Quick Thoughts: The Good Omen (2009)
Made by Mohammed BuAli, this is the Bahraini film of the series.
Beyond the well-constructed and atmospheric opening, this is a pretty bad film, technically flawed in every way with poor acting. It follows an elderly Bahraini man who has lost his wife, yet still waits for her to come back to him so he may raise an “Al-Nashel Dress”, a Good Omen, to signal her return. With attempts towards poeticism, The Good Omen explores themes of longing, concluding this cliched tragic romance in a classical fashion, demonstrating that a long wait can often be a journey towards existential fulfilment. In such, The Good Omen asserts that Mohammad, our main character, was never really longing for his lost wife to return, rather, that he was preparing himself for death by holding fast to the belief that he will meet her as the life leaves his body.
Despite this being a somewhat unoriginal subtextual narrative, the work put towards cinematically conveying this idea is very evident and quite commendable. However, the detail that furthers this, adding a unique complexity to this narrative, concerns references to the bridge linking Bahrain to Muhrraq Island.
A small landmass in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain Island is apart of an archipelago, an island group – one of these smaller islands being Muhrraq. Named after the former capital of Bahrain, a city with a long history spanning at least 5,000 years, Muhrraq seems to be used, by The Good Omen, as a metaphor for an extrapolated heart. The juxtaposition of these locations with this narrative of bittersweet and loyal love then seems to imply a cultural commentary of sorts; one that maybe contrasts cultural shifts and changes over time.
However, I’ll leave this asking what you think – and it’d be great to hear from someone who knows more about Bahrain than me. So, have you seen this short film? What are your thoughts?
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