The Grand Prize winner of the Critics' Week (Semaine de la Critique), Egyptian film Reesh (Feathers) by Omar El-Zohairy, won third prize on Saturday at the International Federation of Film Critics (FIRPESCI) for first feature in parallel sections at the 74th Cannes Film Festival.
The jury stated that the film was awarded “for its singular mix of comedy and tragedy, grotesque atmosphere and surreal representation of poverty.”
Japanese film Drive My Car by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi won first prize, with second prize going to Belgium’s Playground by Laura Wandel.
The jury combines Ron Fogel (Israel), Carlo Gentile (Italy), Hugo Emmerzael (The Netherlands), Pamela Jahn (Germany / UK), Esteve Soler Miralles (Spain), Hamed Soleimanzadeh (Iran), Barbara Lorey de Lacharriere (France), Rolf Rüdiger Hamacher (Germany) and Valérie Ganne (France).
The debut of El-Zohairy was warmly celebrated on Tuesday during its world premiere in Paris, with the attendance of the Cairo International Film Festival President Mohamed Hefzy, whose production company Film Clinic is the co-producer and MENA distributor of Feathers.
Produced by the French Juliette Lepoutre and Pierre Menahem, the comedy drama brings together many skilled Egyptian crewmembers including Ahmed Amer (screenplay), Kamal Samy (cinematography), and Hisham Saqr (sound).
The 112-minute Arabic-language film’s cast includes Demyana Nassar, Samy Bassouny, Fady Mina Fawzy, Abu Sefen Nabil Wesa, and Mohamed Abd El-Hady.
The first representation for Egypt at Semaine de la Critique, Feathers explores the adventures of a mother who is stuck in a repetitive daily routine after a magician mistakenly turns her strict husband into a chicken, as she tries to survive while going through a rough and absurd transformation.
Cairo’s High Institute of Cinema graduate Omar El-Zohairy worked as an assistant director on feature films with Egypt’s most prominent filmmakers, including Yousri Nasrallah.
Zohairy’s first short film, Breathe Out (Zafir), premiered at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival and won the Muhr Special Jury Prize for Short Films.
His second short film, The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometre 375, was the first Egyptian film to be selected for the Cinéfondation competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The film went on to win several awards around the world.
Feathers will be screen in Egypt in October as part of its participation at the El-Gouna Film Festival's fifth edition, which is scheduled between 14 and 22 October.
For more arts and culture news and updates, follow Ahram Online Arts and Culture on Twitter at @AhramOnlineArts and on Facebook at Ahram Online: Arts & Culture