Zinzana

A bloody good film!


Zinzana

  • A bloody good film!

Zinzana

  • A bloody good film!


AKA (English title)

Rattle the Cage

Rated

N/A

Starring

Saleh Bakri
Ali Suliman
Ahd
Eyad Hourani
Mansoor Alfeeli

Written by

Majid Al Ansari
Rami Yasin
Nidal Morra
Ruckus Skye
Lane Skye

Directed by

Majid Al Ansari



coming up

What to Expect

An ordinary morning in the life of an ordinary movie buff consisted of starting the day with a press screening of possibly one of the most anticipated films I’ve witnessed on the face of the United Arab Emirates.

It was what began my journey through the 12th Dubai International Film Festival.

There are too many memories attached to this festival. This writer’s thoughts wandered, for a moment, back to six years ago, where the sixth edition of the very film festival witnessed the release of City of Life – possibly the first mainstream Emirati film to have ever gained the kind of traction Zinzana has now. And to be honest, the kind of platform the Ali F. Mostafa directed movie paved for filmmakers of the future within the region shows.

This is precisely where debutant Majid Al Ansari comes in. And this is precisely why potential viewers, who undoubtedly have much to expect from this little firecracker of a film, almost nervously await it. It is but a human thing to do though; one is made to wonder if the film stands on an equally great level its trailer promises it to be on. And as the lights dimmed, my excitement – I realized – was topped with a very heavy layer of nervousness.

I realized, much to my surprise, that my expectations, despite having tried to restrain them for as long as I could have, had hit the roof, and there was nothing I could do about it.

What’s it About?

Talal (Saleh Bakri) is trapped in a dingy lockup of a disheveled police station, with no identification or no memory of who he is. He’s told has two days before he’s taken to court to have his hearing. Things, of course, cannot be that simple, for in enters a man (Ali Suliman) who has a hitherto untold score to settle with him, and will do anything to succeed in making only the most special kind of hell for the prisoner – the kind that only gets progressively and suffocatingly personal with each move.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Perpetrator and the Perpetrated

The Perpetrator and the Perpetrated

This may not be an inventive film.

We’ve definitely seen contained thrillers in the past, and we’ve also witnessed themes of one-upmanship within a lot of films in these genres. And let’s be as frank as we can get; the film could have done slightly better than a thin plot and a tried-and-tested payoff.

But that’s the thing about Zinzana; the film rests quite deservedly on its brilliant direction. Majid Al Ansari has an unbeatably competent knowledge of atmosphere, and uses the film’s excellent technical laurels not simply to create irrelevant visual correctness within the frames of the film, but to further the story and to increasingly pull the viewers in on just how claustrophobic the protagonist really feels. Colin Lévêque’s terrific cinematography cleverly uses close-ups and extreme close-ups to accurately make the audience feel just the right amount of discomfort the director intended the film’s viewers to feel. The camera tracks not the protagonist’s movements, but the insides of his reeling mind, with its anchor point being his eyes. We almost feel it; we feel that desperation, and that loss of hope. Tie that in with Shahnaz Dulaimy’s rhythm-heavy edit decisions, and this becomes the kind of technically superior product that is able to correctly push just the kind of buttons of the audience that only need to be pushed.

There’s a certain focus, be they with the visual elements or the usage of sound. Might I go out on a limb and say that Zinzana has some of the most impressive sound design I’ve heard in possibly a little while now. Everything from the use of the soundtrack (Trevor Gureckis) to the mixing of fractured dreams to the ticking of a clock is amped up a slight notch, if only to enhance the urgency factor. The production design of the film is terrific; there’s some intensely realist artifice in the art direction there. Visual effects compositing may look like it’s lacking some finesse, but the issue isn’t a jarringly in-your-face one.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Your neck. My hands. The rest is predictable.

Your neck. My hands. The rest is predictable.

An excellent antagonist needs an excellent performer, and Ali Suliman (Lone Survivor) is no less. Turning his character into a live, ferocious beast of a villain, Suliman surrenders to his fascinating character, and makes his arc an electrifying on-screen experience. The audience is bound to be both mesmerized and unpleasantly surprised at D’baan, and Suliman’s performance deserves much of the credit. It is, after all, an absolutely challenging tightrope; his role, but he makes it feel so effortless, you’d be surprised.

