Cairo International Film Festival returns with intriguing array of local, foreign films

The 37th Cairo International Film Festival rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night for its opening ceremony at Cairo Opera House.  
CIFF, one of the most prominent film events in the Middle East, runs from November 11 to November 20 and will feature 100 films from around the world. Renowned Egyptian film critic Magda Wassef is the festival’s new president this year.
The International Competition is scheduled to showcase 16 films produced by 14 countries.
This year, CIFF has turned its focus toward showcasing films that mirror the political struggles and crises taking place across the globe. 
Wars, illegal immigration, the escalating global economic crisis and the false hope for the American dream are some of the topics addressed in the International Competition, all of which have political undertones. 
Usually, only one or two Egyptian films make their debut at the festival. This year, in an unprecedented move, seven Egyptian films are scheduled to participate in the festival’s various competitions. Normally Egyptian producers and filmmakers prefer to premiere their movies with commercial openings, which promise a bigger financial gain. 
Two feature films titled “Men Dahr Ragel” (Born to a Man), directed by Karim Al-Sobky, and “Al-Leila Al-Kabira” (The Grand Night), directed by Sameh Abdel Aziz, will compete in the International Competition.
“Fi Youm” (On a Day), directed by Karim Shaban, and “Al-Thaman” (The Price), by Hesham Al-Awessy, will be featured in the Horizons of Arab Cinema competition. 
A documentary film titled “A Gift from the Past” (Hadya Men Al-Mady), directed by Kawsar Younis, will be showcased in the Special Screenings section.
Another documentary film titled “Tuk Tuk”, directed by Romani Saad, will compete in Cairo International Film Critics Week. The festival’s Critics Week will be held between November 13 and 19 as an independent program on the sidelines of the film festival.
A short film titled “Al-Zayra” (The Visit) will participate in the Cinema of Tomorrow International competition, held between November 14 and 19.   
The Festival of Festivals section is scheduled to screen 45 films that received awards at international film festivals and aroused controversy concerning their intruiging topics. 
Among the must-see films to be screened in the Festival of Festivals section is the French film “Dheepan”, which won the Palme d'Or (the best motion picture award) at Cannes 2015. 
Also, the Romanian film “Aferim!” which won the silver bear for Best Director at Berlinale Film Festival 2015 is worth watching. 
CIFF dedicates a section of the festival to classic film lovers in the program Classic Films Restored, which aims to bring back the glorious films of decades ago to the silver screen. 
A number of international films will be displayed including “Embaratoryat M” (Empire M) by Hussein Kamal, the Italian film “The Leopard” by Lichino Visconti and the French film “Goha" by Jacques Baratier.    
Italian actress Claudia Cardinale and veteran actor Hussein Fahmy will be at the top of the list of honourees of the Faten Hamama Awards. Well-known Indian director Farah Khan and Egyptian star Nelly Karim will receive Excellence Awards for their remarkable work in the film industry. 
CIFF will pay special tribute to recently deceased stars of Egyptian cinema, including legendary actor Omar Sharif, the admirable Faten Hamama and eminent actor Nour Al-Sherif. 
All of the festival's films will be displayed to the public at the Cairo Opera House, screening daily from November 12 to 20. Tickets are available for LE20 and a 50 percent discount is offered for students. 
The movie-screening equipment in the opera's seven halls underwent a LE1 million renovation last year in an effort to provide one venue for all the films. 
For more information on CIFF's schedule, visit the CIFF website or their Facebook page.

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