Very Big Shot by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya
On Tuesday, 1st March, I went to the premiere screening of Very Big Shot / فيلم كتير كبير (Film Kteer Kbeer), a Lebanese film by Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya.
I really liked this film and this is just a quick post with initial thoughts about it. I'm aiming to write more after I've had a chance to really digest it.
There was a good buzz about the film since September - it premiered at TIFF last September, was screened at the London Film Festival in October and it won an award at the 15th Marrakech International Film Festival in December, the jury president was Francis Ford Coppola.
I went in not knowing much about the film apart from it being about a drug dealer who is trying to go legit.
I left feeling exhilarated. It's a film that took it's time to make its point and took its viewers to an unexpected conclusion. A conclusion that can be interpreted in many ways. A conclusion that has left me thinking about the film for days after watching it.
For a first feature, Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya has done a tremendous job in making a film that jumps to different genres, from crime thriller to action to dark comedy and satire. Added to that is the great dialogue, making it a film that entertains you and makes you think.
The Arabic title, فيلم كتير كبير (Film Kteer Kbeer) literally means "a very big film", an Arabic saying meaning a very big hoax. There is a film within this film that's being made for ulterior motives, so Very Big Shot refers to that, but it could also refer to the lead character in the film, Ziad Haddad (Alain Saadeh, who also wrote the script).
I watched the film in a theatre with a mostly Arabic speaking audience who all laughed at the jokes together. I'm curious to know what will the experience be like in a room with non-Arabic speakers.
There might be certain nuances that could get lost in translation, but the overall themes in the film are universal - sibling rivalry, power and grandiosity, corruption, religious zealotry and even an illicit love affair. The film within a film has some of the funniest scenes in it.
This is an indie Arab film that needs to be watched and talked about. Please go to the cinema and watch it. It is currently screening in VOX Cinemas in the UAE and across the Gulf region. Check your local cinema losting for details.