Standing next to Suliman is Yasa, who may not be the movie’s protagonist, but certainly delivers a rather brilliant performance as Aida. A bumbling woman whose curiosity and ambition precede her irritability, her nuances are given Yasa’s life and perfected to a degree of mostly knowing her simply as her character. Ahd (Wadjda), who plays the protagonist’s ex-wife, is commendable. Of the shorter roles, however, the biggest trump card is the performer who begins the film: Abdalla Bu Abed, who plays Sherif Othman. He is on point. Wearing his humor and nonchalance on his sleeve, Bu Abed’s a rather entertaining presence to watch throughout his runtime.

But let’s really talk about Saleh Bakri, who’s the good-guy of the movie. Now, he may not have a presence as arresting as Suliman, but as the fighting-with-inner-demons protagonist, he underplays it rather commendably. There’s a certain studiedness in his performance, but that doesn’t deter the overall impact his role has to the film in anyway whatsoever.

Worth it?

That’s possibly what it always boils down to, doesn’t it?

Sure, it might have a plot that’s a tad derivate. Sure, the payoff might not be as explosive as one thinks. Zinzana, however, is a brilliantly directed film that simply needs to be experienced once, at the very least. Majid Al Ansari seems to have an acutely expansive knowledge of film atmosphere in genre cinema, and cuts straight to the chase, making an honest attempt to deliver a non-stop adrenaline filled thriller that pulls all stops to put viewers to the edge of their seats. And succeed he does.

Watch it for the superiorly written character arcs. Watch it for Al Ansari’s impressive hold over his craft. Watch it because the United Arab Emirates needs the kind of talent. More than anything else, however, watch it ‘cause it’s a bloody good film, and that’s really only what matters.

Zinzana releases on the 10th of December around the United Arab Emirates. Do not, however, miss the red-carpet premiere screening at the 12th Dubai International Film Festival at 6.00PM tomorrow at the Madinat Arena, followed by a repeat screening on Saturday the 12th of December at 10.00PM at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates.

Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us


AKA (English title)

Rattle the Cage

Rated

N/A

Starring

Saleh Bakri
Ali Suliman
Ahd
Eyad Hourani
Mansoor Alfeeli

Written by

Majid Al Ansari
Rami Yasin
Nidal Morra
Ruckus Skye
Lane Skye

Directed by

Majid Al Ansari




What to Expect

An ordinary morning in the life of an ordinary movie buff consisted of starting the day with a press screening of possibly one of the most anticipated films I’ve witnessed on the face of the United Arab Emirates.

It was what began my journey through the 12th Dubai International Film Festival.

There are too many memories attached to this festival. This writer’s thoughts wandered, for a moment, back to six years ago, where the sixth edition of the very film festival witnessed the release of City of Life – possibly the first mainstream Emirati film to have ever gained the kind of traction Zinzana has now. And to be honest, the kind of platform the Ali F. Mostafa directed movie paved for filmmakers of the future within the region shows.

This is precisely where debutant Majid Al Ansari comes in. And this is precisely why potential viewers, who undoubtedly have much to expect from this little firecracker of a film, almost nervously await it. It is but a human thing to do though; one is made to wonder if the film stands on an equally great level its trailer promises it to be on. And as the lights dimmed, my excitement – I realized – was topped with a very heavy layer of nervousness.

I realized, much to my surprise, that my expectations, despite having tried to restrain them for as long as I could have, had hit the roof, and there was nothing I could do about it.

What’s it About?

Talal (Saleh Bakri) is trapped in a dingy lockup of a disheveled police station, with no identification or no memory of who he is. He’s told has two days before he’s taken to court to have his hearing. Things, of course, cannot be that simple, for in enters a man (Ali Suliman) who has a hitherto untold score to settle with him, and will do anything to succeed in making only the most special kind of hell for the prisoner – the kind that only gets progressively and suffocatingly personal with each move.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Perpetrator and the Perpetrated

The Perpetrator and the Perpetrated

This may not be an inventive film.

