Egyptian filmmakers to screen at Beirut Film Fest

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Oct 2014

Six Egyptian filmmakers are competing in the 14th edition of the festival, which runs between 1 and 9 October

How Do You See Me
Still image from How Do You See Me official trailer.

The 14th Beirut International Film Festival (BIFF) kicked off on Wednesday and will feature works by six Egyptian filmmakers across two of its chief categories.

The festival, which runs until 9 October, will screen a total of 78 films in nine categories; three of them are reserved for films from the Middle East.

Competing in the ME Documentaries Section are All Around Alexandria by Faten El-Bendarie and Portrait: Hassan El-Shark by Mohamed Essam.

El-Bendarie follows Asser, a young man who, upon return from his travels, is devastated by the site of demolished buildings across Alexandria. Asser takes long walks through the city to photograph historic corners of the city in the hope of keeping alive the memory of the place he grew up in.

Meanwhile, Essam's Portrait chronicles the life of Egyptian painter Hassan El-Shark, a self-taught artist from Minya whose work has been exhibited widely across Europe. El-Shark went on to establish an art school in his hometown and till this day is known to attend his exhibitions in a galabiya, his village attire.   

In the ME Shorts category, the sole Egyptian entry is Soad Shawky's Kayf Tarani (How Do You See Me), starring Ramez Amir and rising actress Amina Khalil. The film is centered on a series of encounters between two neighbours, Layla and Yassin, who hail from opposite backgrounds, a reality that unearths contradictions in Yassin's personality.  

Shawky scooped the Best Short Film prize at the Alexandria International Film Festival in 2013.

In the Public Square category, a branch of the Rejection Front Category, three out of the nine films competing are by Egyptian filmmakers, namely: Baheya by Mavie Maher (12 mins), Masreya by Shady El-Hakim (10 mins) and Virtual by Nada Riyadh (11 mins). 

The jury of BIFF is headed by French actress and producer Julie Gayet, famed for Select Hotel (1996), La Turbulence des Fluides (2002) and Quai D'Orsay (2013). During the opening ceremony, Gayet criticised the war taking place in Syria, pointing to the millions of refugees who were forced to relocate to neighbouring Lebanon.

The festival opened with Sils Maria, directed by Olivier Assayas and starring Juliette Binoche, who is also in Beirut for the festival.

The closing film is Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, starring late American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman alongside Rachel McAdams.

The full programme can be viewed through the festival's official website here.


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