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Cinema Kawakeb

Mahmoud Massad
Close-up of a man in a darkened movie theater, with the text "Cinema Kawakeb - A film by al massad" next to him

After the pandemic lockdown was lifted in 2022, Youssef and Ali were relieved that they can now reopen one of the oldest remaining cinemas in downtown Amman, Cinema Kawakeb. But to discover that the owner of the cinema has taken advantage of the government loans like many others that have suffered due to restrictions and bans during the pandemic. He ends up spending the loan elsewhere and if the cinema reopens then he is obligated to repay the full amount.

This situation has left Youssef and Ali in a dilemma preventing them from reopening the cinema or to make a living elsewhere since they have invested every last penny in renovating the theatre before the pandemic started.
Day by day, and through the hidden lens behind the cinema ticket box, the cinema entrance becomes a daily destination for the neighbors to vent about their economic pressures and trying to come up with solutions for the cinema to reopen.

Out of desperation, Youssef comes up with an extreme idea to threaten the landlord by reporting him to the authorities for showing the forbidden porn for years at the cinema – in fact this was the only way that the theatre can survive over the past years, as demand to watch regular films decreased. But this solution would jeopardize the whole team as they too played a part of these screenings! Ali is hesitant about this solution since he is getting old and suffers from diabetes other than the fact that he is more into his religious path and carries the guilt for showing this kind of films for many years. Other than the history of sexual activity inside the cinema by sexually deprived men that seek refuge at the dark theater.

Abu Hussam, an old friend and colleague of Ali and Youssef, who they look up to for his wisdom comes up with an idea that might help both parties as he reminds them that Ali still owns a rare black and white 35mm films and among which rare footage of the wedding ceremony of the late King Hussein of Jordan. This old film might be considered a treasure to film collectors or the royal family in Jordan. But this film is stored in the old cinema Al Hussein, which has been closed due to family disputes for years.

Now their sole mission is to convince the guard of cinema Al Hussein to let them search for their film. Yet, if they get it then what is the possibility of selling it in order to bargain with the cinema owner to help pay back the loan and bring the cinema to life?