The Panorama of the European Film, organized by Misr International Film, is taking place in Cairo for its third year from 3 to 9 November. Misr International Film, a production company founded by late director Youssef Chahine, gathers a handful of unique European films to screen during the week in two movie theaters in Cairo: Galaxy and Citystars, bringing the latest independent and mainstream films from Europe to the Egyptian viewer.
According to the press release, Egyptian producer and director Marianne Khoury, the mastermind behind the Panorama of the European Film, toured international festivals in 2010 to select the films. On offer this year are a dozen feature and documentary films from Europe, as well as panels and conferences with various European actors and filmmakers.
The event, which is co-funded by the European Union, is taking place under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and the Egyptian Film Center.
The Panorama returned to Egypt last year after four years of absence. In an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm reporter Ali Abdel Mohsen, Khoury pointed out the reasons behind the previous delay. “It’s hard, organizing something like this,” she said. “There are a lot of different things you have to keep in mind, and a lot of different things you have to rely on. And sometimes, the timing just isn’t right.”
For the second year in a row, the Panorama highlighted films coming from Western European countries only. Khoury told Al-Masry Al-Youm last year that, “There were plans [to bring Eastern European movies as well], they just didn’t work out.” After stating her admiration of a certain Romanian film, the producer said that she “can say that future editions of the Panorama will definitely see more participation by eastern European countries.”
Highlights from last year’s collection of films are the British award-wining production “This Is English,” the French film “Un Prophet” and the biopic “Coco avant Chanel.”
The most noticeable movie in this year’s collection is the Mexican drama “Biutiful.” Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and starring Javier Bardem, the movie tells the story of Uxbal (Bardem), an underworld figure and devoted single dad who struggles to reconcile with a past love and secure a future for his children as his own death draws near.
The movie, which played in an invitation-only screening on Wednesday evening, will play again on Friday, 5 November at 3:30PM at Galaxy and on Sunday 7 November at 9:30PM at Citystars.
Another compelling offering, “Zindeeq,” from acclaimed director Michel Khleifi, tells the story of a Palestinian filmmaker living in Europe who returns home to Ramallah to film witness accounts of the 1948 Nakba. “Zindeeq” not only explores the events of that era, but places them in the context of present day Palestine.
The movie is being screened three times, once at Citystars on Friday, 5 November at 6:30PM and again on Saturday, 6 November at 3:30PM, and finally on Sunday, 7 November at 9:30PM at Galaxy.
The French movie “Welcome” was also part of this year’s Alexandria Film Festival, where it was positively received by viewers and critics alike. Directed by Philippe Lioret, the film stars Vincent Lindon and features Firat Ayverdi and Derya Ayverdi in their inaugural roles. The film was released on 11 March 2009 in France.
The director wanted to highlight the plight of illegal immigrants living in Calais, France and their plans to reach the United Kingdom, meeting activists and associations trying to help the refugees.
The movie is screening on Monday, 8 November at 1:00PM at Galaxy and will be played twice at Citystars, on Saturday, 6 November at 6:30PM and on Tuesday, 9 November at 1:00PM.