We’ve definitely seen contained thrillers in the past, and we’ve also witnessed themes of one-upmanship within a lot of films in these genres. And let’s be as frank as we can get; the film could have done slightly better than a thin plot and a tried-and-tested payoff.

But that’s the thing about Zinzana; the film rests quite deservedly on its brilliant direction. Majid Al Ansari has an unbeatably competent knowledge of atmosphere, and uses the film’s excellent technical laurels not simply to create irrelevant visual correctness within the frames of the film, but to further the story and to increasingly pull the viewers in on just how claustrophobic the protagonist really feels. Colin Lévêque’s terrific cinematography cleverly uses close-ups and extreme close-ups to accurately make the audience feel just the right amount of discomfort the director intended the film’s viewers to feel. The camera tracks not the protagonist’s movements, but the insides of his reeling mind, with its anchor point being his eyes. We almost feel it; we feel that desperation, and that loss of hope. Tie that in with Shahnaz Dulaimy’s rhythm-heavy edit decisions, and this becomes the kind of technically superior product that is able to correctly push just the kind of buttons of the audience that only need to be pushed.

There’s a certain focus, be they with the visual elements or the usage of sound. Might I go out on a limb and say that Zinzana has some of the most impressive sound design I’ve heard in possibly a little while now. Everything from the use of the soundtrack (Trevor Gureckis) to the mixing of fractured dreams to the ticking of a clock is amped up a slight notch, if only to enhance the urgency factor. The production design of the film is terrific; there’s some intensely realist artifice in the art direction there. Visual effects compositing may look like it’s lacking some finesse, but the issue isn’t a jarringly in-your-face one.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Your neck. My hands. The rest is predictable.

Your neck. My hands. The rest is predictable.

An excellent antagonist needs an excellent performer, and Ali Suliman (Lone Survivor) is no less. Turning his character into a live, ferocious beast of a villain, Suliman surrenders to his fascinating character, and makes his arc an electrifying on-screen experience. The audience is bound to be both mesmerized and unpleasantly surprised at D’baan, and Suliman’s performance deserves much of the credit. It is, after all, an absolutely challenging tightrope; his role, but he makes it feel so effortless, you’d be surprised.

Standing next to Suliman is Yasa, who may not be the movie’s protagonist, but certainly delivers a rather brilliant performance as Aida. A bumbling woman whose curiosity and ambition precede her irritability, her nuances are given Yasa’s life and perfected to a degree of mostly knowing her simply as her character. Ahd (Wadjda), who plays the protagonist’s ex-wife, is commendable. Of the shorter roles, however, the biggest trump card is the performer who begins the film: Abdalla Bu Abed, who plays Sherif Othman. He is on point. Wearing his humor and nonchalance on his sleeve, Bu Abed’s a rather entertaining presence to watch throughout his runtime.

But let’s really talk about Saleh Bakri, who’s the good-guy of the movie. Now, he may not have a presence as arresting as Suliman, but as the fighting-with-inner-demons protagonist, he underplays it rather commendably. There’s a certain studiedness in his performance, but that doesn’t deter the overall impact his role has to the film in anyway whatsoever.

Worth it?

That’s possibly what it always boils down to, doesn’t it?

Sure, it might have a plot that’s a tad derivate. Sure, the payoff might not be as explosive as one thinks. Zinzana, however, is a brilliantly directed film that simply needs to be experienced once, at the very least. Majid Al Ansari seems to have an acutely expansive knowledge of film atmosphere in genre cinema, and cuts straight to the chase, making an honest attempt to deliver a non-stop adrenaline filled thriller that pulls all stops to put viewers to the edge of their seats. And succeed he does.

Watch it for the superiorly written character arcs. Watch it for Al Ansari’s impressive hold over his craft. Watch it because the United Arab Emirates needs the kind of talent. More than anything else, however, watch it ‘cause it’s a bloody good film, and that’s really only what matters.

