Omar Hilal, who wrote, co-produced and directed Voy! Voy! Voy!, has said he wanted to make a drama that makes you laugh. However, the laughter part wins out. Amidst the bleak and downbeat entries in the 2024 Academy Awards International category, Voy! Voy! Voy! stands out for its entertainment value.

The action is set in 2013. There is political turmoil in Egypt and the economy is bad. Hassan (Muhammad Farrag) works as a security guard, a job with no future. Like so many Egyptians, his dream is to go to Europe. He tries to lure a 70-year-old British woman into marriage, but she dies. Then he reads about a club of blind football (soccer) players who are two victories away from qualifying for the World Blind Football Championships…in Poland. So Hassan pretends to be blind.

Meanwhile, Captain Adel (Bayoumi Fouad) an underpaid school sports teacher, harassed by his wife for not being able to make a living, has agreed to become the coach of the blind club football team. It is under his kind and supportive direction that they have gotten as far as they have.

When “blind” Hassan shows up, Adel gives him a chance to try out and is impressed by his skill. In fact, Hassan quickly becomes the star of the team.

Before long, a journalist named Engy (Nelly Karim) is drawn by this heartwarming story of blind football players, and particularly by Hassan, the team’s star. Soon, the two become romantically attracted. Hassan’s mother (Hanan Youssef) agrees to play along with her son’s lie when she realizes it could get him to Europe.

In blind football, the goalkeeper is sighted. The team’s goalie becomes suspicious of Hassan. Indeed, there is dramatic tension throughout the film, as the viewer wonders if Hassan can keep his secret and avoid getting caught. Hassan and his friends, who also want to go to Europe, need money and decide to rob a rich businessman on his way home from work. In an uncredited homage to Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run, they have to confront a competing group of thieves.

There are so many twists, most of them amusing, in the second half of Voy! Voy! Voy! that I hesitate to say anything more about the plot.

Hilal worked in advertising for more than twenty years before tackling his first feature film. He directed almost 1,000 commercials. Because of this experience, he was able to gather together an outstanding cast of comedians. Hilal has said he had to stop many of the actors from adding one-liners to the script.

Voy! Voy! Voy! is inspired by a true story that took place in 2015 about which Hilal read on Facebook.

The film’s title literally translates as “Here I Come” in Spanish. It is what blind soccer players call out on the field to avoid collisions.