Cash Flow :Movie Review & Interview with Sami Koujan

On Saturday January 21st, a press screening and a press conference were held at ABC Ashrafieh Grand Cinemas for the  Lebanese movie “Cash Flow”. The actors and actresses along with Cash flow’s crew attended this event. After watching the movie, a press conference took place to answer the journalists’ questions.

“Cash Flow” is a 100% Lebanese movie, written and directed by the young director Sami Koujan. The movie’s a light comedy that embraces some action and romance. Starring Carlos Azar (Mazen) Nadine Njeim (Elsa),Tony Abou Jaude, Joelle Dagher, Hisham Haddad, Anthony Najem, Teta Latifeh, Heyam Abu Chedid, Chady Maroun ,Antoine Balaban Ghassan Estefan, Claude Khalil and Pierre Chamoun. The story’s about a typical Lebanese guy (Mazen) who’s living a routine/boring life with a very humble and less-than-mediocre income. He falls in love with a girl of an upper class whom he considers out of his reach. Events twist when Mazen saves the life of an important man who, as a reward submit him with a credit card that withdraws 1000$ per day. Mazen gets the attention of wicked people that try to mess up his life.

I must admit, judging by the movie’s trailer, the choice of actors and actresses and the uncountable articles that’s been written on this movie before its release, it was obvious that it’s not an ordinary Lebanese movie and after watching it myself,  I’m happy to say that it’s everything I’ve excepted.

The press was overwhelmed with the movie’s simplicity and praised that part while I personally found the movie smart and elegant!  Events are a bit slow at first, but when the story gets on track there’s not a scene that I found insignificant! The characters can relate to every Lebanese person and there’s a clever humorous effect not to mention the best of breed in technology that makes the movie classy, stylish and on international standards.

Carlos Azar, quite a character! I think the Director made the perfect choice picking him for the leading role. His sense of humor was also present in the press conference where the big question of comparison between “Cash Flow” and “Hala2 La Wen” was raised. Carlos stated that it’s irrelative to compare a film like “Transformer” to “The God Father”. They both have different styles and it’s essential that people don’t compare between them!

I believe every Lebanese person should watch “Cash Flow” for the following reason:

1-      It’s a must see movie! Entertaining as hell and can relate to everybody.

2-      It’s about time we have successful Lebanese movies in our theaters.

3-      It’s about time we start trusting and believing in the Lebanese movie industry.

4-      Instead of whining about the lack of value in our Lebanese productions, we’ve been given a movie of QUALITY in form and content, and as Lebanese it’s our duty to give it all the support it needs.

Day Two Pictures’ journey is to create smart-entertaining movies, TV series and commercial. They are proud of their first production and they promise more quality films in the near future. We had an interview with the writer and Director Sami Koujan who didn’t forget to show gratitude for the amazing crew that helped him achieve his dream.

1- At the press conference on Saturday, the journalists showed their full support and admiration. Did you expect all the positive responses that have been given?
I expected the journalists to “like” my movie but have many criticisms, not that I’m not confident of my work, but I’ve never seen a press conference without criticism. I’m so happy that most of them loved the movie because it was one of the 2 most important days in the success of “Cash Flow”. The other important day is on the 26th when the movie will be released for the public, I can’t wait to hear their feedback because I dedicated the script and spirit of the movie to them.

2- How much did the movie cost?
Cash Flow is a million dollar movie; I would say it’s the perfect budget for such a movie. If it costs more it would be a waste of money, and if it costs less then there would have been sacrifices in quality.

3- Is there anything else you would have wished to add to the movie and couldn’t due to a limitation in budget?
Nothing at all concerning the budget, but during the process of editing cash flow I just wished that I would have done some minor things a different way. But I love the result anyway so I’m happy.

4- How did you convince such famous actors and actresses to be part of “Cash Flow” knowing that you’re a fresh director and it’s your first project? How did you get them to trust you?
The first step was showing them the script; they were surprised because they never read a Lebanese script with such a style. Then “Day Two Pictures” showed their professionalism and the actors trusted them more and felt secure.
5- If you have to pick, who would you consider to be your biggest influence as a filmmaker?
I would say Guy Richie; he created his own modern style, and most importantly, he writes his own movies.

6- We all know that the Lebanese people don’t trust the Lebanese film industry, what can you say to change their mind and make them watch your movie?
The Lebanese people don’t trust the Lebanese film industry because most of the films that come out are not for the people; they are made for festivals and for self promotion as bold artists, at least that’s what they call themselves. However, the people can’t enjoy such movies because they are not commercial, and at the same time, the commercial movies are done in a very cheap way that disrespects the audience’s intelligence.

7- What’s the message that you want to convey behind the movie? Is it that money buys happiness and love or on the contrary that it doesn’t, knowing that Elsa fell for Mazen even though she didn’t know about the credit card?
I don’t want to make movies to send major messages to the audience, I don’t want to preach. I make movies so people can have fun artistically and story-wise, and I want to respect the audience’s intelligence while doing that. However, I like to include minor messages that certain people might relate to, and I will not tell them what’s right or wrong, I’ll just expose them.

8- Did you avoid scenes that involve boldness because of the notorious Lebanese censorship? Did you eliminate any scene that was thought to be unsuitable?
I will not use sex to sell my movie if there is no place for it. If a sex scene serves the story I would shoot it without worrying about the censorship because it will be shot in an artistic and non-vulgar way.

9- Do you believe we’ll achieve the “Golden Age” of the Lebanese film industry?
We just started it.  Many great films will be shot this year I guarantee you that.

Check out the pictures :


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