The Egyptian film Ward Masmoum (Poisonous Roses) is among six films chosen at Venice Film Festival's Final Cut workshop, which supports the post-production of films from Africa and the Middle East.
The Venice Film Festival is currently running after opening 31 August. It closes 10 September.
Poisonous Roses is the debut feature of director Fawzi Saleh and is co-produced in Egypt, Qatar and France.
The script had previously won a grant from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), as well as from the Sanad Fund of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. A grant was also provided from the Doha Film Institute.
Poisonous Roses is set in a tannery neighbourhood in Egypt, following Taheya, a washroom cleaner, and her brother Saqr, a tanner who longs for a different life.
The non-linear film takes place over a day and is adapted from the novel Worood Samma Le Sakr (Poisoned Roses for Sakr) by the Egyptian writer Ahmed Zaghloul El-Sheity.
Set before the 2011 revolution, the film explores the lives of different characters who are dissatisfied and on a constant search for love and a better future in a country beet by corruption, classism, and a police state.
Egyptian actors Mahmoud Hemida, Koky, Ibrahim El-Nagary, Safaa El-Toukhy and Mohamed Brekaa star in the feature.
Saleh previously made the film Geld Hay (Living Skin), which was about children working in Cairo’s tanneries. It won Best Narrative Film by a New Director from the Arab World at the 2010 Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Best First Documentary at the Festival International du Cinéma Méditerranéen de Tétouan.
Other Arab films supported by Final Cut are Raed Antoni's Ghost Hunting (Palestine, France, Switzerland), Soudade Kaadan's Osbcure (Syria, Lebanon) and Nadim Tabet's One of Those Days (Lebanon).
Films selected from Africa are Felicite (Senegal, France, Belgium), and The Wound (South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, France).
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