“La Moa’khza” , which means “pardon me”, is an Egyptian expression that is used when talking about something inappropriate, a taboo, or simply as a way to wryly apologize for something. It also happens to be the name of the newly released Egyptian movie, starring the young Ahmed Dash and Kenda Aloush. It is written and directed by Amr Salama.
In a nutshell, the movie addresses the case of the Christian child Hany and his struggle to adapt in a new governmental school after he has spend all his life in an international school, having to transfer after his father passed away. Social influence can be noticed instantly throughout the movie’s plot. First, Hany feels tremendous pressure because he cannot ‘fit in’. He does not tell his classmates about his religion for fear of rejection, since they are all Muslims. He had to succumb to their different kind of culture, way of speech, dress code, and behavior codes. He constantly tries to impress his classmates even if his actions are not in accord with his beliefs or standards, one time by devising his own plane, by learning to sing “Shaa’bi” songs, by beating up the toughest kid in school and many other incidents. Even when he was home and his friends were not around, the pressure to behave similarly to them still haunted him, even with his encounters with his mother.
On the other hand, his schoolmates, who belong to a vastly different social and economic level, hold a certain construal about upper class boys. In the beginning, they perceive him as different and refuse to integrate him with them, simply because deep in their minds, they have come to believe that people from different social classes shouldn’t mix. Moreover, we can see how Hany keeps using the attribution theory when he decides to not tell his friends about his religion. He keeps telling himself that he will work on building a strong foundation with his friends first then he will let them know. He keeps apologizing to the statue of Jesus Christ and asks for his forgiveness. He used his schema because he was subjected to an ambiguous situation, which is his new school, and had to act in certain ways to be accepted in the group, which is to behave exactly like his classmates. In addition, Hany’s attempt to participate in the religious chanting competition, despite the fact that he’s Christian, exhibit his extrinsic motivation: he did not actually participate because he enjoyed Islamic religious chants; he participated because he wanted the approval and admiration of his friends.
Moreover, we see how Hany’s mother makes external attributions when she tries to know why her son has cut his hair or answers back at her. She doesn’t entirely blame her son for his actions but deduces that he behaves this way because the school, his environment, is affecting him in some way.
All in all, I believe that the movie was deep and insightful that one cannot simply analyse it in one post. This movie triggered many thoughts in my head. As hilarious and funny as it was, it exposed a lot of painful truths that maybe we have been oblivious to or simply negligent of. It’s a must watch!