Four films from Egypt will be screened as part of the Expanded Forum program at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, or Berlinale, set to kick off on 5 February.
Forum Expanded presents "film, video, installation and performative works on varying themes... a critical perspective and an expanded sense of cinematography," according to the festival’s website.
Directed by Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk, Out On The Street (77 mins) is a film about a group of workers from Helwan, one of Egypt’s working class neighborhoods. The film, which is making its world premiere, is set in a rehearsal studio where 10 actors posing as workers reflect on injustices sustained by an unfair system.
Essentially a visual artist, Metwaly was born in Poland and grew up between Warsaw and Cairo. Out On The Street is her first film.
On the sidelines of the festival, Metwaly and Rizk will take part in a discussion that "will address the ability of images and motifs created at specific historical moments to re-write existing narratives," the festival's organisers announced on their website.
In Egypt, they were both part of the team behind the pro-revolution media collective Mosireen, which was born in Tahrir Square in 2011 as a response to what was deemed partial coverage by state media.
Still image from Out On The Street (Courtesy of Seen Films' facebook page)
Islam Safiyyudin Mohamed's short Acapella will also make its world premiere in Berlin this year.
"One true moment of awareness carries the potential to counteract a lifetime of complacency. To conceive a different way to known, run-down models; an automated existence; systems that fail because they are based on a game that is fixed from the get go," said Safiyyudin, about the art film that he shot on 8mm camera.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Shawky Hassan’s 'And On a Different Note' is set to a backdrop of news reports and talk show recordings.
The 24 minute film is “a text-image montage with empty apartments, lonely rooms, of views from windows and street scenes in New York and Cairo,” according to the festival’s website.
A co-production between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, film La Dolce Siria is also among this year's entries. Directed by Syrian filmmaker Ammar El-Beik, La Dolce Siria is a short film that explores how a visit to Syria by an Italian circus company resulted in more blood than laughter.
All films in this category will compete for the Think: Film Award.
A jury of three people will select a film that "creatively uses its own medium to artistically capture and reflect geopolitical contexts, and in doing so, expands the scope of aesthetic experience and stimulates a change of perspective." This year’s jury is made up by Karim Aïnouz, Mohamed Beshir and Ala Younis.
The Berlinale will run until 15 February.