Palestinian filmmakers, brothers Tarzan and Arab Nasser received two recognitions during the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival which closed on Thursday.
Screened within the International Competition, their film Gaza Mon Amour recieved a special mention, standing out from 14 other contestants.
The film was also granted the Best Arab Film Award, a prize that is given by a special jury to the best Arab film screened in the International Competition or the New Arab Horizons Competition, as well as the Critics Week. The USD 10,000 award was given to Gaza Mon Amour and We Are From There, a Lebanese/French production directed by Wissam Tanios.
According to the film's brief and as the title indicates, Gaza Mon Amour takes place in Gaza, where sixty-year-old fisherman Issa is secretly in love with Siham, a woman who works at the market with her daughter Leila.
"When he discovers an ancient phallic statue of Apollo in his fishing nets, Issa hides it not knowing what to do with this mysterious and potent treasure. Yet deep inside, he feels that this discovery will change his life forever. Strangely, his confidence starts to grow and eventually he decides to approach Siham," IMDb reveals.
Gaza Mon Amour was screened twice to a fully sold out auditorium at the festival. Following the screening a Q&A took place featuring some of the film’s crew including the producers, Rani Massalha and Marie Legrand.
According to a report published by the CIFF Daily Bulletin, "Legrand said that the making of the film took a long time - almost four years since the very early stages of preparation -especially that it is a joint production with other countries: Germany, France, Portugal, and Palestine. She mentioned that shooting the film took only two years," writes Mazen Fawzy.
Fawzy added that "the directors worked on the art direction themselves in order to get the results they wanted. Legrand revealed that it was the first time for veteran actor Selim Daw to act in a long feature film after participating in several Palestinian short films and series as well as minor roles."
He goes on to underline that "the film can be seen as a homage to the golden age of Egyptian cinema: we see the main character listen to old Egyptian songs when he feels so passionate about love."
Gaza Mon Amour has been nominated many times across several festivals. Apart from the CIFF win, it also won a few recognitions to date, including the NETPAC Award (for the directors) at the Toronto International Film Festival; Best Screenplay; Best Film at the Valladolid International Film Festival and Best Actor for Salim Dau at the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival.
The 42nd edition of the Cairo International FIlm Festival took place between 2 and 10 December, screening over 80 films across its many competitive and non-competitive sections. The festival also included a number of discussions and masterclasses with the renowned figures from the Egyptian and international cinema field.