Zinzana releases on the 10th of December around the United Arab Emirates. Do not, however, miss the red-carpet premiere screening at the 12th Dubai International Film Festival at 6.00PM tomorrow at the Madinat Arena, followed by a repeat screening on Saturday the 12th of December at 10.00PM at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates.

Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us

Cast Saleh Bakri
Ali Suliman
Ahd
Director Majid Al Ansari
Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive!

What to Expect

Rattle that cage, son! Rattle it!

Rattle that cage, son! Rattle it!

An ordinary morning in the life of an ordinary movie buff consisted of starting the day with a press screening of possibly one of the most anticipated films I’ve witnessed on the face of the United Arab Emirates.

It was what began my journey through the 12th Dubai International Film Festival.

There are too many memories attached to this festival. This writer’s thoughts wandered, for a moment, back to six years ago, where the sixth edition of the very film festival witnessed the release of City of Life – possibly the first mainstream Emirati film to have ever gained the kind of traction Zinzana has now. And to be honest, the kind of platform the Ali F. Mostafa directed movie paved for filmmakers of the future within the region shows.

This is precisely where debutant Majid Al Ansari comes in. And this is precisely why potential viewers, who undoubtedly have much to expect from this little firecracker of a film, almost nervously await it. It is but a human thing to do though; one is made to wonder if the film stands on an equally great level its trailer promises it to be on. And as the lights dimmed, my excitement – I realized – was topped with a very heavy layer of nervousness.

I realized, much to my surprise, that my expectations, despite having tried to restrain them for as long as I could have, had hit the roof, and there was nothing I could do about it.

What’s it About?

Talal (Saleh Bakri) is trapped in a dingy lockup of a disheveled police station, with no identification or no memory of who he is. He’s told has two days before he’s taken to court to have his hearing. Things, of course, cannot be that simple, for in enters a man (Ali Suliman) who has a hitherto untold score to settle with him, and will do anything to succeed in making only the most special kind of hell for the prisoner – the kind that only gets progressively and suffocatingly personal with each move.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Perpetrator and the Perpetrated

The Perpetrator and the Perpetrated

This may not be an inventive film.

We’ve definitely seen contained thrillers in the past, and we’ve also witnessed themes of one-upmanship within a lot of films in these genres. And let’s be as frank as we can get; the film could have done slightly better than a thin plot and a tried-and-tested payoff.

But that’s the thing about Zinzana; the film rests quite deservedly on its brilliant direction. Majid Al Ansari has an unbeatably competent knowledge of atmosphere, and uses the film’s excellent technical laurels not simply to create irrelevant visual correctness within the frames of the film, but to further the story and to increasingly pull the viewers in on just how claustrophobic the protagonist really feels. Colin Lévêque’s terrific cinematography cleverly uses close-ups and extreme close-ups to accurately make the audience feel just the right amount of discomfort the director intended the film’s viewers to feel. The camera tracks not the protagonist’s movements, but the insides of his reeling mind, with its anchor point being his eyes. We almost feel it; we feel that desperation, and that loss of hope. Tie that in with Shahnaz Dulaimy’s rhythm-heavy edit decisions, and this becomes the kind of technically superior product that is able to correctly push just the kind of buttons of the audience that only need to be pushed.

There’s a certain focus, be they with the visual elements or the usage of sound. Might I go out on a limb and say that Zinzana has some of the most impressive sound design I’ve heard in possibly a little while now. Everything from the use of the soundtrack (Trevor Gureckis) to the mixing of fractured dreams to the ticking of a clock is amped up a slight notch, if only to enhance the urgency factor. The production design of the film is terrific; there’s some intensely realist artifice in the art direction there. Visual effects compositing may look like it’s lacking some finesse, but the issue isn’t a jarringly in-your-face one.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Your neck. My hands. The rest is predictable.

Your neck. My hands. The rest is predictable.

An excellent antagonist needs an excellent performer, and Ali Suliman (Lone Survivor) is no less. Turning his character into a live, ferocious beast of a villain, Suliman surrenders to his fascinating character, and makes his arc an electrifying on-screen experience. The audience is bound to be both mesmerized and unpleasantly surprised at D’baan, and Suliman’s performance deserves much of the credit. It is, after all, an absolutely challenging tightrope; his role, but he makes it feel so effortless, you’d be surprised.

