Cairo International Film Festival 2017: S Durga, Newton and Village Rockstars to be screened
The 39th edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) kicked off on Tuesday night at the conference palace of Al Manara in Cairo promising a sizeable number of exciting films.
Two of the more notable attendees at the opening ceremony were popular British actress Elizabeth Hurley and American actress Eva Longoria. The ceremony's host Asser Yassin presented Hurley with an honourary award.
The Kate Winslet-Idris Elba starrer The Mountain Between Us was the opening film of the night. The film is directed by Dutch/Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad, whose 2005 film Paradise Now was nominated for the Oscars.
The festival will screen 175 films from across 53 countries. In addition to this, there will also be several special screenings and seminars. 21 of those films represent France along with 17 from Italy, 14 from Egypt and 10 from the festival's guest of honour, Australia.
The 15 films in contention for the main competition and the prestigious Golden Pyramid prize are: Fortunata by Italian director Sergio Castellito, Une saison en France by Chadian filmmaker Mahamat Saleh Haroun, Insyriated by Belgium's Philippe Van Leeuw, Redu by Indian filmmaker Sagar Vanjari, Los Perros by Chilean Marcela Said, Pomegranate Orchard by Azerbaijani Ilgar Najaf, Tunis By Night by Tunisian Elyes Baccar, Nina by Slovak Juraj Lehotsky and The Seeds of Violence by Korean Lim Tae-Gue.
The festival will witness the participation of eight Indian films.
The Indian films
The popularity of Bollywood films continues to soar in Egypt gaining more and more audiences. However, the only Indian film in contention for the Golden Pyramid prize is Marathi film, Redu. Set in the mid '70s, debutant director Sagar Vanjari's film tells the story of an ill-tempered man from a remote village in Maharashatra whose life changes on discovering a transistor radio.
Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's controversial Malayalam film S Durga will be screened at the festival. A story about the patriarchal society of Kerala, the film stars Rajshri Deshpande as Durga, apart from a supporting cast of Kannan Nayar, Vedh, Sujeesh KS and Arun Sol. It won the prestigious The Hivos Tiger Award at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam.
Another festival favourite that will be screened in Cairo is Amit V Masurkar's Newton. The film recently secured two wins at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Brisbane with Rajkummar Rao winning the best actor and Mayank Tewari and Masurkar claiming the best screenplay honour. The film is also India's official entry for the foreign language film category at the Academy Awards 2018. Produced by Drishyam Films, the movie revolves around a young government clerk who is sent on election duty to a Maoist-controlled town and how the ideological struggle puts him in an awkward situation.
The other Indian films include Village Rockstars by Assamese director Rima Das, The Idiot by Ruchi Joshi and Sriram Ganapathy, Machines by Rahul Jain, Agam by Sumit Mishra and Cry Humanity by Amshan Kumar.
Hussein Fahmy, veteran Egyptian actor and former head of CIFF, will be the jury committee head of the International Official Competition for feature and documentary films. The jury also includes Abu-Assad, Chinese filmmaker Jack Lee, Syrian actress Kinda Alloush, French star Fabienne Babe, Czech screenwriter and MAMI creative director Smriti Kiran.
As Australia is the guest of honour at this year's edition, a host of acclaimed Australian films — from George Miller's Mad Max and Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge to Garth Davis's Lion and Jeffrey Walker's Ali's Wedding — will be screened.
The festival will also honour cinematic luminaries who passed away in the 12 months or so: Egyptian critic Samir Farid, Egyptian director Mohamed Kamel El-Kaloiuby, French actress Jeanne Moreau, and French director Jean Chamoun.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Nov 25, 2017 15:58 PM