A film festival entitled ‘Moscars’, organised by two medical students, Mariam Selim and Karim Aly who are passionate about the arts, opened on Sunday 10 April at the Rawabet theatre - Townhouse Gallery.
The festival, originally scheduled for 28 January, was obviously postponed and changed its title to ‘Moscars Al Hurria’.
The festival presents short films by amateur filmmakers, as well as feature-long films from the Arab region. A competition is held for the short films, with the audience as the critics.
“We have accepted any film submitted to the festival,” said Selim in their opening speech.
Five short films were screened yesterday, 10 April. The first entitled Hold On takes place in a dark room, where a boy is looking at a photograph album and reminiscing about the past. It seems that he is on the brink of desperation, and one can sense that the reason behind it is a one-sided love story. At the end we realise he’s blind as he falls to the floor and dies.
During the discussion with filmmaker Ahmed Salah that followed, he said that ten minutes of the film were cut during editing, and those minutes would have explained a lot. This was rather confusing as why would anyone screen an unfinished film?
Then a 14-minute film entitled Delivery, which mixed every cinematic clichés into one pot, was screened. The film was the result of a workshop, ‘One Shot’. It revolves around a depressed man who orders food, invites the delivery man inside, and they proceed to open to each other about their frustrations. The dialogue was weak and hurried, and didn’t even lead to them breaking the ice.
The filmmaker Fady Gamal explained in the discussion that he didn’t write a dialogue and instead worked on improvisation with the actors. When he was told by audience members that the film needed a written script, Gamal defended his approach, citing it as a well-known method. What he fails to grasp is that those who succeed in this are usually very experienced filmmakers.
El Youm Film Mesh Naeem, a 22-minute Lebanese film, followed two adolescents on their drug-induced trip. This had some funny moments, but the film dragged on with some long, boring shots.
Karim Aly’s Dora Mashwy (Roasted Corn),was an interesting film, capturing moments from a corn-seller’s life with all its ups and downs. Sometimes he sings while selling the corn and at other times loses customers. It’s simple story made it powerful, yet on occasion the shots were very dull.
Kalam Banat (Girl’s Talk) by May Zayed was the highlight of the day. The four-minute film, a result of the workshop at the Jesuit’s film school, was well-shot and incorporated the soundtrack very smoothly. It portrayed the characters in a comprehensive manner, with costumes, attitude and facial expressions.
It revolves around two schoolgirls, who start writing on the door of a bathroom. These very different girls would never be friends in real life, but begin communicating together on the bathroom door.
After the screening of these short films, Youssef Chahine’s Al Ard was screened.
The festival starts daily at 4 pm and will continue until 13 April.