Contemporary World Cinema | 2018 | 97 minutes
Stranger Says: It’s hard not to root for the elderly gentlemen of Yasir Al-Yasiri’s anti-ageist dramedy. In a culture that venerates family ties, the Four Musketeers are cut off from everyone except each other and the staffers, like lovelorn nurse Khaled, at their Dubai retirement home. When one man inherits a fortune, they rent a recording studio, buy sparkly new threads, and visit a disco, leading relatives and managerial types to treat them like unruly children, but the men get the last laugh. It’s Grumpy Old Men–style silly at times, but worth watching just for Saad Al Faraj’s sweetly sympathetic performance.
SIFF Says:Four old men resigned to their retirement home routines catch one last hoorah when one of them receives an unexpected inheritance in this humanizing buddy comedy. Each a character in their own right, the quartet make an unlikely crew of rule-breakers with the help of their beleaguered nurse Khalid: Abu Hassan is a wannabe astrologer and ringleader; Abu Hamad is wheel chair bound but still dreams of recording a vocal album; General Talaat is a retired general who speaks with military precision but hides a tender side; “The Pharmacist,” as he’s known throughout the film, deals prescription meds to his fellow retirees. After the General suddenly inherits 50 million dirhams, Abu Hassan believes they should spend the money and live life fuller with what time they have left. Only problem is the elderly aren’t allowed to leave the premises; not that it would deter them. From a music studio to a nightclub with kids a quarter of their age, they stumble and laugh their way through a night of absurdity. Yasir Al Yasiri’s short story-based film is quick to remind us it’s never too late to live out your dreams and pursue a little self-reinvention.
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