Ocean Child.

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She was the ocean’s child.

Yoko, they called her.

Pale as a haunting ghost,

and eyes as black as a miner’s coal,

nothing that screams out

the beauty that her name incites.

And yet the ocean’s child

caught the eyes of the boy from Liverpool,

who’d never loved anyone quite as cool,

not even the blue-eyed beauty in his bed.

He left the girl with the ocean eyes

for the girl called ocean child,

and what a shame that was for the poor boy’s child.

Inspired by John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Cynthia Lennon.

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12 Angry Men: A Film Review

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Watching this film seemed inevitable to me, it’s practically on every “Top films of all time” list on Letterboxd and IMBD. It has a 100% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and practically every single movie critic deems it worthy of a 5-star rating (some might say it deserves even more credit). Since it’s considered the best court drama of all time as well as a “timeless classic”, I kept it on my watch-list for almost a year now. However, whenever I’d decide I’d watch it, some other film would come my way and distract me. Yesterday was the day I finally cracked.

I was already intrigued because of the film’s spectacular reviews, but something just snapped in me when I read the synopsis and found this:

“LIFE IS IN THEIR HANDS. DEATH IS ON THEIR MINDS.”

So I went and watched the 96 minutes film and I was shook.

Reviewing the Plot and discussing Scenarios:

The film in its entirety takes place in a single room in New York City, where 12 (white, but not all angry) men argue over the innocence or guilt of a young man. It’s the hottest day in the year and these 12 men, all with different and diverse personalities, backgrounds, occupations and prejudices, gathered to decide whether they’ll sentence this 18-year-old Spanish-American boy to death.

12 Angry Men reviewYou never know whether the boy was in fact guilty or not, whether he killed his own father or not. You do, however, watch these twelve men debate the probability that he might not have done it. Juror 8, played by Henry Fonda, is himself unsure of what really happened, but he doesn’t want to lead someone who might be innocent straight to an electric chair. He puts himself in the boy’s shoes and perhaps defends him better than his own lawyer. He sways the 11 jurors towards the possibility that the evidence may not be the absolute truth and that the facts presented aren’t necessarily so.

Related imageWe, like the rest of the jury, begin to question everything as time passes. We start to lean towards the idea that the accused might actually be innocent, and throughout this process we discover more about each character as well as ourselves. Perhaps, as an audience or as onlookers, it’s easier for us to be swayed and predict that jurors will be swayed as well and eventually vote for acquittal.

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Yet if you put yourself in their shoes, like Juror 8 did with the boy, you’ll realize how difficult the choices you have are. Looking closely, there are four possible scenarios that a situation like that could go. 
1. The boy is guilty and the jury votes guilty.

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In this case, the jurors have made the right decision and have served justice to a boy who murdered his own father in a rage, having had enough of his abuse which he had suffered through since he was 5. The motive is clear, the evidence points to him and eyewitnesses support the prosecution’s case. It’s a basically, as described in the beginning of the film, an open and shut case.

2. The boy is innocent and the jury votes guilty.

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Here the jury makes a grave mistake, one that literally sends a boy to his grave. A boy who had done nothing to deserve such a fate would to be electrocuted to death. A boy who had lived his whole life in poverty and saw nothing but dirty slums and his father’s abuse after his mother passed when he was 9, who’s barely seen the world, heck, a boy who never really lived. Keep in mind, the idea of executing a young man for a crime he might not have committed is what drives our plot, drives Juror 8 to hesitate in the first place.

3. The boy is guilty and the jury votes not guilty.

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If this scenario takes place, that means a murderer would walk free. Someone who killed his own father, how’d you feel about someone like that roaming free? As pointed out by juror 7 (portrayed by Jack Warden), the defendant had a history of crime from as early as 10 years old. He’s a thief, a knife player (yes, it’s a thing) and a murderer; he’s not exactly the ideal citizen. Although, like Juror 8, you could argue that he never even stood a chance, not really with his father looming over him and his circumstances crippling him from the beginning.

4. The boy is innocent and the jury votes not guilty.

This is probably the scenario that many of the viewers hoped for as the plot progressed. It seems like the best outcome for everything. Like I mentioned before, the notion of punishing an innocent man was what created the initial conflict in the movie. So if the boy isn’t to blame for his father’s death and he walks away free, it’s all good, right? Except who did kill the father? Who is the true murderer?

Creative Analysis:

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This film isn’t the most impressive in every aspect, it doesn’t dazzle you with bright colours. But it does keep you on edge with director Sidney Lumet’s work that makes you feel as claustrophobic as the jurors must’ve felt with the rising tension. The fantastic script and witty dialogue written by Reginald Rose is the heart and soul of the film; I’ve never seen a film that, depending solely on plot line, personality conflict and conversation, manages to reach this level of perfection. The cast, lead by Fonda, is more than stellar and each actor succeeds in embodying the traits that ultimately define their character. For me, Lee J. Cobb aka Juror 3 was the most memorable of the 12 jurors and the most quotable too!

