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Egypt's culture picks of the week 18-25 May: VIDEOS

The Spring Festival sees its final week, bringing sounds of Africa and the region to Cairo audiences. The week also includes film screenings, exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances, opera and more

Ahram Online, Saturday 17 May 2014
Weekly events
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Sunday 18 May

Screening of La Cérémonie at the French Institute in Mounira, 7pm

La Cérémonie is a 1995 movie directed by Claude Chabrol, adapted from the novel titled A Judgement Stone by Ruth Rendell. The movie portrays Sophie Bonhomme, an introverted woman hired to work as a maid at the house of a wealthy Lelièvre family. We discover that a long history of psychological problems of Sophie turn her against the employers. The film’s duration is 112 minutes, in French with English subtitles.

1 Madrasset El-Huquq El-Frenseya, off of Kasr El-Eini Street, Mounira, Cairo

Nawal at El-Genaina Theatre, 8pm

Singer and songwriter Nawal, who comes from the Comoros, was born into a family of many musicians, and surrounded by both popular and spiritual music from a young age. Now living in France, she is known “the voice of the Comoros.” Her music draws on traditional Comorian influences and incorporates sounds from African and Arabic culture. Nawal has self-produced both her albums, and has toured in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and central Asia. The event is part of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy’s Spring Festival. See the Spring Festival’s complete programme here, or listen to Nawal below.

El-Genaina Theatre, Al-Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa, Cairo

Also on this day:
- Screening of Ladder to Damascus at Odeon Cinema at 1pm and 6:30pm
- Screening of Coming Forth by Day at Odeon Cinema at 3:30pm and 9:30pm


Monday 19 May

Ladder to Damascus at Odeon Cinema, 1pm and 6:30pm

Ladder to Damascus, 2013, is the last film in a trilogy by Syrian filmmaker Mohamed Malas. The movie is the only one that is not autobiographical in the series, yet it still reflects characteristic elements of the auteur, namely his love for cinema. The protagonist, Fouad, is a struggling director who lives with a group of young people from all over Syria in a small establishment housing artists and creative individuals as the revolution rages on the streets. Screening is part of weekly activities held by Zawya, the latest venture by Misr International films, with downtown's Odeon Cinema serving as its home. Read Ahram’s interview with Mohamed Malas here. Screenings of Ladder to Damascus will continue until Tuesday 20 May.

4 Abdel-Hamid Said Street, off Talaat Harb Street, Downtown Cairo

Crop at Wekalet Behna, 1pm and 6.30pm

Directed by filmmaker Marouan Omara and German video artist Johanna Domke, the documentary Crop follows an Al-Ahram photojournalist in the days after the 25 January Revolution. Filmed entirely within Al-Ahram's offices, Crop, as the name suggests, is about images, both the ones we see and don't see in the newspaper. Those that we do see are gateways to a discussion about censorship, as Al-Ahram's editors and photojournalists substitute one photo or another. Those we don't see, at least not in traditional media, come from citizen journalists, whose on-the-ground reporting, especially during the 2011 uprising, also played a part in the formulation of public opinion. Along the way the film shows how all Egyptian presidents from the time of Gamal Abdel Nasser have used the media to shape public perceptions of them.

1 El-Kenisa El-Marounia Street, Mansheya Sqaure, Alexandria

Omar Khairat at the Cairo Opera House, 8pm

Omar Khairat is a renowned Egyptian composer, pianist, whose original compositions -- which bridge contemporary Arab music and western music -- have earned him a large following in Egypt and the region. Khairat performs his music around the region with his Omar Khairat's Group. He has composed music for several movies, recorded a number of CDs and won several local and international prizes. The concert will be repeated on 20 May.

Main Hall, Cairo Opera House, Zamalek, Cairo

Also on this day:
- Screening of Coming Forth by Day at Odeon Cinema at 3:30pm and 9:30pm


Tuesday 20 May

Coming Forth by Day at Odeon Cinema, 3:30pm and 9:30pm

Hala Lotfy's Al-Khoroug Lel Nahar (“Coming Forth by Day”) tells the story of Soad, a single woman in her mid-thirties who lives with a mother who works as a nurse and a father who has lost most of his brain function after suffering a stroke. She cannot work because she has to stay home and care for her ailing father. The film showcases the intricacies of the relationships between family members through slow, redundant, mundane daily life, such as feeding and cleaning the father, until a surprise visit from a stranger changes things. Read Ahram’s review of the movie here. Screening is part of weekly activities held by Zawya, the latest venture by Misr International films, with downtown's Odeon Cinema serving as its home.

