Filmmaker Marianne Khoury gave a podcast interview on the FRED.fm podcast station this month, speaking about her latest film, Let's Talk. The 10 minute podcast was released on 17 December and is available on the FRED.fm website.
The interview is part of FRED Film Radio's coverage of the 41st Cairo International Film Festival, which takes place from 20-29 November, during which Khoury's film was screened within the official competition and won the audience award.
"This is a very personal documentary where Khoury shares with the audience a lot of the history of her own family through a series of conversations that she filmed, including some with her uncle, the famous Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine. In this chat, Khoury talks about working on this movie and shares with us her habit of filming things from her life," we read in the introduction to the podcast.
Khoury is also asked about the reactions of her family to her intentions of making a documentary where many personal aspects of their lives were shared with a wide audience. "Khoury also talks about the importance of cinema in her life, and we end it with a few words on Zawya, the first Egyptian arthouse cinema, which she founded.”
In the interview, Khoury explains that the films is a conversation between her and her daughter about ordinary things in life: death, life, identity, marriage etc. "While chatting we dig into the family archives, we focus on the feminine line of the family," Khoury explains, adding that the film aimed at presenting her mother but went on to portray five generations of the family.
In her conversation, the filmmaker also tackles her relationship with her uncle Youssef Chahine, one of the best-known Egyptian filmmakers. She explains that his presence in the family at times made her worried, as his weight and cinematic style are very unique, often setting a benchmark for other filmmakers. Although Khoury worked with Chahine for ten years, she never approached his creative vision.
Micucci points to the three dimensions of Egypt's history captured by Let's Talk: family, cultural and cinematic, asking Khoury if it is challenging to keep the three sides balanced. "Of course," Khoury agrees. "I wanted to say where this family comes," she explains revealing the family's Levant and Alexandria's ancestry. "It was very important for me to show the geographical, historical and political [background] of the family, always through little stories."
When tackling the personal aspect that the film reveals, Khoury mentions her father who, although not against the film, questioned "Who would be interested to know all that?" Micucci underlines that her approach -- and the whole journey of the film -- is in fact universal.
The complete podcast interview is available at the FRED.fm website.
FRED Film Radio is the multilingual online radio station providing insight on film festivals and film events from across the world.
Graduate of economics in Cairo and Oxford, Khoury has directed and produced films on controversial issues such as identity, memory, and social exclusion. She worked with Egyptian renowned filmmaker Youssef Chahine, and made her first documentary, The Times of Laura (1999). She then worked on Women Who Loved Cinema (2002) and Shadows which tackles personal and social perceptions of the mentally ill. Shadows premiered at the Opening of Venice Film Festival (2010), and won the FIPRESCI award at Dubai Film Festival (2010) and the Italian television Rai award (2011) at the International Festival of Mediterranean Documentary and Current Affairs Films.
"Khoury also mediates between artists and the industry, and being interested in auteur cinema she produces independent films on topics that depart from what dominates Egyptian cinema. Since its first round in 2004, she has played a crucial role in the Panorama of European Film initiative, which presents cinephiles in Egypt with the best and most interesting in European film every year. She is currently working on the Dahshour Workshops initiative to develop and produce film projects presented by budding Arab and Egyptian talents, and she has both the resources and the will to ensure its success," read Khoury's biography released at the CIFF website.
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