Plot Analysis and Why I loved it:

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You see, only two of the scenarios I mentioned earlier are faultless while the other two are disastrous. The thing is, though, none of the jurors could be entirely sure of anything. Even it they rightly free/sentence the young man, they’d never really know that what they chose was the correct choice. That’s what really got me into the movie, we never really know. Is the boy innocent or is he guilty? If he didn’t kill his father, then who did? And why would they frame a kid? Or is the boy guilty? Was he finally fed up with his dad’s abusive nature? Was it impulse? Why did he return to the crime scene if he did do it?

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This film takes what seems like solid evidence and unquestionable testimonies turns it into doubts and a matter of circumstance. Similar to the jury, we begin to fear the lingering threat of injustice. The fact that we’re not sure makes it harder for everyone to convict someone who might as well be a victim.

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That’s probably what I really loved about the plot, never knowing the answer, because the film isn’t about solving the crime but rather whether the jury finds any reasonable doubt about the boy’s guilt. It’s also about how the juror’s prejudices, preconceptions and personal life could greatly affect their findings, their verdict and the life of another.

Have you seen 12 Angry Men? If you did, what are your thoughts on it? Do you think the boy really killed his father? Please share with us in the comments!

Possibility of the Normal.

Why is everyone so offended by the fact that they might lead a “normal” life? Why has the idea of having a desk job, that could help you provide for yourself and live comfortably, become so frowned upon? More importantly, why are you judging those who want that normal life?

Your version of the said “normal” life implies that there’s no happiness whatsoever in it, that it’ll just be “dull and boring” ‘cause you’re not doing something that’s considered “cool”, “risky” or “exciting”.

Honestly, having a life where I’m financially stable and living with my family or those I love shouldn’t make me cringe.

Maybe sitting on a desk all day would make me complain, maybe I’ll have bad days where I’d hate it but I’d have them anywhere. So, I’ll just pick whatever job makes me happy, a job I’ll love no matter how much I curse it.

Edit: Normal isn’t mediocrity, normal isn’t uncreative and normal definitely isn’t failure.

Disclaimer: I don’t know what I wanna do with my life, I just don’t find the prospect of a normal life that unappealing anymore and I wanted to stress the fact that you shouldn’t shame those who truly want it.

Prologue, Untitled.

With their flags high and their spirits even higher, it’s time for the tyrant to retire. Young men and women with an aim of survival, they waver their banners and sharpen their swords for the final trial. They’re unaware of what the future holds in store, they’re unaware of a certain doom. Catastrophe knocks on their doors with every word they roar and none of them is safe from the man in the guarded room.

He, their very own scrooge, watches as they scream, shout, yell and screech. He cares not for their dying voice, he orders a couple more of those deadly drones to show them that they really don’t have a choice.

•~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~•

”Do you think the master will listen this time? Do you think we’ll finally find that darn silver lining in the sky?“

He’s barely old enough to be there yet there’s no stopping him. A boy, only eighteen, with dreams farther than the heavens and the seven seas.

His questions are answered by the howls of the wolves, a pack of dying men whose only hope is to keep swaying their flags. They march with him around the the bloody square.

Their jaws are clenched so tight, their bodies tense but their eyes are wide open on the brighter days.

•~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~•

Tear gas? It’s okay, they’re already crying silently in the quiet of the night. Tears on each cheek for every tragedy of the night. The kids eating scrapes and the parents starving; the father behind bars instead of a national scandal, the mother under filthy hands to insure no rival.

Although they’re scared shitless and terrified to the bone, they don’t care about the sacred rules or the holy lines anymore. Their prudence is shredded to pieces; the wrath of the drill sergeant or the mercilessness of the county sheriff are no longer enough to daunt them.

They’re afraid, yes, but not from the tyrants. They’re afraid of what happens after, they’re frightened by the possibility of freedom, of what it brings. It’s the unknown destiny ahead that haunts them, and despite that, they’ll still choose it over him.

Letter #2

Dear Bowie,

How do you tell someone you love that they’re always hurting you somehow, verbally or mentally? How do you tell them that, although you’re one of their favourite people on earth, they treat you like you’re not worth a penny? How? How do you tell them that they’re not your hero in this story anymore? How do you tell them that they’ve turned into your villain?

How do you explain to them the hundreds of times you’ve cried yourself to sleep because of them? How do you explain the countless nights you’ve spent worrying over them and never be given a decent explanation afterwards as to why they’re distancing themselves from you? How do you explain why you’ve started to take a step back too? How do you explain why’re not caring enough anymore? That you’re sick of this treatment, of being told you’ll never understand?

You don’t. You don’t tell, you don’t ask and you don’t explain. You just leave silently, a part of you after the other, until there’s nothing left of you.

All my love,

Salma.

Dear Bowie,

It’s okay if you can’t write more, it’s okay to have writer’s block. Don’t push yourself knowing there’s no use.

Why don’t you go read your favourite book again? or watch your favourite movie? That’s okay too!

