Art Alert: Award-winning Arab shorts to screen at Cairo's Zawya

Ahram Online , Thursday 26 May 2016

The screenings will include four critically-acclaimed and award-winning Arab shorts from Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia and Palestine


Between, 1 and 6 June, four Arab shorts will be screened daily in Cairo's art-house cinema Zawya at 7.30pm.

The films include: Sherif El Bendary's Dry Hot Summers (Egypt), Basil Khalil's Ave Maria (Palestine), Ely Dagher's Waves 98 (Lebanon) and Jamil Najjar's Ghasra (Tunisia).

Dry Hot Summer was written by Nura El-Sheikh and co-produced by Claudia Jubeh (Germany) and Hossam El-Ouan (Egypt). The 30-minute film captures the chance meeting of two lonely Egyptians on a bustling and hot summer day in Cairo. The day's journey disturbs the stifling routines of the two characters, taking them on an expedition of self-discovery. 

Dry Hot Summer had its world premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival's 13th edition, 2016. It won the Robert Bosch Stiftung Film Prize for International Cooperation at a gala held during Berlinale Talents, a six-day creative summit for up-and-coming filmmakers at the Berlin Film Festival.

Dry Hot Summer
(Photo: still from Dry Hot Summer)

The 14-minute Palestinian comedy Ave Maria short tells the story of Palestinian nuns living in the middle of the West Bank and who have their daily routine of silence and prayer disrupted when a family of Israeli settlers breaks down outside their convent at the beginning of the Sabbath. The family needs to get home but can't operate the phone, while the nuns have taken a vow of silence.

The film is a French/German/Palestinian co-production, spoken in Arabic, English, and Hebrew. The film’s cast includes Maria Zareek, Hoda El-Imam and Shady Srour.

Ave Maria
(Photo: still from Ave Maria)

Waves '98 is a 2015 short animated film written and directed by Lebanese filmmaker Ely Dagher. According to synopsis released by Zawya, the film centres on Omar who is disillusioned with his life in the suburbs of segregated Beirut. He makes a discovery that lures him into the depths of the city. Immersed into a world that is so close yet so isolated from his reality, he eventually finds himself struggling to keep his attachments, his sense of home.

The film won the Palme d'Or in 2015.

(Photo: still from Waves '98)

Directed by Jamil Najjar, Tunisian short Ghassra centres on an Arab taxi driver who faces difficulties answering nature’s call. The synopsis continues that when wanting to relieve himself by a tree, he is challenged by the election candidate, the soccer fan, the extremist and the policeman.

The film premiered at the 2016 Dubai International Film Festival and won the golden award at the the 4th Luxor Egyptian and European Film Festival (2016).

(Photo: still from Ghassra)

1-6 June, daily at 7.30pm
Zawya, behind Odeon Cinema, 4 Abdel Hamid Said, off Talaat Harb Street. Downtown Cairo

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