A few dozen cinephiles gathered at Zawya Wednesday evening for the opening reception of the 7th Panorama of the European Film.
The informal gathering was hosted in the alleyway where Odeon Cinema (now Zawya) is located and was followed by a screening of The Human Capital, this year's opening film by Italian director Paolo Virzi.
"This is a very important movie by an important contemporary director," Paolo Sabbadini, who represented the Italian Consulate at the opening, told the audience ahead of the screening.
The Human Capital is a cunning drama about greed, status and a sinking economy. A mysterious murder drives events in Virzi's latest family tragedy, which is divided into four chapters, each driven by a different character.
Prior to the screening, Marianne Khoury, founder of the Panorama, said: "I'm thrilled ... to announce the opening of the 7th Panorama of the European Film. Pride and honour is doubled as we sit here in Zawya," referring to Egypt's less-than-a-year-old art house cinema. The brainchild of Misr International Films, Zawya lends its screen to a number of non-commercial films, attracting a steady following since its opening in March.
"A very dynamic, motivated and young team is behind the Panorama this year," Khoury continued, adding that a total of 44 films from 25 countries will be screened over the coming 11 days — at five screenings per day.
In addition, the Panorama is hosting 12 guests this year, including director Ivan Ikic whose film Barbarians will be screened as part of the Emerging Directors programme.
Following Khoury's opening remarks, Sebastien Trenner from the European Commission, that co-funded this year's Panorama, underlined the European Union's support for culture and cinema as a forum for cultural exchange.
"The programme provides an expanded and diversified access to cinema ... We hope that these movies will provide Egyptian audiences with insight into our world and form a good basis for discussion."
"12,000 pairs of eyes saw 50 films last year," he added, hoping that the numbers increase this year.
The Panorama is running between 19 and 29 November. Screenings will be held at Cinema Zawya and Cinema Galaxy.
Check our recommendations for this year's Panorama and the complete programme
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