Take the pledge to vote

For a better tommorow#AajSawaroApnaKal
  • I agree to receive emails from News18

  • I promise to vote in this year's elections no matter what the odds are.
  • Please check above checkbox.


Thank you for
taking the pledge

Vote responsibly as each vote counts
and makes a diffrence


Issued in public interest by HDFC Life. HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (Formerly HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Limited) (“HDFC Life”). CIN: L65110MH2000PLC128245, IRDAI Reg. No. 101 . The name/letters "HDFC" in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited ("HDFC Limited") and is used by HDFC Life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN EU/04/19/13618
LIVE TV DownloadNews18 App
News18 English
News18 » Movies
1-min read

At Cairo Film Festival, Poisonous Roses is an Unflinching Look at Hellish Existence

The plot, though, is rather threadbare, and the director is often forced to repeat the scenes.

Gautaman Bhaskaran | News18.com

Updated:November 27, 2018, 11:17 AM IST
At Cairo Film Festival, Poisonous Roses is an Unflinching Look at Hellish Existence
A still from Poisonous Roses.

Ahmed Fawzi Saleh's debut feature, Poisonous Roses, which played as part of the ongoing Cairo International Film Festival, is a shocking look at the unsavoury conditions in a city's leather tannery district. It certainly reminded me of the deplorable state of India's own tanneries.

The young Egyptian director, whose work attracted a full house with tickets sold out two days before the show, probably decided to make his movie shocking all the way. His plot of a near incestuous relationship between a brother and sister was seen as being more dramatic than revelatory. In fact, we never seem to understand the real reason for the good looking sister, Taheya (Koky), to be so possessively affectionate towards her sibling, Saqr (Ibrahim El-Nagary). A guess can be that their impoverished lives push her to keep Saqr around her, his income from his tannery job supplementing her own meagre earnings from cleaning public toilets.

However, the film's source material, Ahmed Zaghloul Al-sheety’s influential 1990 novel “Poisonous Roses for Saqr”, hints that Taheya can be a contemporary ISIS-like woman with her suffocating over-protective tendencies.

Poisonous Roses is visually disturbing. The images of waste pouring out of pipes into public spaces that people have to traverse through day in and day out, and the carts laden with animal hides are sights that are awfully disgusting, and like the recent Cannes Competition entry, Yomeddine, which got an actual leper to act, Saleh's movie is also an attempt to thrust the truth on to us. So what if the truth is ugly. It must be shown and told.

The plot, though, is rather threadbare, and the director is often forced to repeat the scenes. For instance, we see Taheya carrying lunch to her brother at his work place several times. She uses the same public bus and the same dirty, stench-ridden alleyways overflowing with waste. There is no variation, and we see the same sullen Saqr eating the food. He is clearly unhappy and wants to escape to Italy as an illegal immigrant, but his effort is checkmated by Taheya, who gets police help to bring him back.

Finally, one must laud the actors for getting into a film that could not have been easy to shoot – the actual locations that the director chose must have been nauseating.

(Author and movie critic Gautaman Bhaskaran is covering the 40th edition of the Cairo International Film Festival)

Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox - subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what's happening in the world around you – in real time.

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated markets data, trading recommendations, equity analysis, investment ideas, insights from market gurus and much more. Get Moneycontrol PRO for 1 year at price of 3 months. Use code FREEDOM.

Read full article
Next Story
Next Story

Also Watch


Live TV

Countdown To Elections Results
To Assembly Elections 2018 Results