Film Society Festival for Egyptian Cinema to celebrate spirit of resistance, Palestine

Ahram Online , Sunday 26 May 2024

In its 50th edition, the Film Society Festival for Egyptian Cinema (1-12 June) will be held under the slogan "Long Live the Spirit of Resistance... Long Live Palestine."

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Films underscoring resistance in times of war from Palestine and Sudan will be screened out of competition.

These include films from Palestine such as Maha Haj's Mediterranean Fever (2022), Firas Khoury's Alam (Flag, 2023), and those from Sudan, such as Mohamed Kordofani's Goodbye Julia. A discussion with the cast and crew of each film will follow the screening.

Mediterranean Fever premiered at the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival (2022), where it scooped the Best Screenplay award. The film garnered several awards and dozens of nominations at many international festivals. In 2023, the film opened the 4th Toronto Arab Film Festival (TAFF).

Alam won numerous awards, including the Golden Pyramid Award at the 44th Cairo International Film Festival (2022). It also won the Best Actor Award for Mahmoud Bakry and Youssef Cherif Rizkallah's $15,000 Audience Award.

The film takes place in an Arab town inside Israel, where Palestinians have Israeli citizenship but lack some basic rights in comparison with their Jewish counterparts. Alam revolves around a high school teenager called Tamer (Mahmoud Bakri). The introductory scenes portray ordinary teenagers' grimness and reluctance towards life. 

On the other hand, Goodbye Julia has become the first-ever Sudanese film to screen at the Cannes International Film Festival's Un Certain Regard. The film was awarded the Freedom Prize and nominated for the Un Certain Regard Award and The Golden Camera Award. 

Furthermore, the film garnered numerous awards at dozens of international festivals. It was also Sudan's submission to the Oscars nomination committee. 

Goodbye Julia tells the story of Mona, a retired singer from northern Sudan trapped in an unhappy marriage. Mona is wracked with guilt after covering up a murder, and to make amends, she takes in a widow named Julia and her son Daniel, both of whom hail from South Sudan. 

The festival also features Egyptian films screened in cinemas in 2023. These include Ahmad Abdalla's 19 B, Peter Mimi's Ruby House, Waleed El-Halfawy's Face to Face, and Omar Helal's Voy! Voy! Voy!.

These films will compete for several awards, including Best Actor and Actress awards in leading and secondary roles and other awards for best decor, photography, montage, mix, makeup, soundtrack, poster, and visual effects.

Amr Salama's Fireworks will, however, be screened out of competition.

The festival has yet to reveal its detailed programme. 

In its Golden Jubilee edition, the Film Society Festival for Egyptian Cinema announced esteemed Egyptian actor Hussein Fahmy as the event's guest of honour.

One of the oldest cinematic celebrations in Egypt, the Film Society Festival is held annually under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Cultural Development Fund, Cairo Opera House, Cinematic Professions Syndicate, and National Centre of Cinema.

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