Powerful tales of contemporary Egypt to screen at DIFF 2010

Fri Dec 10,2010

Erfan Rashid, Director of Arab Programming, Dubai International Film Festival: “The Egyptian film industry is one of the oldest and most established in the Arab world, and has carefully guarded its tradition of making powerful arthouse movies while also catering for the masses with commercial films. DIFF brings the best of Egyptian films today, handpicking movies that resonate with the wider global audience and explore issues of universal significance.”

Opening the Cultural Bridge segment on Dec. 16 at the Madinat Arena, Hesham Issawi’s El Khoroug (Cairo Exit), starring Maryhan, Mohammed Ramadan, and Sanaa Muzian, is a powerful account of life in contemporary Cairo about a pair of star-crossed lovers and the social and cultural taboos that riddle the city’s diverse population. Shining the light on the dead-end world of exploitation and misery in Cairo’s darkest corners, Cairo Exit will also be screened on Dec. 18 at Cinestar, Mall of the Emirates.

To honour the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, DIFF 2010 will screen Sabah’s movie, Leila Baka Fiha El Qamar, the story of a famous singer, Hanan, who meets Ahmad when she finds herself stranded with car trouble. The film will be screened on Dec. 13 at Cinestar, Mall of the Emirates.

On Dec. 13 at the Madinat Arena is the World Premiere of the bold and frank film, Six, Seven, Eight by Mohamed Diab, starring Ahmad Al Fishawi, Bushra, Maged El Kidwaany, Nelly Karim, and Sawsan Badr, which explores explore incidences of sexual harassment in Egypt. Through the eyes of three women drawn from across Cairo’s complex social hierarchy, the film follows the trio as, frustrated by the lackadaisical response from authorities, they decide to take the law into their own hands and begin exacting violent revenge on the men foolish enough to try and harass them. A second screening will be held on Dec. 15 at Cinestar, Mall of the Emirates.

Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui’s Zelal, a quiet masterpiece of hard-hitting reportage, has drawn global praise for its sobering insight into the lives of those afflicted by mental illness in Egypt today. Filmed in two large asylums, the film reveals the horrific conditions in which patients are expect to live – squalor and neglect is endemic, and therapy and treatment seems non-existent. The Middle East Premiere of Zelal will be held at Mall of the Emirates on Dec. 14, followed by a second screening on Dec. 16.

Microphone, a film by Helipolis director Ahmed Abdallah El-Sayed, stars Khaled Aloul Naga, Menna Shalaby, Atef Yousef, Yosra El-Lozy, and Hany Adel. It traces the life of Khaled, who returns to Alexandria after years of travel only to discover that things aren’t going too well with either his girlfriend or his aging father. By chance, he stumbled upon the city’s hidden subculture – rappers, rockers, graffiti artists, a whole world of creativity, expression, and art – and his life takes a turn for the better. The film will screen on Dec. 15 at the First Group Theatre, and on Dec. 17 at Cinestar, Mall of the Emirates.

Following the screening of Microphone, Rhythm & Reels will host Arab rock-fusion band Massar Egbari, and underground hip-hop band the Y-Crew in concert on Friday, Dec. 17. The award-winning Massar Egbari, which formed in 2005, specializes in alternative Egyptian music, fusing rock, jazz and blues with pure Oriental music. Y-Crew, the three-member Egyptian hip hop band, will also perform at the concert at The Walk at JBR.

Director Mohamed Ramadan’s 7awas (Senses) depicts the story of Souad, a young nurse, who falls in a one-sided love relationship with a comatose patient, and will be screened on Dec. 16 and 18 at Cinestar, Mall of the Emirates.

Omar Robert Hamilton’s Maydoum depicts the story of Sharif, who gets on the first plane home to Cairo when he hears his cousin is to sell their grandmother’s land. On arrival, he finds himself faced with old arguments and new decisions in a changing country. A poised and elegantly executed ensemble piece, this is a small film of understated, emotionally-nuanced brilliance, and will screen on Dec. 18 and 19 at Cinestar, Mall of the Emirates.

The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2010 will be held from December 12 to 19. DIFF 2010 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF. The Festival is supported by the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. 

DIFF 2010 box office locations are: Cinestar Mall of the Emirates, the Madinat Souk, The Walk at JBR, and the CNN Building in Dubai Media City. Tickets can also be purchased through DIFF’s Dial-a-Ticket service at (04) 391 3378 and from the website,

For more and updated information about DIFF, please visit

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