4 Abdel-Hamid Said Street, off Talaat Harb Street, Downtown Cairo

Opening of Love Affair exhibition at Art Talks, 6pm

Alexandria-based visual artist Guirguis Lotfy (b. 1955) will open his solo exhibition Love Affair. According to the notes about the exhibition, “Lotfy's stunning canvases proudly immortalise our collective cultural identity and draw from our most important common denominator -- our popular rituals. Showcasing works from the early 1990s until today, Love Affair is a mini-voyage into Lotfy's unparalleled knowledge of these rituals, many of which are still practiced in contemporary Egypt; others long forgotten.”

8 El-Kamel Mohamed Street. Zamalek

Monsters at Falaki Theatre, 8pm

Monsters is a play performed by El-Hamra Theatre from Tunisia. “These monsters do not live in caves, do not appear at night, do not eat children, do not destroy houses, and do not spit fire - these monsters are humans, with feet, hands, and unexpected faces that change shape, colour and expression. Monsters is a story that unfolds in the present, and begins but does not end, with the last act of the story invented step by step,” read the programme notes.  The event is part of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy’s Spring Festival. See the Spring Festival’s complete programme here.

24 El-Falaki Street, Bab El-Louk, Downtown Cairo

Also on this day:
- Screening of Ladder to Damascus at Odeon Cinema at 1pm and 6:30pm
- Omar Khairat at the Cairo Opera House at 8pm


Wednesday 21 May

Performances to celebrate the launch of Censors of Creativity at Rawabet theatre, 7.30pm

In the launch of a research study on artistic censorship in Egyptian law, performances that address censorship or have had a history with censorship will take place. Ramy Essam, dubbed “the revolution’s singer” due to his politically charged music which he started performing during the 18 days of the Egyptian revolution, will be performing music from his album. Like Jelly, a group fusing music, storytelling and satire to address political issues and social taboos, participate along with Egyptian version of The Vagina Monologues, the BuSSy project.

3 Hussein El-Meamary Street, next to Townhouse Gallery, Downtown Cairo

1971, Sun Ra in Egypt, an exhibition by Tom Bogaert at Medrar for Contemporary Art

This month, Medrar for Contemporary Art presents a multi-part show by Tom Bogaert, entitled 1971, Sun Ra in Egypt. The ongoing research project exhibited takes root from the life and career of American jazz pioneer, poet and philosopher Sun Ra (1914-1992), who paid a visit to Egypt in 1971. Bogaert's show will feature a series of performances, lectures, installations, videos, art objects, and a related publication.

The exhibition runs until 13 June.

7 Gamal El-Din Abul Mahasen Street, Garden City, Cairo

 

Thursday 22 May

Concert in memory of Georges Moustaki at the French Institute in Mounira, 7pm

Georges Moustaki, an Egyptian-French singer-songwriter who passed away on 23 May last year, will be commemorated by a concert given by Michel Ezzat and Egybadour band.

1 Madrasset El-Huquq El-Frenseya, off Kasr El-Eini Street, Mounira, Cairo

Zaki Ibrahim at El-Genaina Theatre, 8pm

Zaki Ibrahim from South Africa will perform his compositions which fuse a multitude of genres and cultural influences. Born in British Columbia to a South African father and a British mother, Ibrahim spent her childhood as a “citizen of the world,” living at different times in Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France and Lebanon. Her most recent release, Every Opposite, was shortlisted for the Polaris Music prize in 2013. The event is part of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy’s Spring Festival. See the Spring Festival’s complete programme here.

El-Genaina Theatre, Al-Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa, Cairo

 

Friday 23 May

Egyptian Sinfonietta to perform at Cairo Opera, 8pm

Conducted by its founder and artistic director, the Egyptian Sinfonietta will perform Violin and Piano concerto by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Suite no 3. for Strings by Respighi, Concerto for Strings by Nino Rota. The evening will also include Passacaglia for Strings composed by El-Saedi. The soloists of the evening will be Ramy Khalifa on piano and Mohamed Sharara on violin. Founded in 2012, the Egyptian Sinfonietta is one of the off-springs of the Philharmonic Society, an NGO founded and headed by El-Saedi. With a decade long history, the society's activities -- concerts, cultural exchanges and educational activities -- aim at contributing to the musical life of Egypt outside governmental institutions.

Main Hall, Cairo Opera House, Zamalek, Cairo

White, Black, and Colors exhibition by Omar Fayoumi at Falak

One of Cairo's newest cultural spaces, Falak, hosts an Egyptian by contemporary Egyptian artist Omar Fayoumi this month. The show includes 25 works by the artist.  

