Dalida [2016] ★★★

dalidaI can’t remember a time when my mom didn’t play Dalida records in our house. As far as I knew, Dalida has enjoyed enormous popularity all around the world, largely because of hit songs like “Laissez-Moi Danser”, “Helwa Ya Baladi”, “Salma Ya Salama” and many more. But what I didn’t know is that off stage, she led a miserable life. Writer-director Lisa Azuelos does a fine job in bringing this dramatic story to life, casting Italian model turned actress Sveva Alviti as the star of the show. The result is pretty well irresistible, despite a few bumps along the road. One could easily call this a full-blown biopic, for that’s what it offers us: a look at Dalida’s childhood in Cairo, her rise to fame, her first hit, and most of all her failed relationships with every man in her life. The movie is moving because its emotions are genuine, and its performances so good, especially Alviti, who shines most of all when she’s onstage. It has additional poignancy because we know beforehand that the story doesn’t have a happy ending. If the sound of “Je Suis Malade” and “Gigi L’Amoroso” don’t do anything for you, you may not have an affection for Dalida. But there’s a decent chance that her sad story will win you over.

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