The Khaleejesque team was invited to the premiere of Tora Bora, a Kuwaiti cinematic piece of art that has made a transition in the Kuwaiti cinema industry where it participated in the 64th Cannes Film Festival. The film is directed by one of Kuwait's most promising and creative directors Mr. Walid Al-Awadi and stars Saad Al-Faraj, Asmahan Tawfeeq, and Khaled Amin in the lead roles. The film is a thrilling drama that tells the story of an eventful journey of a Kuwaiti father, mother, and brother who travel to Afghanistan in search of their son who moved there to join the Taliban.
The movie delves into the inner workings of the Taliban and focuses a lot on how they used fear and terror to rule Afghanistan. One of the main methods of "recruiting" members is to target youths and brainwash them into thinking that what they were doing was “jihad”, but in reality, they were abusing women, killing innocent people, and spreading destruction throughout the country. The film sends a powerful message about how these acts of terrorism are polluting the image of Islam.
Through it all, the plot still centered on the struggles the family goes through to look for their son in such a violent and dangerous environment. The film delivers many moral and emotional moments and tests the limits of how much a family is willing to go through to search for their son, including torture, kidnapping, violence and bad health conditions.
Tora Bora was filmed in Morocco, but the director added many creative and visual touches to make the viewer feel like it was filmed entirely in and around Afghanistan. The scenes were filmed in various locations between mountains, valleys, caves, and deserts, so our hats go off to the entire cast and crew for their great efforts to deliver excellent performances in such tough conditions. It is obvious that the director, cast and crew members' efforts have paid off very well in terms of acting, direction, script, technical effects and locations.
The musical, visual and technical effects are fantastic. Even the costume design is excellently crafted. It adds to the sense of reality that the whole story takes place in Afghanistan.
Needless to say, the acting skills by the whole cast is superb; they delivered heart-breaking, emotional and thrilling performances. The story, script and scenarios were very well made since we, as viewers, were emotionally touched during many of the scenes. (The movie contains a lot of violence and killing scenes so we do not recommend it for children)
The movie is shot entirely in Arabic (including the Kuwaiti dialect) but in some of the scenes, they speak in Afghani and French. Those scenes weren’t subtitled when we saw them, but the audience could certainly understand what is going on.
Our only criticism of the film is regarding the use of different Arabic dialects by the actors. Some speak Kuwaiti while others speak Classic Arabic. Actors who play Afghanis are supposed to speak Arabic in an Afghani accent, but it sounds more like an Indian speaking Arabic. It wasn't executed well enough. However, they did deliver a sense of reality and at times it felt like a documentary.
It was a prestigious premiere where most of the movie's cast attended the event including the director Walid Al-Awadi, Saad Al-Faraj, Khaled Amin, and Abdullah Al-Zeid. Other high profile Kuwaiti actors including Mohammed Al-Mansour and Mansour Al-Mansour came to lend their support to their peers.
Guests also included the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Media Sheikh Salman Al Sabah, Sheikh Duaij Al Khalifa Al Sabah, media personalities, journalists and bloggers.
The Khaleejesque team met with and spoke to some of the actors, such as Mohammed Al-Mansour who admired and praised the film, adding that he is preparing to shoot a film with Mr. Al-Awadi soon.
Overall, the movie is a must see. It is a thrilling and emotional film that will change the way you view war-torn Afghanistan. It will also change your views on the Kuwaiti Cinema industry, and will raise the bar higher for Kuwaiti movies to come. As the presenter of the event Nouf Al-Mudhayan said, in a play on words, at the beginning of the event, "بسنا فلوس يا سعد… بس مو بسنا سينما" (Referring to Saad Al Faraj's character in the popular 70's Kuwaiti TV show Darb il Zalag)
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars
– Khaleejesque Staff
Images: Tora Bora