A New Day in Old Sana'a

Lovely panoramas of the Yemeni city punctuate this genial 2005 romantic comedy, though the plot and supporting characters (gossiping lady folk, pompous police chief) might have been plucked from a European operetta. A young Arab bachelor has second thoughts about his arranged wedding after he spies an enticing young woman dancing in the street at dawn, but his haughty mother insists he honor his pledge. The hero's boss, an Italian photographer, delivers the voice-over narration in English, which heightens the sense that this charming lark, reportedly Yemen's first dramatic feature, was intended as an overture to the West. Bader Ben Hirsi (The English Sheik & the Yemeni Gentleman) directed. In English and subtitled Arabic. 86 min.

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