Photo: Stills from movies: Cairo Station (left) and Excuse My French (right)
Youssef Chahine's Bab Al-Hadid (“Cairo Station”) and Amr Salama's La Moakhza (“Excuse my French”) are two Egyptian entries participating in the ongoing Arab Film Festival taking place in Los Angeles' Bay Area between 10 and 22 October.
Released in 1958, Bab Al-Hadid (Cairo Station) is considered one of Chahine's most famous films. The film stars Chahine as a disabled homeless man selling newspapers at a train station who is trapped in a love triangle with soda vendor Hanouma (Hind Rustom) and staion-worker activist Abu Sri’ (Farid Shawky).
Cairo Station was Egypt's official submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. It was also nominated for the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear award in 1958.
The film will be screened in Roxi Theatre in Los Angeles on 13 October.
Excuse My French (La Moakhza) is Salama's third feature, a movie that stirred considerable controversy during its release in 2013. The film was rejected by censors more than three times before it was finally released at the beginning of this year.
It tells the story of a Coptic Christian child who, fearing discrimination from his classmates after transferring to a public school, pretends to be a Muslim. The film was initially deemed too sensitive by the censorship board and Salama was forced to adjust the script while trying to preserve the film's core concept of religious discrimination. Even after the changes, though, the censors refused the film again in 2010, claiming that it would fuel sectarian strife and that it did not reflect behaviours that exist in Egyptian society.
The film will be screened at Shattuck Cinema on 16 October.
Held annually in Los Angeles, USA, the Arab Film Festival is in its 18th year. The festival aims to bring movies from the Arab world and those that tackle region-specific issues to its audiences.
This year a selection of feature movies includes entries from Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Qatar as well as films from Canada and USA tackling the Arab region’s themes.
The festival opened on 10 October and will run until 22 October.