Jalla! Jalla! (The Best Man's Wedding) (2000)

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Released 17-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (1:09)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Trailer-Italian For Beginners, I'm With Lucy, Read My Lips, Tape
DVD Credits
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 88:44 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Josef Fares
Studio
Distributor
Memfis Films
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Fares Fares
Torkel Petersson
Tuva Novotny
Laleh Pourkarim
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $36.95 Music Daniel Lemma


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Swedish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The second batch of releases in the World Cinema Collection includes a Swedish film from a young Lebanese-born director. The result makes for some interesting viewing and I had heard some good things about the film. Quite why it ended up with the English title The Best Man's Wedding completely mystifies me so I will stick with the original title - Jalla! Jalla! A romantic comedy of sorts, this is a romp that combines four main characters - Roro, Lisa, Mans and Yasmin - with ethnic expectations, a manic potential brother in law, sexual impotence and a knuckle head with a dog named Rambo.

    It sort of makes sense and very nearly works very well. Roro (Fares Fares) is a (surprise) Lebanese migrant who works as a gardener in the local parks along with his best mate Mans (Torkel Petersson). Roro is very much in love with his Swedish girlfriend Lisa (Tuva Novotny) but has a slight problem with introducing her to his family. With good reason, as his grandmother and father very much want him to get married, which Roro is not at all keen to do at the moment. They want him to marry a nice Lebanese girl, and have arranged for him to meet (and marry) Yasmin (Laleh Pourkarim), which is even less impressing to Roro. Lisa is getting just a little annoyed about not meeting his family. Mans on the other hand is living with his girlfriend but is currently having some problems with sex. He is getting a little desperate, too, as it seems to be mirroring his life at the moment. Nothing he seems to try is working, despite visits to the local sex shop and an alternative medicine therapist relative of Roro. With all the pressures being placed on the guys, things start to unravel somewhat. Yasmin and Roro agree to pretend to get married to shut their respective families up but of course the families think it is all genuine. Mans starts unravelling big time as his fixation on his problem intensifies. The result is both end up breaking up with their girlfriends, in Mans' case for the right reason and Roro's case for the wrong reason. Everything comes to a head after a night in jail and at the wedding the next day.

    Along the way is the encounter with the knuckle head and his dog named Rambo.

    It might sound a little mad, and truth be told it is, but it all melds itself together in a quite amusing way (well, at least everything apart from the knuckle head and his dog named Rambo). Whilst perhaps showing the signs of inexperience on the director's part at times too, it is a fresh feeling film that generally moves along at a decent pace towards its denouement. Very much a family affair, with the director's family well and truly involved - his older brother is the star and other members of the family are peripheral characters - the result is certainly nothing that we would get from a well established Hollywood director with plenty of cash at his disposal.

    Whilst a fresh effort it is, perhaps it was not quite as engaging and as fresh as I was expecting. I am not disappointed by the film but certainly feel that it could have been a little better. Nonetheless, definitely a film worth while checking out if you want to wander away from the mainstream without too much brain power required.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in its theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The film was apparently shot on video, which might explain the generally very good but hardly distinctive transfer that we have here. In just about every way, this is a thoroughly competent effort, and nothing more. Interestingly the transfer has been authored and mastered by Madman Interactive.

    The transfer is decent enough in the sharpness and definition, with nothing really wrong with it but certainly leaving you wishing for just a little more sharpness and a bit more definition. This is certainly no anamorphically shot film. Since it was shot on video, there is no grain present and that certainly helps proceedings no end, and means that clarity is certainly quite decent. Low level noise is not an issue and rarely does any issue involving shadow detail get raised. This really is very competent with nothing to really complain about.

    Colours are very consistently rendered, although lacking somewhat in the vibrancy stakes. Whilst I would not characterise the transfer as flat looking, there is certainly a lack of something visually appealing regarding the transfer. The look is reasonably natural, but a few more bright primary colours would certainly not have gone astray. There are no problems with oversaturation or colour bleed. Blacks could have benefited from some more depth to them though.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Since this was shot on video, there can of course be no film-to-video artefacts. Video-to-video artefacts could of course be a problem, but thankfully there really is no issue at all with any such artefacts apart from some generally minor aliasing here and there. There are no film artefacts to worry about in the transfer either.