Fayoumi graduated from the faculty of fine arts in Cairo in 1981. He went on to study murals at the academy of fine art in St. Petersburg, Russia. The exhibition runs until 15 June.

7 Gamal El-Din Abul Mahasen Street, Garden City, Cairo

Red Zone Festival visual arts programme at Hotel Viennoise

The Norwegian Red Zone Festival, hosted within the ongoing Spring Festival, hosts an exhibition by two visual artists in Hotel Viennoise -- Fictional Museum by Said Balbaaki (Lebanon) and Photos from the Square by Heba Khalifa (Egypt). Balbaki presents installations which challenge the credibility of museums as proper sites for artefacts and which comment on the shattered unity of Lebanon after the civil war.

"Often devoid of people, his works portray piles of items such as suitcases, shoes, clothing and other belongings, symbolising lost, unrecorded and forgotten stories of history," we read in the notes to the exhibition. On the other hand Khalifa, a photojournalist for Al-Shorouk newspaper, presents a collection of her paintings and collages. The artist displays works which present the Battle of Qasr El-Nil Bridge, a famed scene from the first days of the January 2011 revolution. She also visits old Egyptian sites creating a vibrant comparison between the revolution and ancient history. Read more on Balbaaki’s exhibition here

11 Mahmoud Bassiouny Street, Downtown, Cairo

Al Buraq
Al-Buraq of the Fictional Museum exhibition by Said Baalbaki (Photo: Rowan El Shimi)


Saturday 24 May

Afreekanam dance at El-Genaina Theatre, 8pm

Soul Body Ground, a coalition of dancers from Senegal will perform Afreekanam bringing together traditional African dance, hip hop, martial arts, contemporary dance, and ballet. The event is part of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy’s Spring Festival. See the Spring Festival’s complete programme here.

El-Genaina Theatre, Al-Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa, Cairo

UAR exhibition by Ala Younis at Gypsum Gallery

Amman-based visual artist Ala Younis comes to Cairo with this new solo show at Gypsum Gallery, UAR. The show features Younis' research-based project, rooted in a photograph of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser looking over a crowd at the signing of the sovereign union agreement between Egypt and Syria in 1958. The artist looks at the discourses and narratives that propelled Nasser into such an historical figure. The project is the last in trilogy of work on Arab nationalism.

"It is an exploration of individuals’ complicated relationship to Gamal Abdel Nasser as the hero and the anti-hero, to his promises and his failures. The trilogy delves into Egyptian modernism and the appropriation of symbols from a glorious past and the rhetoric of science, progress and industrialisation," according to the curatorial statement. The exhibition runs until 10 June.

5a Bahgat Ali Street, Zamalek, Cairo


Sunday 25 May

Grammy-award-winning cellist at the Cairo Opera House, 8pm

Eugene Friesen, an American cellist who has won a number of Grammy awards, will perform his original compositions along a selection of classical music, at the Opera’s Open Air Theatre. Prior to the concert, Friesen will hold a number of workshops with local musicians. The concert will also feature Egyptian musicians such as Nesma Mahgoub, Mohamed Aly Farag and Mostafa Rashad.

Open Air Theatre, Cairo Opera House, Zamalek, Cairo

Aziz Sahmaoui at El-Genaina Theatre, 8pm

Aziz Sahmaoui is a musician, singer and founding member of the Orchestre National de Barbes, from Morocco. Dedicated to promoting traditional music from Morocco, from chaabi music and gnawa, intertwining them with jazz and rock influences. The event is part of Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy’s Spring Festival. See the Spring Festival’s complete programme here. Watch Aziz Sahmaoui perform in Paris in 2011 below.

El-Genaina Theatre, Al-Azhar Park, Salah Salem Road, Darassa, Cairo

Final days of exhibition by Mohamed Taha at the Gezira Art Centre

New works by Egyptian sculptor and painter Mohamed Taha Hussein are featured in a solo show dubbed iPhones in Blogs, running until 28 May. Taha Hussein (b. 1929) has been creating art for approximately six decades. After graduating from the Royal College for Applied Arts in 1951, he pursued further studies in Germany, ultimately acquiring a PhD in philosophy from the University of Cologne. Throughout his career, he has explored sketching, calligraphy and abstract art, among other styles. He meanders from one art form to the other, passing through painting, photography, engraving, ceramics, sculpture, printing, and weaving.

Ahmed Sabry Hall, Gezira Art Centre, 1 Al-Sheikh Al-Marsafy Street, Zamalek

 

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