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Karim Fanous’s Clean Hands, Dirty Soap //

03.17.10
byMarwa Helal

Based on a story by longtime friend Adam Mourad, Karim Fanous’s Clean Hands, Dirty Soap is about a modest bathroom attendant named Hadi, who is brilliantly played by Sherif Farahat. Hadi stands in his corner, quietly washing away his future. Ruing a dead-end life alone, he nevertheless cuts a docile figure — working hard and caring for a deaf mother who can’t hear him play himself to sleep every morning on an old oud.

The film becomes vivid and stunning in its simplicity — Fanous makes each shot count (see gallery) in this 25 minute reel. And Mourad’s story about Hadi is refreshing — his inner monologues verge on poetry, giving dimension to the often overlooked, avoided bathroom attendant who becomes self-actualized after an unlikely visit one night to a seedy cabaret finds him cast under the spell of a superstitious belly dancer Nour, played by Farah Youssef. The center of many a lewd reproach, she too longs for more than her bleak future can promise. But you’ll have to watch for yourself to see what happens when Hadi and Nour meet.

Clean Hands, Dirty Soap has claimed the Jury Prize in the Egyptian National Film Festival and Best Short Film Award in the San Francisco Arab Film Festival, among others. The film will be available online soon and fans can look forward to Fanous and Mourad teaming up again for an upcoming feature.



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