relinquishing their trenchant and mini-skirts. Meanwhile, an Egyptian DJ finds himself held between a normal call to request on a one hand, and a new judgment of individuality and a right to demonstrate oneself innate of a Internet. In Amman, a hip bound artist who lives with his understanding aged relatives has been told that swat goes opposite religion. This doesn’t stop him from being intensely renouned on a TV show. Similarly, Egypt once criminialized stone as Satanic, though rockers went on to found an choice song festival in 2006.

There are a lot of outspoken views to gnaw on, though a film suffers from dizzying time shifts as it jumps from element filmed between 2010 and 2013, before and after a Arab Spring remade Egypt and Tunisia. A prolonged method of anti-Mubarak demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square seems antiquated and unnecessary.

True to a genre, a character favors hand-held camerawork, phlegmatic close-ups and zooms, and rapid-fire editing. Yet there are also some fantastic images that cut to a heart of a region, apparently accompanied by good song sounds from some of a many successful bands around.


Production companies: Mind Riot Media, Mortal Coil Media, Birthmark Films, FAMU

Cast: Zeid Hamdan, Shadi Zaqtan, Maii Waleed Yassin, Karim Adel Eissa, Ousso Lotfy, Marc Codsi, Mayaline Hage Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Walaa Sbeit, Ibrahim Farouk  

Director, screenwriter: Farid Eslam

Producers: Farid Eslam, Dina Harb, Dana S. Wilson

Director of photography: Prokop Soucek

Editor: Jakub Vomacka

Venue: Dubai Film Festival (Arabian Nights) 

85 minutes

Arab and English dialogue

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