The Red Sea International Film Festival will host a masterclass with Egyptian filmmaker Khairy Beshara on 14 December at Muvi, Mall of Arabia, Jeddah.
According to the festival, Beshara will share his professional experiences reshaping the Arab film industry over four decades in a masterclass moderated by Antoine Khalife, head of the Festival’s Arab Film Program
The masterclass will kick-start a three-day retrospective of Beshara’s acclaimed films that will take place across Saudi Arabia in Dharan, Jeddah, and Riyadh from 14 to 16 December.
The filmmaker will share his unique outlook and wealth of experience in a special masterclass for Jeddah’s aspiring filmmakers. The session will look at ways of “renewing cinema through plots, stories, and performances.”
In 1996, at the apex of his career, Beshara quit filmmaking. Two blockbusters in one year, the highest salary of any Egyptian filmmaker, more than 30 feature and documentary films, awards and acclaim, couldn’t stop him from walking away from the limelight and the industry he had defined for more than two decades. It was a characteristically rebellious move from a renegade filmmaker. A mark of his integrity, it would lead to a 16-year hiatus.
Unconventional boundary-breaking has defined Beshara’s career. In the 1980s, he was a leading director in the Egyptian Neo-Realism movement, a style of cinema that responded to the psychological strife of everyday life, exploring ideas of identity, culture and heritage within settings familiar to ordinary people. Ever the renegade, Beshara moved away from the style he’d been so instrumental in shaping. With a new decade, a new chapter – Crab (1990) introduced the genre of folk fantasy to Arab cinema.
When he returned to filmmaking with his experimental docu-fiction Moondog (2012), he had embraced and mastered the innovations of digital filmmaking. Beshara has never followed anyone else’s script, founding movements and then transforming them, developing new techniques.
One of the most iconic films in Egyptian cinema history, The Collar and the Bracelet (1986) is a searing dramatic thriller, acclaimed for its unflinching social commentary and poetic style.
Bitter Day, Sweet Day (1988) is a portrait of Egyptian society reshaped by the forces of globalization, through the story of widow Aisha, her five children, and a manipulative and controlling son-in-law. A moving look at poverty and drastic social change on an individual’s values and ambitions.
Ice Cream in Gleam (1992) is a film of hope against the odds, starring legendary singer Amr Diab as Saif. Working in a video rental store, Saif dreams of another life, making his name in music. But fate seems to have other plans – he’s fired and lands in jail. There he meets and forms a trio with a songwriter and infamous musician, discovering his aspirations still reach the hardest of places.
Set in 1973, Abracadabra America (1993) follows a hapless group as they flee Egypt after the October War, attempting to emigrate to America. Arriving at their first stop on the Hungarian border, they discover they’ve been conned. To survive, they must learn to overcome their differences.
A remarkable film shot entirely on the busy streets of downtown Cairo, Traffic Light (1995) is a glimpse of mid-90s Egyptian society, reeling from the changes of globalization. At a stop sign, on hold for a passing VIP, a group finds itself at emotional and social ‘crossroads’ – a love story blossoms, a baby is due, and a man is on fire!