You don’t have to write better than anybody else, you love your letters and aimless writings and that should be enough.

It’s okay if you read someone’s post and felt sad, it’s okay, you’ll try again tomorrow.

You’ll get through it, then you’ll get over it.

You don’t have to write day and night like you’re running out of time.

you’re not.

All my love,

Salma.

The year of minimum regrets.

Dear 2017,

I was sitting with a couple of friends and we were talking about you. Some felt happy with you, some seemed angry and others were quite meh.

Unlike any of them, I didn’t feel any of those emotions. Frankly, I was a bit confused because

1. I have so many reasons to hate you.

2. I have so many reasons to love you.

3. Well, meh.

So let’s start with number one, shall we?

I hate you because I never got around to losing those extra pounds, that practically haunt me whenever I squeeze into my favourite jeans, instead I’ve gained a few more. (p.s. I call myself fat, you don’t. Period.)

I hate you because I was so heartbroken when I got rejected from two places I really wanted to get into.

I hate you ‘cause I’ve lost respect for so many I once called friends and ended up a bunch of fakes , and I hate you for making me see the truth.

I hate you because I’ve spent most of your days sleep deprived, and stuck in a classroom listening to KR basically abuse us. (kidding, the guy’s “Walter White/Heisenberg” cool)I am danger

I hate you ‘cause I’ve spent my 3 months of summer stuck at school, forcing me to deal with the heat and Microsoft Access at 9 am.

I hate you ‘cause I never have the time to read anymore. (fan-fiction does not count, no matter how much you read, people)

As for number two, well….

I love you for finally letting me accept myself, with all my flaws and insecurities, and for letting me love myself, even if it’s just for a few days (compared to the self hate ones).img_4838

I love you for letting me be okay with facing the unknown, and venturing outside my bubble even for a tiny bit. Thanks for finally showing me how to cope, how to cope with mood swings and inexplicable sadness.

I love you because I got accepted as the youngest member of a magazine staff. I love you because my article got published on Egypt’s Today website, which is one of our oldest and most prestigious magazines. Also, I get paid every month to do a job I love, and for a woman I absolutely adore.

I love you ‘cause throughout these 12 months, I’ve created a bond with a wannabe Tony Stark wife, a bond that I hope will last way after our lazy butts stop sleeping/procrastinating. 

Not to forget all the new friends I’ve made, starting from my sarcasm twitter queen and my actual drama queen, to the girls I’ve come to love through Hamilton. However, I’m absolutely nothing without the one who’s endured my (fabulous) love of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Oasis, or the curly haired girl obsessed with Mo Salah and….teddy bears? (she’s 16 istg)

Contrary to mum’s belief, you can make friends through the internet. I made 3 twitter mutuals, who turned out to be god’s gift wallah. Shoutout to farah, who even goes to the same club and is movie/musicals obsessed comme moi! (I would’ve added her @ but she changes it all the time (lo-ki judging you farah))

I love you ‘cause I attended my first concert with my twitter mutuals, a Beatles tribute concert, I seriously had so much fun that day you can’t even begin to imagine. It’s officially my favourite night of the summer. 

I love you ‘cause I attended a play by the actor I love the most, as well as a stage adaptation of Charlie and the chocolate factory. I love you ‘cause I attended two open mic events and actually spoke in one. (It was terrible since I was sick but IT COUNTS PEOPLE)

I love you ‘cause summer wasn’t boring for the first time, instead it was filled with street walking, solving on laptops, loads of pizza, cinemas and cafè gossip. It was filled with love towards the coolest teacher I’ve ever come across, and love for an unexpected friend I’ve made.

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I also managed to see 27 new film releases in theaters (still counting tho), and I wanna say about 64 at home. OH, AND I CAME ACROSS MY NEW FAVOURITE MOVIE: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). (’tis a classic and y’all should watch it)

I love you ‘cause I binge- watched House M.D for the second time, and Breaking Bad(which was way overdue), Stranger Things, Shadow Hunters, Shamless UK, Grace&Frankie, Degrassi, Rick&Morty, The people VS O.J Simpson and That 70s show for the first time.

As for the reading bit, I guess one can’t have everything. (well, if you’re the queen of England, pretty sure you can.)

As for the meh part, well, you had a bunch of “life is meaningless” meh days that I very much don’t remember. so,

Yeah 2017, I was a bit confused at first as to what emotion I should feel towards you.

After I weighed it out, I guess I’m not angry or happy. It’s something in between, something that weirdly feels like gratitude and satisfaction.

2017, I’m grateful for all the opportunities you’ve given to me and all those you’ve taken away from me. Excluding all the downer and meh days, I’m satisfied with every single day I’ve lived this year.

Although overwhelmed may not be the word for it, I’m so overwhelmed by everything that’s happened this year, everything that shaped last year’s version of me into the latest 1.7 version.

P.S I attended my second Glass Onion concert last week and it was freakin’ magical. It’s officially my favourite night of the year.

P.S.2 I’m still not a millionaire and I’m blaming you for that.