Egypt’s annual Panorama of the European Film returns next week for its tenth year, marking the occasion with a vibrant programme that brings both classics and new films to Egyptian audiences, and an expansion of screenings to reach 10 different governorates.
A total of 55 features and short films from 26 countries are featured in this year’s festival, which runs from 8 to 18 November. They include landmark films that have had significant impacts on world cinema, recent award-winning offerings from European directors, and first features from promising young filmmakers.
The full programme will take place in Cairo in two film theatres and two cultural institutes. However, a selection of films will also be screened in Alexandria, Ismailia and Port Said, and one-off screenings will be held in Assiut, Damietta, Mansoura, Minya, Qena and Zagazig.
10th Panorama opening film King of Belgians (Photo: still from the film)
A special section will screen a selection of European films chosen by Egyptian filmmakers, to emphasize intercultural and artistic dialogue; this year films from France, Greece, and England by three different renowned filmmakers of different generations.
The festival will be opened on 7 November by the award-winning 2016 film King of the Belgians, directed by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth.
The Belgian film has won a number in international awards, including the KNF Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2017, the jury of which described it as “an immensely likable film set in a parallel world."
The film is part of the Long Narrative section of the festival.
Also included in this section are a number of recent, highly acclaimed features, including this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes.
(Still from film Loving Vincent)
Loving Vincent, directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, is the world's first fully oil-painted feature, and explores the mysterious death of Vincent Van Gogh.
The Polish-British film has won four international film festival awards including the best animation film from Shanghai International Film Festival 2017, which praised the film that “spoke to the heart of the artist.”
Manifesto is another award-winning film set to play. Directed by Julian Rosefeldt, the Australian-German film features Cate Blanchett in 13 different roles performing various manifestos, in a series of striking monologues. The film was nominated for the Golden Tulip from Istanbul International Film Festival 2017, and it won the Guerrilla Staff Award at the Biografilm Festival 2017.
The biographic comedy drama Redoubtable by Michel Hazanavicius explores the life of renowned French director Jean Luc Godard during the mid-sixties and how the events of May ’68 transformed him profoundly, from a star cineaste to a Maoist artist entirely outside the system.
The film saw Hazanavicius nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes this year for the best film director, and Redoubtable was also nominated for the Best International Film Award from Munich Film Festival 2017.
(still from film Manifesto)
Panorama will also screen the film that did go on to win the Palme d'Or this year: Swedish satirical drama The Square by Ruben Östlund. Pedro Almodóvar, who was the jury president at Cannes, said that the film, which satirises the Swedish art world, depicts "the dictatorship of being politically correct."
The Other Side of Hope by Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki is also on the screening list. The film explores the refugee crisis via a story about a friendship between a Syrian refugee and a Finnish man. It won both the Silver Berlin Bear for the best director at the Berlin International Film Festival 2017, and the FIPRESCI Film of the Year award from the San Sebastián International Film Festival 2017.
The Emerging Directors section at Panorama is dedicated to first feature films, with the aim of selecting innovative and exciting work by new talents.
Among the 10 films on the screening list this year are Scary Mother by Ana Urushadze, which won the best film award in Locarno International Film Festival 2017, Sarajevo Film Festival 2017, and El Gouna Film Festival 2017.
Adama, a French animated drama film directed by Simon Rouby, is also featured. The film tells the story of a young West African boy who sets off across Europe in search of his older brother during World War I. It was nominated for César Awards in 2016 and the best feature film award from Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2015.
Seven films will feature in the Documentary Rendez Vous section, which will this year include a special selection of short Irish documentaries.
The seven films include American documentary I Am Not Your Negro about writer James Baldwin, which was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature award at the Oscars this year.
The French documentary Plot 35, which was nominated for the Golden Eye award at Cannes this year, will also feature in this section. The film explores director Eric Caravaca’s own family history.
(still from film Plot 35)
The Carte Blanche section was first introduced at the seventh Panorama, with the aim of presenting three Egyptian filmmakers' European film choices.
This year, Breaking The Waves (1996), directed by Lars Von Trier, was chosen by director Kamla Abu Zekry.
Belle de Jour (1967) by Luis Buñuel was selected by director Ali Badrakhan.
The third film, chosen by local director Tamer El Said, is Eternity and a Day (1998) by Greek director Theo Angelopoulos.
The three Egyptian film directors will attend the post-screening discussions of the works they have chosen.
It has also become an annual tradition at the Panorama to feature an artistic, in-depth look at the reality of a European city via a careful selection of a number of films, and this year, London will be the city on display, under the title “Mysterious London.”
In partnership with the British Council, this year’s Urban Lens section focuses on the gloomy streets of the British capital, via a selection of dark movies that feature the city.
The three films are Frenzy (1972) by Alfred Hitchcock; Night and the City (1950) by Jules Dassin; and Sapphire (1959) by Basil Dearden.
The Special Screening section this year pays tribute to three cinema pioneers, the ethnographer Jean Rouch and the the Lumière brothers. A selection of restored films and archival footage will be screened for the occasion.
(Still from film Adama)
A series of masterclasses, workshops, and panel discussions will take place as part of the Panorama parallel programme, which is dedicated to aspiring filmmakers.
The documentary filmmaking masterclass will be presented by Marie Dumora, the director of Belinda (2017), which was nominated for the Glasshütte Original Documentary Award at the Berlin International Film Festival 2017.
The scriptwriting masterclass will be presented by French actor and director Thierry de Peretti.
There will also be two technical workshops.
Pinhole Camera, a workshop for children, will be presented by Hossam Shukralla in collaboration with ADEF (Arab Digital Expression Foundation).
Sound In Film will be presented by Laurent Chassaigne, a sound recordist, sound editor and sound mixer who is known for Beauty (2011) and Captive (2012), and Fred Attal, a sound designer and sound editor who is known for Raining Cats and Frogs (2003) and Alexander (2004) by Oliver Stone; and Ahmed Adnan, a sound mixer and sound recordist whose filmography includes Asmaa (2011) and Excuse my French (2014) by Amr Salama, and Clash (2016) by Mohamed Diab.
(Still from film Belle de Jour)
The Panorama of the European Film is an annual event that was launched by Misr International Films in 2004, and was incorporated under Zawya in 2014.
The Panorama of the European Film takes place under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and the Egyptian Film Center, and is funded by the European Union, the British Council, the Goethe Institute, the French Institute, the Italian Cultural Institute, alongside the embassies of Ireland, Holland, Sweden, and Portugal.
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