Article by Elena Bernardi

Translation by Fabio Castagno

From the beginning,  the director Ali Kalthami explains to the audience the double connotation of the Arabic word “Mandoob”, which means “courier” but also “a person pitied for his misery and tragic end”. Mandoob – Night Courier – part of the feature film competition of the 41st edition of Torino Film Festiva – turns the same double meaning of the word into an ambiguous thriller connotated by a strong sense of humor, which shows the power of desperation in the protagonist’s misadventures.

At the center of a constantly changing city that holds its inhabitants in its grip, we helplessly witness the metamorphosis of an ordinary man and the loss of his ideals. A multifaceted metropolis which mirrors the complexity of its essence, thanks to the vibrantly coloured photography, as well as Fahad’s (Mohammed Aldokhei) inner journey: forced to transform himself from a courier to a criminal, from a loving son to a murderer, when needed.

The Riyadh showed by Ali Kalthami reminds us of Scorsese’s nocturnal and labyrinthine New York, even though this time there’s not a taxi driver in desperate need of another war to fight, but a courier, a Mandoob, who tries to gain enough money to take care of his sick father and help his sister. Desperate and lost in his loneliness, he decides to improvise himself as an outlaw, selling alcohol to the highest bidder in order to keep himself from sinking into debts and take back the reins of his life. In the transition from the Riyadh of offices and mosques to that of nightlife and lawlessness, the protagonist’s transformation becomes a metaphor of man’s alienation in contemporary society and the drama of those who lose themselves, unable to recognize the world around them. A modern-day Buster Keaton, whose misfortunes, however, are becoming increasingly difficult and painful to laugh at.

There is no shortage of characters in cinematic history who, in the name of desperation, are willing to do anything. Kalthami’s voice brings back and underlines the humanity and complexity of an individual who, before being a victim of his surroundings, is a victim of himself. Mistakes and contradictions make Fahad’s psychological torment the symbol of a changing world in which the clean reflection of a fancy restaurant window alternates with the dusty reflection of the rearview mirror from which Fahad/Travis Bickle scans the city.

Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *