Saudi Red Sea Film Festival restores two iconic Egyptian classics

Ahram Online , Thursday 6 Oct 2022

The Red Sea International Film Festival is restoring two iconic films in collaboration with Egyptian cinema bodies: Khaly Balak Men Zouzou ("Watch out for Zouzou", 1972) and Gharam fil Karnak ("Love in Karnak", 1965) prior to their screenings at the upcoming festival.

Red Sea festival


The restoration is being carried out by the Red Sea International Film Festival in collaboration with Arab Radio and Television Network (ART), the Egyptian ministry of culture’s investment holding company for cinema, and the Media Production City in Egypt.

The two films are among the best known Egyptian classics and both were produced during the golden era of Egyptian cinema.

Khaly Balak Men Zouzou is considered a landmark film in Egypt’s cinematic history and one of the most important films starring Soad Hosny (1943-2001).

"The film is considered one of the biggest-selling Arab films of all time; the actors portraying the young lovers have achieved legendary status and have been held up as a model romance," reads the press release issued by the festival.

The film was directed by Hasan El-Emam and many of its songs were written by the famous vernacular poet Salah Jaheen, whom Hosny considered her godfather. It was the longest running film in Egyptian cinemas when it was released, showing for over a year. The film is also known for its memorable songs that are extremely popular all over the Arab world.

Gharam fil Karnak, directed by Ali Reda, is a fictionalized story of the Reda Troupe, Egypt's earliest professional folkloric dance group. 

The film was produced during the heyday of the famed troupe in the 1960s. During that time the troupe performed all over Egypt and abroad, and was met with great acclaim. It was also in the 1960s that the troupe made two well-known films, Agazet Noss El-Sana ("The Mid-Year Vacation") in 1962 and Gharam fil Karnak in 1965.

According to the Red Sea Film Festival, "the film holds legendary status in the history of Arab filmmaking: its restoration and screening serves as both an inspiration to future filmmakers and a testament to the long and established Arab film industry."

The official statement released by the Red Sea Festival quotes Antoine Khalife, Director of Arab Programs and Film Classics, as saying: “We are proud to contribute to the restoration of two great masterpieces of Egyptian cinema, each of which had an unprecedented impact on spectators and on society. Souad Hosny is in the heart of the entire Arab population and the great choreographer and dancer Mahmoud Reda has made Egyptian dance shine throughout the world.”

Both films will be screened during the upcoming festival, scheduled to take place in Jeddah between 1 and 10 December.

This is not the first time that the festival has restored classic films. In 2020, the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation announced that it had restored Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine’s masterpiece Al-Ikhtiyar ("The Choice", 1971). A year later, the festival announced restoration of Egyptian filmmaker Khairy Beshara's most notable films, namely The Collar and the Bracelet (1986); Bitter Day, Sweet Day (1988); Ice Cream in Gleam (1992); Abracadabra America (1993); and Traffic Light (1995).

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