Mideast premiere of Scorsese’s ‘Irishman’ to open Cairo Film Fest
CASABLANCA, Morocco, Oct 24,
(Agencies): The screening of the Kuwaiti film “In Paradox” by Hamad
Al-Sarraf at the Casablanca Arab Film Festival has attracted a large audience
and positive feedback from critics.
The film, screened Wednesday, as
a part of the festival’s feature film competition along with 11 other films
from several Arab countries.
Speaking to KUNA after the
screening, the movie director Hamad Al-Sarraf was grateful to the Moroccan
audience who positively received the film. “I have discovered that the Moroccan
audience have a wide knowledge of Kuwaiti cinema,” he said. Al-Sarraf expressed
pleasure to represent Kuwait in the official competition of the festival.
The film story is about a man who
seeks to uncover a mystery and stop the unknown memories that are controlling
him, only to learn the difference between reality and illusions.
The film has humanitarian,
historical and philosophical dimensions, he pointed out.
The Middle East premiere of Martin
Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will open the Cairo Film Festival, which
has assembled a rich lineup of international and Arabic titles for its 41st
edition. “The Irishman” will screen in the Egyptian capital Nov 20 prior to
being dropped globally by Netflix onto its service Nov 27.
Scorsese’s mob epic is among 150
films from 63 countries set to screen during the 10-day fest, which this year
has also secured several world premieres, such as Palestinian director Najwa Nadir’s
divorce amid diaspora drama “Between Heaven and Earth”; the latest feature from
Romanian auteur Anrdrei Gruzsniczk (“The Escape”), titled “Zavera”;
and Colombian helmer David David’s “The Border”, about a pregnant
indigenous woman living on the Colombian-Venezuelan border who is forced to
fend for herself when her husband and her brother are killed.
The competition also comprises
the international bows of “The Fourth Wall” by Chinese directorial duo Zhang Chong
Bo, following its world premiere in Shanghai, and Brazilian helmer Ibere
“The Friendly Man”, which stars onetime Brazilian punk rock star Paulo Miklos
as a rock star mired in controversy.
Arabic films world-premiering in
Cairo include Lebanese director Elie Kamal’s first feature,
“Beirut Terminus”, which explores notions of borders and identity in his country;
Moroccan veteran Hassan Benjelloun’s comedy “For the Cause”, about a
music band contending with border issues; “The Women in Block J”, by Morocco’s Mohamed
Nadif, set in a psychiatric hospital in Casablanca; and Tunisian
Tlili’s documentary, “On the Crossbar”, which is set in June 1978,
when Tunisia became the first African country to win a place in the final phase
of the soccer World Cup. Cairo festival artistic director Ahmed Shawky
said in a statement that he made a big push this year to go beyond just
securing the cream of the festival crop and instead sought out “as many quality
premieres as possible.”
This year’s Cairo festival is the
second edition headed by Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy, whose Film Clinic
shingle is currently in production on Netflix Arabic original series
“Paranormal”. Hefzy has been busy revamping the oldest fest in the Arab and
African worlds since being appointed festival president last year.
A key aspect of Hefzy’s Cairo
reboot has been to relaunch its industry component, Cairo Industry Days, which
will run Nov 21-26 and showcase 16 feature film projects in development or
post-production from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and
Tunisia. The industry component helps fill a gap left by the now-defunct Dubai
fest and market.
Earlier this month, the Cairo
fest become the first film event in the Arab world to sign the 5050×2020 gender
The Cairo Film Connection jury
members this year include Egyptian screenwriter Mariam Naoum; Ida Martins,
who is founder and chief of German sales company Media Luna New Films; and
former Jordanian film commission chief George David, who is now a
producer and consultant.