Kung Fu Zohra (2022)

Kung Fu Zohra
Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writer: Mabrouk El Mechri
Cast: Sabrina Ouazani, Ramzy Bedia, Eye Haidara, Tien Shue, Lina Hachani
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 5.5.2022

Content Note: domestic violence

When Zohra (Sabrina Ouazani) meets Omar (Ramzy Bedia), they connect over a shared love for kung fu movies. It doesn’t take long until they are married and Zohra finds herself in a new city with a new job and a new friend in Binta (Eye Haidara). But after a rather smooth start, things get bumpy. Omar starts hitting Zohra and she finds herself unable to leave him. Instead she finds strength in training her fighting skills.

Kung Fu Zohra is probably the funniest film about domestic violence in existence, combining a martial arts comedy with astute commentary on DV – a combination that shouldn’t work but does somehow.

The film poster showing Zohra (Sabrina Ouazani) in a fighting pose wearing a red kimono-like shirt with an arab letter on the back.
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The Cold Light of Day (2012)

The Cold Light of Day
Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writer: Scott Wiper, John Petro
Cast: Henry Cavill, Verónica Echegui, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Joseph Mawle, Colm Meaney

Will (Henry Cavill) arrives in Spain to meet up with his family for a sailing trip, despite his company fighting for survival back home in the US. Understandably, Will is pretty tense, especially because he doesn’t get along that well with his dad Martin (Bruce Willis). But then Will’s family is kidnapped while he’s on a short trip to the shore, Martin turns out to be a CIA agent and Will suddenly finds himself hunted by agents, desperately trying to figure out how he can save them all and himself.

Oh boy. This movie is so incredibly dumb that I didn’t manage for even one second to suspend my disbelief. Seriously, they ruined it with the first scene. Horrible dialogue, wooden acting and bad pacing were just the icing on this cake of stupid.

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JCVD (2008)

JCVD is a fictious biographical movie about Jean-Claude Van Damme, starring the man himself, directed by Mabrouk El Mechri.

Jean-Claude Van Damme (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a washed-up action star. He only gets parts in movies he doesn’t actually want to make, and often loses them to Steven Seagal. His personal life is in ruins, too: He’s fighting for the custody of his child, he has no money and things seem to be closing in on him. When he decides to go back to Brussels to take a break and go for a fresh start, he gets caught up in a robbery of the post office – and the police think he’s the one doing it.

JCVD is an astonishing movie. Not only are you surprised that Jean-Claude Van Damme can act, it’s also nice to see that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. But none of this would have been possible without Mabrouk El Mechri, who wrote a phenomenal script and shot the movie in a way that treats Van Damme with sensitivity and respect, but makes a little fun of him, too.


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