Standing next to Suliman is Yasa, who may not be the movie’s protagonist, but certainly delivers a rather brilliant performance as Aida. A bumbling woman whose curiosity and ambition precede her irritability, her nuances are given Yasa’s life and perfected to a degree of mostly knowing her simply as her character. Ahd (Wadjda), who plays the protagonist’s ex-wife, is commendable. Of the shorter roles, however, the biggest trump card is the performer who begins the film: Abdalla Bu Abed, who plays Sherif Othman. He is on point. Wearing his humor and nonchalance on his sleeve, Bu Abed’s a rather entertaining presence to watch throughout his runtime.

But let’s really talk about Saleh Bakri, who’s the good-guy of the movie. Now, he may not have a presence as arresting as Suliman, but as the fighting-with-inner-demons protagonist, he underplays it rather commendably. There’s a certain studiedness in his performance, but that doesn’t deter the overall impact his role has to the film in anyway whatsoever.

Worth it?

That’s possibly what it always boils down to, doesn’t it?

Sure, it might have a plot that’s a tad derivate. Sure, the payoff might not be as explosive as one thinks. Zinzana, however, is a brilliantly directed film that simply needs to be experienced once, at the very least. Majid Al Ansari seems to have an acutely expansive knowledge of film atmosphere in genre cinema, and cuts straight to the chase, making an honest attempt to deliver a non-stop adrenaline filled thriller that pulls all stops to put viewers to the edge of their seats. And succeed he does.

Watch it for the superiorly written character arcs. Watch it for Al Ansari’s impressive hold over his craft. Watch it because the United Arab Emirates needs the kind of talent. More than anything else, however, watch it ‘cause it’s a bloody good film, and that’s really only what matters.

Zinzana releases on the 10th of December around the United Arab Emirates. Do not, however, miss the red-carpet premiere screening at the 12th Dubai International Film Festival at 6.00PM tomorrow at the Madinat Arena, followed by a repeat screening on Saturday the 12th of December at 10.00PM at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

We’re viral

Like usFollow us
Cast Saleh Bakri
Ali Suliman
Ahd
Director Majid Al Ansari
Consensus: 4 Stars
Impressive!

What to Expect

An ordinary morning in the life of an ordinary movie buff consisted of starting the day with a press screening of possibly one of the most anticipated films I’ve witnessed on the face of the United Arab Emirates.

It was what began my journey through the 12th Dubai International Film Festival.

There are too many memories attached to this festival. This writer’s thoughts wandered, for a moment, back to six years ago, where the sixth edition of the very film festival witnessed the release of City of Life – possibly the first mainstream Emirati film to have ever gained the kind of traction Zinzana has now. And to be honest, the kind of platform the Ali F. Mostafa directed movie paved for filmmakers of the future within the region shows.

This is precisely where debutant Majid Al Ansari comes in. And this is precisely why potential viewers, who undoubtedly have much to expect from this little firecracker of a film, almost nervously await it. It is but a human thing to do though; one is made to wonder if the film stands on an equally great level its trailer promises it to be on. And as the lights dimmed, my excitement – I realized – was topped with a very heavy layer of nervousness.

I realized, much to my surprise, that my expectations, despite having tried to restrain them for as long as I could have, had hit the roof, and there was nothing I could do about it.

What’s it About?

Talal (Saleh Bakri) is trapped in a dingy lockup of a disheveled police station, with no identification or no memory of who he is. He’s told has two days before he’s taken to court to have his hearing. Things, of course, cannot be that simple, for in enters a man (Ali Suliman) who has a hitherto untold score to settle with him, and will do anything to succeed in making only the most special kind of hell for the prisoner – the kind that only gets progressively and suffocatingly personal with each move.

The Perpetrator and the Perpetrated

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This may not be an inventive film.

