When Monaliza Smiled: smoothes the hardship of reality with the tenderness of love


When Monaliza Smiled – Jordanian Movie

When Monaliza Smiled, we smiled.

Many familiar faces attended the private screening of the new Jordanian romantic comedy “When Monaliza Smiled” film yesterday at the Royal Film Commission yesterday. Faces that included many well known bloggers, online faces, and young talents involved in the local films scene.

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 experimentations and carve the stone for generations to come.

That what makes this film unique in many ways.

It is VERY much “Jordanian”. A love story that builds comical situations on highlighting stereotypes in this country with a romantic lens that gives a “feel good” to the whole experience. It smoothes the hardship of reality with the tenderness of love. A glimpse of light that brought hope back to my heart knowing that no matter how social restrictions grow, humanity will always find a place for love and happiness.

Ironically the cheerful part of the film came from the Egyptian worker main character. He added an Egyptian edge that reminded us of how much we love Misr. A bridge that was smartly (not sure if intentionally) built between the infant Jordanian film industry and that well established historical Egyptian film legacy.

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88 minutes… serial killers!


I don’t usually go for thriller dark or horror movies. I used to do so long time ago at my teenage when I wanted to prove to myself that I am big enough to handle those scary disgusting scenes, and thus horror was my favourite genre back then. With time, I started to figure out that such scenes do reside in my memory and that they would just surface as nightmares whenever I am sick or very tired, and slowly my interest shifted towards romantic and comedy genres.

On friday, I head to the cinema with some of my friends. They wanted to watch 88 minutes. I had no idea about the film, they said it is a thriller but I didn’t know what to expect. The horrofic crime scene at the beginning of the movie made me wonder if I have made the right decision of watching it or not. It didn’t take much thoughts of me as the fast pace and the thrill aspect of the scenes kept me hooked and holding my breath till the end. The script has been written in a brilliant way that keeps you at your toes keeping you skeptical about everything and wondering what would happen next. It has also some deep psychological conversations regarding serial killers that kept me interested.

After the film, I was left with different emotions. In one hand, I was thinking of how secure I feel about my life, and how there is always a chance for a horrific incident that can ruin it all. One the other hand, I was thinking of the pshychological nature of serial killers and how many people would reach this stage and why?!

A few year ago, a trend arose in local weekly newspapers to cover up crime incidents in the kingdom. Shihan lead the way back then. It gained much popularity because of its crime coverage although it was more closer to a tabloid rather than to a credited source of information. There was no professionalism in reporting news, and stories were twisted and created in a way to gain more readers.

Abo Shakoosh (The hammer-er) was the first and only serial killer mentioned in the history of Jordan media. Shihan took charge of covering the crimes and rumors around him. I think that it was pharmacies that he mainly targeted, and then other stores. He used to use a hammer to smash his victims head. People were so freaked out back then. I, myself, used to fear about my father’s safety in his shop. That was new to us, and a sense of insecurity took over the entire country.

A few months later, the police claimed to caught the guy. A lot of people didn’t believe it for sometime and kept being weary. A few years later, Shihan and such weekly newspaper lost their popularity. Crimes were no longer exaggerated and people re-gained their sense of security.

I think that Abo Shakoosh was sentenced to a death penalty.

Serial killers pushed me to face a moral delimma in my views of life. While I am so much aware of the horrofic nature of their acts, I don’t like to demonize people. One has to be too damaged to get that far of killing several people and get pleasure out of it. I went over Serial Killers page on wickipedia. Serial killers seem to lack the feeling of empathy and guilt. Why is that? Is it something that they acquire because of some hardships they faced in their lives? or is it part of their natural genetic inheritance? How much of a free will is there for people committing such horrible acts?

Is death penalty a fair sentence over serial killers? or is it a kind of lack of empathy from us towards some people who don’t know how to stop killing other people?!! I would prefer a life imprisonment where they would be prevented from killing others.