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Week of January 16, 2002

African Voices. A series dedicated to presenting new African film, "African Voices" continues with Fallen Angels Paradise, based on Jorge Amado's popular novel. This inspired, grimly farcical film uses the death of Tabel to contrast the coarse debauchery of a sleazy Cairo bar's amoral denizens with the cold inhumanity and greedy hypocrisy of a proper middle-class family. Never pretty, the corpse (played gleefully by Egyptian superstar Mahmoud Hemida) is claimed by relatives who Tabel fled 10 years earlier to drink and whore, gamble and fight. Determined to re-establish Tabel's once respectable image with a lavish, dignified funeral, his family must contend with a bumbling trio of Tabel's dissolute pals and his favorite whores, who want to party one more night with the leering, albeit dead, man. Without compromise, director Oussama Fawzi unleashes a wildly raucous assault on pretense without romanticizing contemptuous anarchy and hedonistic rebellion. In Arabic with English subtitles. Plays at 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Webster University.

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