The world premiere of feature-length Egyptian drama Poisonous Roses received strong applause from the audience after it was screened on 30 January at the 47th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), which is taking place between 24 January and 4 February.
The debut feature film by Ahmed Fawzi Saleh, who was both writer and director, the Poisonous Rose screened in the festival's Bright Future section, which focuses on showcasing young, emerging film talent.
The film is based on a novel by Ahmed Zaghloul Al-Shiety, which chronicles the life of Saqr (Al-Nagary), who tries to flee the tenebrous Egyptian tanners’ district where he lives and works.
Saqr's sister, Tahiya (Koky), tries to stop him at any cost, sabotaging the blossoming love between Saqr and a medical student and obstructs Saqr’s plans to migrate to Italy. Among dried skins and weary mules, a sorcerer (Hemeida) silently watches from his throne and helps Tahiya keep her brother.
Director Saleh told Ahram Online that the filmmakers are proud of the acclaim expressed by the audience and attendees of the festival, asserting that the discussions with the audience kept them busy for almost an hour after the screening.
Most of the questions were regarding the hardships that accompanied shooting, as the film was shot mostly in the real tanners’ district, and the filmmakers had actual workers on set located in the heart of the tanneries.
Some of the audience asked about the juxtaposition of the novel and the film, as well as the techniques of shooting and lighting.
Poisonous Roses – a production of Red Star Company, Al-Batreeq Company and a French company – was granted production funds from several countries.
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