We’ve definitely seen contained thrillers in the past, and we’ve also witnessed themes of one-upmanship within a lot of films in these genres. And let’s be as frank as we can get; the film could have done slightly better than a thin plot and a tried-and-tested payoff.

But that’s the thing about Zinzana; the film rests quite deservedly on its brilliant direction. Majid Al Ansari has an unbeatably competent knowledge of atmosphere, and uses the film’s excellent technical laurels not simply to create irrelevant visual correctness within the frames of the film, but to further the story and to increasingly pull the viewers in on just how claustrophobic the protagonist really feels. Colin Lévêque’s terrific cinematography cleverly uses close-ups and extreme close-ups to accurately make the audience feel just the right amount of discomfort the director intended the film’s viewers to feel. The camera tracks not the protagonist’s movements, but the insides of his reeling mind, with its anchor point being his eyes. We almost feel it; we feel that desperation, and that loss of hope. Tie that in with Shahnaz Dulaimy’s rhythm-heavy edit decisions, and this becomes the kind of technically superior product that is able to correctly push just the kind of buttons of the audience that only need to be pushed.

There’s a certain focus, be they with the visual elements or the usage of sound. Might I go out on a limb and say that Zinzana has some of the most impressive sound design I’ve heard in possibly a little while now. Everything from the use of the soundtrack (Trevor Gureckis) to the mixing of fractured dreams to the ticking of a clock is amped up a slight notch, if only to enhance the urgency factor. The production design of the film is terrific; there’s some intensely realist artifice in the art direction there. Visual effects compositing may look like it’s lacking some finesse, but the issue isn’t a jarringly in-your-face one.

Your neck. My hands. The rest is predictable.

To Perform or Not to Perform

An excellent antagonist needs an excellent performer, and Ali Suliman (Lone Survivor) is no less. Turning his character into a live, ferocious beast of a villain, Suliman surrenders to his fascinating character, and makes his arc an electrifying on-screen experience. The audience is bound to be both mesmerized and unpleasantly surprised at D’baan, and Suliman’s performance deserves much of the credit. It is, after all, an absolutely challenging tightrope; his role, but he makes it feel so effortless, you’d be surprised.

Standing next to Suliman is Yasa, who may not be the movie’s protagonist, but certainly delivers a rather brilliant performance as Aida. A bumbling woman whose curiosity and ambition precede her irritability, her nuances are given Yasa’s life and perfected to a degree of mostly knowing her simply as her character. Ahd (Wadjda), who plays the protagonist’s ex-wife, is commendable. Of the shorter roles, however, the biggest trump card is the performer who begins the film: Abdalla Bu Abed, who plays Sherif Othman. He is on point. Wearing his humor and nonchalance on his sleeve, Bu Abed’s a rather entertaining presence to watch throughout his runtime.

But let’s really talk about Saleh Bakri, who’s the good-guy of the movie. Now, he may not have a presence as arresting as Suliman, but as the fighting-with-inner-demons protagonist, he underplays it rather commendably. There’s a certain studiedness in his performance, but that doesn’t deter the overall impact his role has to the film in anyway whatsoever.

Worth it?

That’s possibly what it always boils down to, doesn’t it?

Sure, it might have a plot that’s a tad derivate. Sure, the payoff might not be as explosive as one thinks. Zinzana, however, is a brilliantly directed film that simply needs to be experienced once, at the very least. Majid Al Ansari seems to have an acutely expansive knowledge of film atmosphere in genre cinema, and cuts straight to the chase, making an honest attempt to deliver a non-stop adrenaline filled thriller that pulls all stops to put viewers to the edge of their seats. And succeed he does.

Watch it for the superiorly written character arcs. Watch it for Al Ansari’s impressive hold over his craft. Watch it because the United Arab Emirates needs the kind of talent. More than anything else, however, watch it ‘cause it’s a bloody good film, and that’s really only what matters.

Zinzana releases on the 10th of December around the United Arab Emirates. Do not, however, miss the red-carpet premiere screening at the 12th Dubai International Film Festival at 6.00PM tomorrow at the Madinat Arena, followed by a repeat screening on Saturday the 12th of December at 10.00PM at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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