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'The Traveler' fails to impress in Venice - Daily News Egypt

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'The Traveler' fails to impress in Venice

Egypt’s competition entry at the 66th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, “The Traveler, starring Omar Sharif, was met with a lukewarm reception from both world and Egyptian press. Ahmed Maher’s big-budget debut feature – the first film produced by the Ministry of Culture in more than 30 years – was described by …


Egypt’s competition entry at the 66th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, “The Traveler, starring Omar Sharif, was met with a lukewarm reception from both world and Egyptian press.

Ahmed Maher’s big-budget debut feature – the first film produced by the Ministry of Culture in more than 30 years – was described by the Egyptian media as “slow, “tedious, “excessively philosophical, and “ambiguous.

Apart from Italian daily Il Gazzettino, Variety was the sole international publication that reviewed the film, which witnessed several walkouts in its first screening.

“‘The Traveler’ tries hard to be a Euro art-house pic but consistently lacks the sensibility to make it all float, Variety’s Jay Weissberg wrote. “The film attempts to say something about personal courage, the passing of time and continuity, but the message gets lost in flat artificiality.

“It’s difficult to imagine what the organization [Ministry of Culture] saw in the slight script to consider it worthy of the reportedly hefty price-tag, especially when compared with several recent, superior Egyptian productions that didn’t receive such funding.

“Omar Sharif’s presence in the last 40 minutes should peak interest, but after initial fest play, ‘The Traveler’ will be stuck in drydock.

The film traces the life of one man over three days in three different periods: 1948 in Suez, 1973 in Alexandria and 2001 in Cairo.

Sharif himself has publicly criticized the film, disparaging the performance of his costar Khaled Nabawy, complaining about his late appearance in the movie and demanding Maher to trim the film further. According to reports, he also described the film as “artistically poor.

Apart from revered Egyptian critic Samir Farid, the majority of Egyptian and Arab press dismissed Israeli film Lebanon that won this year s Golden Lion award at the festival, accusing it of manipulation and fact-twisting. Meanwhile, Egyptian daily Al Yom Al Sabae (The Seventh Day) chose the following title for the fest awards report: “Israel has beaten us in Venice and won the Golden Lion.

Although widely regarded as one of the biggest disappointments of the 61st edition, “The Traveler was not the only high-profile production to go home empty handed. Michael Moore’s critical favorite “Capitalism: A Love Story failed to receive any awards. Claire Denis’ powerful “White Material, Jessica Hausner’s study of faith and miracles “Lourdes, John Hillcoat’s moving adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian best-seller “The Road and Yonfan’s lush period romance “Prince of Tears were also snubbed by the jury.

Despite being considered as one of the strongest rounds in years, sales in Venice were fairly sluggish this year; an expected consequence of the global economic recession.

Up next for “The Traveler is Toronto Film Festival. Still caught in Venice’s bad storm, the film could struggle in acquiring distribution in North America. -Daily News Egypt

Topics: Gamma Islamiya

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https://dailyfeed.dailynewsegypt.com/2009/09/13/the-traveler-fails-to-impress-in-venice/
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