Shakespeare to be 'special guest' of the Cairo International Film Festival

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 Jun 2016

The 38th edition of the festival will take place in November and will include a special focus on cinematographic works inspired by Shakespeare's plays

Cairo International Film Festival logo [L], Sakespeare [R]

With 2016 marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) announced that it's upcoming edition — scheduled to take place 15-24 November — will include screenings of films either inspired by the playwright's dramaturgy or are cinematic adaplations of his plays.

According to the CIFF's management, the selection will include seven films: Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948), Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V (1989), Oliver Parker’s Othello (1995), Peter Brook’s King Lear (1971), Roman Polanski’s Macbeth (1971), Franco Zvirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (1968), and Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing (1993).

They will be topped by Egyptian films inspired by Shakespeare’s work, including Inas El-Degheidy’s Lobster (Estakoza), Fatin Abdel Wahab’s Ah min Hawa, and a variety of adaptations from Russia, Greece and other countries.

Paralleling the Shakespeare cinematic focus, the festival will also publish the book Shakespeare in Films written by film critic Essam Zakaria. 

Shakespeare celebrations peaked in the past two years, marking both the 450th anniversary of the playwright's birth (2014) and the 400th anniversary of his death (2016).

The celebrations extended to Egypt where, throughout recent decades, the 17th century English playwright and poet has remained present on the country's theatre stages. The Bard continues to inspire Egyptian theatre creators while actors work to present his most challenging characters.

In April this year, efforts of the creators and cultural players in Cairo and Alexandria intensified in amid the anniversary celebrations. Cairo saw seminars on Shakespeare, while the Bibliotheca Alexandrina organised "Shakespeare 400: Forever and a Day", a festival that gave an indepth look at the poet through many mediums.

In 2014, the renowned Shakespeare Globe Theatre embarked on a two-year world tour with Hamlet. The performance was also staged in Egypt, at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

The 38th CIFF will have Magda Wassef as it's president, Youssef Cherif Rizkallah as its artistic director, and Mahmoud Hemeda as it's honorary president.

The committee responsible for the film selection was announced in May and comprises a number of prominent Egyptian critics, including Essam Zakaria, Magdi Tayeb, Magda Khairallah, Magda Morris, Hanan Abu Diaa, Khaled Mahmud, Amal El-Gamal, Mohammed Atef, Nihad Ibrahim, Andrew Mohsen, Safa Laithi and Mahmoud El-Ghitani.

The 37th edition of CIFF ran between 11 and 20 November 2015 and featured a total of 120 films.

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