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Jordan: “When Monaliza Smiled” a step towards World Cinema

The makers of the movie “When Monaliza Smiled” presented their cinema experience to the public in a special screening in the Jordanian capital, Amman, recently. The comedy relates a love story between Monaliza, a young Jordanian woman, and Hamdi, the Egyptian courier. It is presented in parallel with other side stories, which reveal the multitude of Amman's layers that have still not been shown in Jordanian movies.

On 7iber website, Jordanian blogger Nasseem Tarawnah express his admiration for the movie:

Without giving too much away, the film tells the tale of a young Jordanian woman named Monaliza who falls in love with an Egyptian office boy, Hamdi. But to cast this as just another love story would be a mistake, for beyond the layers is a woman struggling to free herself from societal pressures, gain independence, escape an impoverished status quo, and find the kind of happiness that could finally draw a smile from her ordinarily resolute face.

لما ضحكت الموناليزا

When Monaliza Smiled – a screenshot from the movie

Fadi Zaghmout also comments on the movie in his blog “The Arab Observer”:

The film that is set to hit local theaters soon is another major milestone that highlights the emergence of a dream to create a film industry in Jordan. The film industry which is still at its infancy, has no pre-set formulas, no expectations and no previous success stories to copy. All what it has is some very well trained and talented young Jordanians who are courageous enough to take on the challenge of doing their own experimentation and carve the stone for generations to come.ا

Naser for his part tackles the movie from another  angle. His blog post is entitled “When Monaliza Smiled and Nayfe Cried.” He writes:

سمحوا لي أن أأجل الحديث عن موناليزا وضحكتها قليلاً وأبدأ بنايفة. نايفة، هي الشخصية المزعجة، الدفشة، اللئيمة، الجبارة في فيلم “لمّا ضحكت موناليزا” [...] أشكر صانعي الفيلم، وتحديداً فادي، لكتابة أدوار صادقة، وبالأخص، لإعطاء ممثلتين كبيرتين مثل نادرة عمران وهيفاء الآغا أدواراً معقدة يستطعن من خلالها إظهار معدنهنّ المبدع، بعيداً عن ما تعوّدنا أن نراه من إنتاجنا الأردني. بالنسبة لي، ما أظهرتاه على الشاشة هو تكريم لموهبتيهما، تفوق بكثير التكريمات الرسمية الشكلية.
Allow me to postpone the discussion a little bit on Monaliza and her smile and start with Nayfe. The annoying character, the rude, the villain, the presumptuous in the movie “When Monaliza Smiled” [...] I thank the movie makers especially Fady for having written honest characters and especially for having given two great actresses like Nadra Omran and Hayda el Agha complex roles where they can show through them their creative personality which differs from what we got used to seeing in our Jordanian productions. For me, what they did show on screen was a tribute to their talent which is way more important than any official formal honors.

On Twitter, producer Nadia Eleiwat who produced the movie using her own resources, said:

@‬NadiaEliewat:عندما ابتسم الحب بوجه موناليزا ضحكت موناليزا. هل ستقوم بمشاهدته؟#JO.
When love smiled to Monaliza, Monaliza smiled, will you watch it ?

Ola Eliwat praises the movie's music:

@ola_eliwat: And by the way, amazing music!

Hazem Zuraikat is also in awe:

@hazem: فيلم “لمّا ضحكت موناليزا” جهد عظيم وإنجاز أردني يستحق كل الدعم. تحية لفريق العمل وكل من ساهم في إنجاحه.
“When Monaliza Smiled” is a great effort and a Jordanian accomplishment which deserves all support. I salute the work team and everyone who contributed to it.

Reem al Masri also shares this opinion:

‪@‬reemalmasri: Soooooo PROUD of “When Monaliza Smiled” for taking film production in #JO to another level. Cant wait to c it in cinemas

To know more about the movie you can follow its news on Facebook or Twitter and here is the trailer for a taste of what the movie offers:

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