Film festival features the work of Egyptian Mohamed Khan
Twelve films by one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers in Egypt can be watched starting next Wednesday at Banco do Brasil Cultural Center in São Paulo. Khan reveals the less known aspects of Egyptian society.
São Paulo – A film festival starting next Wednesday (29) will reveal a bit of the Egyptian contemporary cinema to Brazilian through the movies of one of its greatest filmmakers, Mohamed Khan. The director, who passed away last year, is one of the most award-winning directors in the country and considered to be one of the founders of the local neorealist cinema. Twelve of his films will be screened at Banco do Brasil Cultural Center (CCBB) in the city of São Paulo at the “1st Contemporary Egyptian Cinema Film Festival – Special Edition Mohamed Khan.” The screenings run until April 10.
Khan was an advocate of women’s causes and was known for his controversial movies, which tackled social issues and showed a less-known side of Egyptian society. Amro Saad, owner of Oriente-se, the production company organizing the festival, says that Khan authors a romantic realist cinema. Even when tackling harsh realities, he always offers a way out to his characters. “There’s always a fighting chance in the end, a path always presents itself,” says Saad.
One of Khan’s productions to be shown in São Paulo is “Factory Girl”, which tells the story of Hayam, a young factory worker living in a low middle-class neighborhood who falls in love with her supervisor. They have their social differences but the interest is mutual. A pregnancy, however, turns her into a sinner in the eyes of society, even to her family.
Other movies included in the festival are “Klephty” (Thief), which narrates the daily life of a con man that get involved with a teenager, and “An Appointment for Dinner”, about an unappreciated housewife that asks for a divorce and falls in love with a fashion designer. The lover is murdered by the husband and the housewife seeks revenge.
The movie “Ayyam El-Sadat” (Days of Sadat), also included in the festival, is a biography that reveals the intimate details of the life of former Egyptian president Anwar Al Sadat, murdered in 1981. Also to be screened are “Dreams of Hind and Camilia”, about two low middle-class women trying to live their dreams in 1980s Egypt, and “Gone and Never Came Back”, about a young man living in Cairo’s suburbs that moves to rural Egypt, among others.
The son of a Pakistani father and an Egyptian-Italian mother, Khan started his cinema career in the 1980s. Saad, who is also the festival’s producer, says that the filmmaker was an advocate of minorities and helped to build a conscience on Egypt, the world, life. When the filmmaker died, in July 2016, Saad decided to do something on Khan as a tribute to his work. That’s when the idea for a film festival came up.
This is possibly one of many film festivals on Arab countries that in the plans by Oriente-se from now on. Saad wants to present the diversity and specific features of the movie scenes of each country. “The Arab cinema isn’t only one cinema, it has many specific features,” he says. And within each country there’s also many
approachs. “The Egyptian cinema has periods, lines, theories, different directors,” illustrates Saad.
The production company Oriente-se also aims to present the Arab culture in general beyond the stereotypes, such as belly dance, and to show other ways of popular representation in the countries of the region. “The Arab culture has to be explained, the Arab Gulf is tied by language and culture, but there are many specific features in each country,” he says, adding that the goal is to clarify these concepts.
Oriente-se is based in Brasília, where it has an office, and focus on cultural production, plus corporate and social events. In its office it promotes activities such as exhibitions and movie screenings. The film festival in São Paulo is sponsored by CCBB and has the support of the ministries of Culture of Brazil and Egypt.
1st Contemporary Egyptian Cinema Film Festival – Special Edition Mohamed Khan
From March 29 to April 10, 2017
At Banco do Brasil Cultural Center (CCBB)
Rua Álvares Penteado, 112 – Centro – São Paulo
Information: +55 (11) 3113-3651
Tickets: BRL 10 (USD 3.24) - full / BRL 5 (USD 1.62) - half
*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani