Original review featured on the Doha Film Institute website.

Film: The Last Friday
Director: Yahya Alabdallah
Stars: Ali Suliman, Nadera Omran, Yasmine Al Masri
Duration: 88 mins

This winner of the Special Jury Prize, Best Actor for Ali Suliman and Best Composer for Trio Jubran in the Muhr Arab feature competition at the Dubai International Film Festival 2011, is about life as it is in less than a week.

Youssef (Ali Suliman) a forty year old divorced father was once a successful car salesman and now a taxi driver who’s living alone with no wife, away from his 14 year old son and totally broke.

He is at the mercy of a young boss who shows little to no compassion to the conditions of his staff. Youssef needs to undergo an operation within the next four days and has to finance it before it gets more complicated. This leads him to reconnect with old chapters of his life and discovering along the way important matters he’s been neglecting. One of his key concerns is his son Imad, torn between the parents and doing very poorly at school. Youssef has to maintain the aura of being the father figure, which he is not always able to afford. While the mother Dalal (Yasmin Al Masri) has moved on with a new marriage after Youssef has lost his fortune in a poker game, Imad is growing up demanding more attention.

During these four days, Youssef is trying hard to finalize crucial foundations regarding the future of his son and attempting to make-up for old mistakes. Through him, we are introduced to the financial crisis Jordan is facing and how it will affect his medical operation. We get a close glimpse at a society whose rich citizens want to buy a fancy car, while the sales agent can barely buy a wheel for a bike belonging to his son.

The film develops with very little dialogue with the sole purpose of transferring important information. Dialogue serves as complimentary to an expressive and solid cinema language. Let the camera speaks for its self is the motto of this film.

And needless to say the wonderful performance of Ali Suleiman (“Paradise Now”) offers up a complex portrayal of the father, the hard worker but also a man who is in need of a female companion. The rest of the characters, with their little appearance are memorable like Nadera Omran and of course Yasmin El Masri.

The film does remind me of “Beautiful” starring Javier Bardem. Both characters are rushing for closure before their illnesses take over unfinished businesses, driven by their father instincts of providing a proper future for their children.

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