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OK, Enough, Goodbye -- Film Review

The Bottom Line

A pleasant if slow low-key indie about a co-dependent Lebanese man abandoned by mom.

Venue

Abu Dhabi Film Festival (New Horizons competition)

Directors/screenwriters

Ranieh Attieh, Daniel Garcia

Cast

Daniel Arzrouni, Nadime Attieh, Walid Al-Ayoubi

ABU DHABI — Produced with the help of Abu Dhabi’s Sanad fund and the participation of the directors’ family and friends, OK, Enough, Goodbye is a mini-budgeted but smart, low-key comedy about an overgrown mama’s boy of 40 suddenly forced to construct a life on his own.

After their prize-winning short Tripoli, Quiet, this first feature by Lebanese Rania Attieh and U.S.-born Daniel Garcia again depicts life in the turtle lane in Tripoli, the provincial capital of north Lebanon. The likable film uses a leisurely pace to mimic the sleepy city’s inertia and the hero’s comfy, co-dependent lifestyle. This real time approach is likely to slow down offshore interest, outside of festivals and Arab language markets.

Opening scenes have a documentary feel as they introduce an unnamed man (Daniel Arzrouni), fussing over his fiesty elderly mother (Nadime Attieh), dyeing her hair and bickering over whether to go on vacation. The tone finally settles on humorous description, as the burly, straight-faced son goes about the minutiae of daily life with mom.

Then one day, while he’s at work in his small pastry shop, she vanishes. He’s dismayed to learn she has moved to Beirut, leaving him to fend for himself. Now forced to adapt to bachelor life, he proves unable to establish a relationship with anyone, not even with a willing prostitute (Nawal Mekdad) or the nosey little boy next door. Even his attempt to hire an ill-treated Ethiopian maid (Sablawork Tesfay) is a comic non-starter.

There is a realistic poetry to the film, centered on close observation of Arzrouni’s ticks and quirks. A grump as well as a square, he’s comic to watch but hard to warm up to. If the directors have an axe to grind, it’s in their downbeat portrait of the city, whose decay and stagnation appear contagious to its inhabitants. The bland high-rises and burning tires are a far cry from the touristic descriptions heard on the soundtrack.

A non-pro cast is up to the needs of the script and quietly convincing.

Production company: Ranieh Attieh, Daniel Garcia
Cast: Daniel Arzrouni, Nadime Attieh, Walid Al-Ayoubi, Nawal Mekdad, Sablawork Tesfay, Theodor Hakim, Nazem Attieh
Directors/screenwriters: Ranieh Attieh, Daniel Garcia
Producers: Ranieh Attieh, Daniel Garcia
Director of photography: Daniel Garcia
Music: Daniel Garcia, Raed El-Khazen
Editors: Ranieh Attieh, Daniel Garcia
Sales Agent: En Passant Film
Unrated, 92 minutes