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Review: Silence…We’re Rolling

The film is a rollicking paean to the Hollywood and Bollywood musicals of yesteryear.

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Silence…We’re Rolling
Photo: Canal+

Youssef Chahine’s Silence…We’re Rolling is a rollicking paean to the Hollywood and Bollywood musicals of yesteryear. Recently separated from her husband, singer/actress Malak (Tunisian singer Latifah) falls prey to slimy lothario Lamei (Ahmed Wafik), a psychoanalyst with aspirations of superstardom. Lamei is a threat to family and the purity of song, moving his attentions from mother to daughter once he’s tricked into thinking Malak’s mother (Magda El Khatib, resembling a Dynasty-era Barbara Stanwyck) left her fortune to the young Paula (Rubi). A screenwriter angered by Malak’s naïveté seeks to expose Lamei for the snake he is, but he’s blinded by his own genius, confusing the makeshift stairs from a film set for an actual exit. Silence…We’re Rolling is an eye-popping celebration of art imitating life (and vice versa)—a movie valentine inundated with famous movie references (the uniformly excellent cast channels Sturges with every comic breath). At this year’s New York Film Festival, Silence…We’re Rolling was preceded by the animated short Tuesday, directed by Geoff Dunbar and voiced by Dustin Hoffman. On Tuesday nights, frogs float through the air aboard their lily pads, breaking into an old woman’s house in order to catch David Letterman and reruns of I Love Lucy. When four o’clock comes around, the frogs return to their lakeside abode, leaving their pads to litter the city streets. Tuesday is a delightful show of quirky happenings which might have made a great pre-show to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. The film is produced by Paul McCartney and dedicated to his deceased wife Linda.

Cast: Latifah, Ahmed Wafik, Ahmed Bedeir, Magda El Khatib, Zaki Abdel Wahab, Ahmed Mehrez, Mustapha Chaaban, Rubi Director: Youssef Chahine Screenwriter: Youssef Chahine Running Time: 108 min Rating: NR Year: 2001 Buy: Video

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