Cannes Review: Tarik Saleh’s ‘Boy From Heaven’

it’s early days Cannes film festival, so the awards forecast may seem a bit premature, but even so, it’s hard to imagine a phenomenal performance by the Swedish-Lebanese actor rent rent in Tariq Saleh‘Interesting political thriller’ boy from heaven Will go completely unnoticed by this year’s jury. Topping the work he did in Saleh’s 2017 Sundance hit Neil Hilton Incident, Fiers controls the screen from the moment he arrives, playing a character whose disorganized look hides a ruthless efficiency, a laser-focused mind, and a perfectly pragmatic concept of morality.

it’s funny boy from heaven must be premiered after James Gray’s armageddon time, another film about a young man’s drastic awakening and another film about the fate that is shaped – or decided – by caste and class. But Saleh’s film throws religion into an already volatile mix, and while it doesn’t broach the delicate issues that come with any discussion of radical Islam, boy from heaven Shows a rare level of philosophical engagement with the subject, something that pays off beautifully in his clear and subtle final work.

The titular star of the film is Adam (Taufiq Barholm), the son of a poor Egyptian fisherman who lives in a small seaside village with his widowed father and two brothers. Without telling his overbearing father, Adam studies privately, resulting in an offer of scholarship to the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, a power base of Sunni Islam. To Adam’s surprise, his father encourages him, seeing the opportunity as a gift from God. But when Adam arrives, his fortunes soon run out: the Grand Imam falls mortally ill, creating a sensitive void in Egypt’s fragile power structure.

This is where Colonel Ibrahim, a Persian secret soldier, comes in. The authorities favor a moderate candidate who belongs to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Ibrahim is ordered to infiltrate and manipulate the selection process, but is exposed by his mole at the university, Zizo (Mehdi Dehbi). Zizo is tasked with finding a replacement, so he sets out to take over the gullible Adam. Adam is amused by Zizzo’s attention, and they spend an evening rocking Red Bull and dancing to hip-hop at a downtown bar, but when Zizzo is viciously murdered, Adam is soon killed. Hee discovers that two mysterious sides are very much at war – and that’s in the middle. By inviting Adam to secret meetings, Abraham puts Adam in increasingly dangerous situations with little regard for his safety, prompting the quick-witted Adam to think on his feet.

Saleh, who also wrote the screenplay, cited the novel by Umberto Eco. name of rose As an effect, which is not so surprising, given the religious setting. but boy from heaven There is also much to be said about the workings of the modern world and how politics and religion collide and connect in any given country. there is also a dash parallax view There, and Barholm makes a very appreciable thong. In fact, it doesn’t look like he’s doing much, unless the film’s gripping interpretation reveals the actor’s hidden firepower.

by saying, boy from heaven Had to be shot in Turkey, as Saleh is persona non grata in Egypt. But though it explains a little background in the history there, and certainly exposes a very complex subject, Saleh’s film operates on many levels compared to the socio-political, a sophisticated adult thriller. as well as exploring the deeper psychological dynamics of relationships. Adam and Abraham, who may not be as invincible as he thinks he is. It’s an odd fit for Cannes, but more festival slots will surely follow — and hopefully bigger projects for this smart, stylish director.