Tuesday, January 11, 2011

عيلة سبع نجوم - الحلقة 1 - رز بحليب (Aiilet Sebeuah Njoom- Riz Bihaleeb)

I'm sure that this is something you, the audience, have never been introduced too before or after me.  This program is a comedy series from Syria, the land of my origins.  This type of filming is something I'd like to do, or wish that American TV would learn from.  They make very good use of the camera, actors, story, props, and music.  I know some arabic, lingually, and recently learned the alphabet.  I'm a slow reader, but it's my way of knowing what is being read.  The way its written sounds different than when said in dialect between people.  Not like you'll understand just by me explaining. 

Unfortunately, Syria being a third world country, has no real disbtributing company.  If you want to watch something, it may be on tv, or it is available by bootleg.  This show is very old, possibly 1990 at the least.  Because of no distributors, there is no extra material to learn.  There are magazines which do have interviews with the cast and crew, but I'm not able to track them down.  Merchandising is nothing like here, and we here are not organized like Japan.  So all you get is the show.  Which is more than enough, because one episode can fill you up, and still leave you for wanting more.

The title translates into Family of Seven Stars.  Each episode is subtitled, there is no number.  The subtitle is Rice from/in Milk.  There is no way for me to make you understand the humor of the title.  It's one of those language specific jokes.  Here is the episode I'm reviewing.  It has a great opening theme, there is nothing of the like here.  Three minutes long, is a good song, but is used on every episode.  I like the editing of the opening video.  It shows all the wacky hijinks that entail the show.  Try it out.  I couldn't find one with just the opening song, but at least you can try out the show, after seeing the video.  I urge you. 

For this series I will give a thorough outline of the show, since you probably won't be understanding anything.  Our main characters are bring in a goat which the tall guy, Chifeeh, stole from a wealthy herder.  They are trying to milk it until stopped by the village chief. 

Anyway, the chief takes our goatnapper to the police station.  The rest of the family is trying to figure out a way to raise money to get a good lawyer.  Chifeeh's wife's father, gets a couple of chickens to sell eggs. 

Meanwhile, their neighbors, the fourth family living in that house, steal the eggs from the hen house, and blowing all chances of getting their Chifeeh out. Finally, Chifeeh getting a welcome back party.  The men bringing him home and the women giving their welcome blessing.  Then they all have brunch and start singing. 
The singing goes on, until the fat guy's voice throws them off, because he was trying to eat. 
Note: All songs used are real songs, most of the time they just change the lyrics, mainly to make it funny.
These people are very poor.  There are four different families living in this oddly structured home.  Each family has their own room, with one restroom, and two kitchens, divided among them.
It would also help you better to understand if you know the
First couple is Badii and his wife Zehera.  Zehera means flower.  She wears the wierdest clothes.  Her hairstyle makes me mistake her for a man.  Badii is the banjo player(or called ooud) and a provides most of the musical nods.   

Tall boy Chifeeh to the left and his wife Ghada to the right.  Chifeeh can mean, did you see?  He is sly.  Ghada makes up for his bad behavior like a guide. 
Booran mother of Ghada and Badii.  Abu Tumzeh is her husband, somehow, but not much is revealed on all relationships at this point.  Booran is like the godfather in this series.  She has most of the lines, and good ones at that, she has brains, and the courage to put everyone in their place.  Her goals are to get out of this crappy lifestyle.  "Abu" means father of.  So Tumzeh is not his real name, but it's how he is refered to.  He is the father of Tumzeh.  In the arabic culture, you are refered to the father of your first born son.  So Booran, would be called Em Badii.  Abu Tumzeh is wierd, I don't know his role much now, but later we will.  He is a man, but doesn't seem to be acting on top of things.
 The members outside the main three in the house, Manal to the right is the daughter of garbage man, Abu Manal.  More on them another time.

 The village chief, don't know why he's wearing a santa suit. 

Hanii, fat guy, loves Manal, and his mother to the left of him. 

I'll explain more later, but this is already fun with all the dancing, singing, and wackiness.

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