News / Arts & Entertainment

Egyptian Films Dominate US Film Festival

11 movies from Arab world spotlighted

The first film about Egypt's revolution is one of eleven movies from the Arab world captivating audiences at the Arabian Sights festival.

Now in its 16th year, the event is presented annually by the Washington DC International Film Festival.

This year's spotlight is on Egyptian cinema. The five featured films from Egypt cut across a variety of genres and subjects, including the American premiere of “18 Days,” about the January revolution.   

'18 Days'


The movie is a compilation of 10 short films by 10 different Egyptian directors.  

Each short offers a unique perspective on the historic events that unfolded during the 18 days that changed the course of Egypt’s history.

"18 Days," a film about Egypt's revolution, features the collective work of 10 directors.
"18 Days," a film about Egypt's revolution, features the collective work of 10 directors.

Shirin Ghareeb, the festival’s director and programmer, says the 10 stories are all different from one another, reflecting the director’s unique view of the Egyptian revolution.

“It’s a mixture of narrative and fact and at the same time reflecting what was going on in the streets on those very days.”

'Microphone'

Another highlight at the festival was “Microphone,” an award-winning docudrama offering a close look at the underground art and music scene in Alexandria, Egypt, just before the revolution.

Rock, hip hop and fusion are among the music genres portrayed in the film.

For the first time, Ghareeb says, young artists had a voice. “This is a part of the population that you never read about in newspapers, they’re never on the radio, they’re never interviewed on TV…you never hear their voice.”

However, "Microphone," which was made before the revolution, “gave them this outlet. But it was representative of a much wider group of young people that really represent the revolution,” she says.

Award-winning actor Khaled Abol Naga coproduced and stars in “Microphone,” a film which explores the underground art and music scene in Alexandria, Egypt, just before the 2011 revolution.
Award-winning actor Khaled Abol Naga coproduced and stars in “Microphone,” a film which explores the underground art and music scene in Alexandria, Egypt, just before the 2011 revolution.

In retrospect, according to lead actor and co-producer Khaled Abol Naga, the film was a precursor to the revolution. But that wasn't evident when the film was being made.

"When we made the movie, we had no idea. We didn't really call for a revolution," says  Abol Naga. "We didn't even think there would be a revolution. The movie is called "Microphone" because it’s giving a microphone to be heard. We’re trying to get those voices out. It's an underground scene before the revolution.”

A new age

Abol Naga was active in the uprising which saw the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He says what was once underground is now above ground. And what was above ground, the regime, is now under.

"The power of the people is finally, is becoming equal or maybe even stronger than the people in power. Any group of people feeling they are discriminated against, they don't have rights, now they have the means, in this new age we're just entering, to actually have enough power to topple or challenge the people in power…and that's changing all over the world," he says.

Abol Naga acknowledges there are obstacles to overcome, especially Egypt's military.

"Yes, we have now a horrible, horrible military dictatorship. Two days ago, they actually detained bloggers, because? You can't imagine the audacity of the crime. They criticized the military. That's a crime now."

But Abol Naga and festival director Ghareeb are optimistic that freedom will ultimately prevail.

“The revolution has created a sense of freedom, and this freedom is going to be illustrated in the creativity that’s going to come out in the films and I think the impact is going to be huge," Ghareeb says.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."