    This is a single layered, single sided DVD so there is no layer change to worry about.

    There is just the single English subtitle option on the DVD, which is selectable. They seem to do a reasonable job of conveying the dialogue of the film, but of course I am unable to attest to their accuracy as my Swedish is non-existent and my Arabic is very limited.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is just the one soundtrack on the DVD, being a Swedish Dolby Digital 2.0 effort. I suppose this is a bit of a misnomer really as some of the dialogue is presumably in Arabic, the principal language of some of the characters.

    The dialogue comes up well in the transfer, being generally easy to understand. There are however a couple of places where the dialogue gets just a little muddied for those that can understand the original languages. There does not appear to be any audio sync issues with the transfer.

    The original music comes from Daniel Lemma and is competent enough, without any real distinction. This suits the film though, as it is predominantly dialogue driven and needs little from the music - and what it does need tends to come from the songs selected for the film.

    The soundtrack itself is very competent but lacks any real distinction too. Obviously lacking any dynamic as a result of being just a two channel effort, just every so often you wish for something more in the way of body to the sound. Still, it is quite an open sound and is blemish free, so there is nothing in the way of impediments to detract in any way from the whole soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    At least an effort has been made, although in truth there really is not that much here of any great value.

Menu

    A modicum of main menu audio is all that distinguishes the efforts here, although they are quite clear and very functional.

Theatrical Trailer (1:09)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and features Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Regrettably it features non-selectable English subtitles (that is, you get them whether you want them or not). The technical quality is good, very much in the same vein as the feature itself, although the trailer itself is a little off-base as far as promoting the film is concerned: I am not sure that it gives the right impression of what the film is about and would hardly make me rush out to see the film.

Biographies - Cast and Crew

    At least some information about the director and four main characters, which will go some way to aiding those amongst us (including me) who are unlikely to be familiar with them. A pity that they are not a little more extensive, but at least they are better than nothing at all.

Gallery - Photo

    Thirteen photos that seem to be mainly stills from the film.

Trailer - Italian For Beginners (1:58)

    The same effort that has graced a few of these releases from the World Cinema Collection, promoting a film from the first batch of releases. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The English subtitles are again non-selectable. Nothing much wrong with it from a technical point of view.

Trailer - I'm With Lucy (1:34)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, again not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, this is another film previously promoted on earlier releases. Once again there is nothing wrong with the technical quality.

Trailer - Read My Lips (1:58)

    This time a film from this second batch of releases in the World Cinema Collection. The presentation is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, once again not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Once again the English subtitles are non-selectable. There are a few film artefacts floating around but nothing that distracting. Otherwise the only issue is that the transfer is a little dark.

Trailer - Tape (1:55)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Technical quality is decent enough with nothing really wrong with it, but from a promotional point of view I don't know that it does a good job of selling the film.

DVD Credits

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    At the moment, I have not been able to trace any information for a Region 1 release of the film. There are several releases in Region 2, with the details for the German release indicating the following extras available on the DVD:

    Unfortunately there does not appear to be any English subtitles on the German release. If you have no need for English subtitles, then Region 2 would seem to be the way to go on the strength of a much better extras package. If you don't speak Swedish and Arabic however, you will probably have to stick with the Region 4 release.

Summary

    I remain completely mystified as to the English title of The Best Man's Wedding, as no wedding (involving a best man or not) actually takes place in the film. The literal translation of the Arabic title Jalla! Jalla! is Hurry! Hurry! which would be a little more sensible. Whilst I had heard some good things about the film, at the end of the day it left me a little ambivalent. Certainly there is plenty here to enjoy and at times it is quite funny, but I cannot help but feel that it could have been a little better, most notably through some tightening of the script and a little more development of the themes. Still, it has a fresh feel to it and that is something generally lacking in most of the films we find on DVD. The transfers in all respects are thoroughly competent and there is hardly anything to raise any concerns about technically.

    I cannot help but feel however that the price point for the World Cinema Collection needs to be addressed. As much as I love investigating non-Hollywood films, at $36.95 RPI there is a serious impediment to doing so. That would seem to be a limiting factor to the number of discs that are likely to be sold into the market. At a lower pricing point of say $29.95 (equivalent to the discount department stores pricing on big name Hollywood releases), this series would represent a much better value for money - and certainly encourage more investigation than at the present time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Friday, March 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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