Joseph Fahim

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Latest by Joseph Fahim


Propaganda and Islam get the Berlin treatment

The “Jew Süss controversy No other film in this year’s Berlianle was met with the same kind of exaggerated hostility that has made, and broken, many films in past festivals as Oskar Roehler’s German entry “Jew Süss: Rise and Fall. The moment the end credits started rolling, a loud chorus of booing echoed from different …

Joseph Fahim

Unmet expectations at Berlinale

Stranded in Berlin’s Tegel airport for hours on Monday thanks to the Lufthansa pilot strike, I bumped into two Turkish young ladies in charge of a film festival in Istanbul. Both seemed somewhat indifferent to Semih Kaplanoglu’s triumph at the Berlinale for “Bal (Honey), the first Turkish film to win the Golden Bear prize in …

Joseph Fahim

Dispatches from Berlin: Ups and downs at the film festival

The mood has been generally downbeat in old Berlin. As the sun continues to boycott the German capital, more cinematic bombs continue to bombard critics. Despair has mostly been the defining theme of this year’s Berlinale. Even the most lighthearted film screened here involved murder (Yimou Zhang’s “A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop …

Joseph Fahim

Polanski, Scorsese take Berlin by storm

In Berlin, the great masters of cinema still rule. Exceptional, highly entertaining new works from Roman Polanski and Martin Scorsese lifted up the cheerless mood triggered by the freezing cold and so-so competition films. Still under house arrest for rape charges, Polanski made up for his absence with “The Ghost Writer , a slick Hitchcockian …

Joseph Fahim

Berlin International Film Fest kicks off

Amid one of the coldest winters to hit Berlin in recent years, the 60th Berlin Film Festival kicked off on Thursday, announcing the beginning of a busy 10 days of film screenings, seminars and potential business transactions. Earlier in the day, the International Competition jury members, headed by German filmmaker Werner Herzog, was presented. Both …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: The road to Berlin

This Thursday, filmmakers, critics and artists from every part of the world (20,000 professionals from over 130 countries, 3,700 film critics from 100 countries) will descend on the German capital to witness the inauguration of the 60th edition of the Berlin International Film Festival, the world’s second largest film extravaganza. The 2010 Berlin installment offers …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: A call you're urged to miss

Readers of this column probably know that I’m no fan of Egyptian director Khaled Youssef (a.k.a. master of the slums), the most deceptively serious and sensationalist of the nation’s top filmmakers. His last cinematic insult, “Dokan Shehata (Shehata’s Store) was easily the worst film I saw last year. Youssef was speciously heralded as the voice …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Sex, religion and art in synthetic colors

It wasn’t supposed to go this way. For the past 15 years, Egyptian filmmaker Oussama Fawzi has been a critics’ darling, directing two of the most acclaimed films of the 1990s (“Ghosts of the Asphalt in 1996 and “Fallen Angels Paradise in 1999) and one of the defining films of 2000s (“I Love Cinema in …

Joseph Fahim

COMMENTARY: Sectarian violence: No end in sight

In his Wednesday sermon last week, a teary-eyed Pope Shenouda attempted to console the families of the Nagaa Hammadi shooting victims, whom he called martyrs. Later on, in a remark most observers missed, he compared the Nagaa Hammadi victims to Joseph, who was “conspired against and cast away from home by his brothers. Whether the …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Agora

In my freshman year in college, a particular mass media theory always fascinated me. The theory suggested that there four types of truths: Absolute, reported, inferred and judgmental. The three latter types involve diverse degrees of subjectivity. Absolute truth is the only ‘real’ truth, but it’s unreachable. Everything I studied that year onwards was framed …

Joseph Fahim

One on One with Elia Suleiman: Part Two

In part two of Daily News Egypt s interview with award-winning Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman, he discusses the necessity of unpredictability in his films, the financial predicaments he faced in making “The Time That Remains and his views regarding the future of Palestine. Daily News Egypt: The last part of “The Time That Remains is …

Joseph Fahim

One on one with Palestinian director Elia Suleiman

Few Arab filmmakers have been greeted with the ceremonial reception given to Palestinian director Elia Suleiman last week at the second European Film Panorama hosted in Cairo’s CityStars cinema. The three screenings of Suleiman’s highly acclaimed third feature, “The Time That Remains, were all sold out. Egyptian and foreign filmgoers alike flocked to the discussions …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Scorsese in Alexandria: a missed opportunity

It was the mother of all cinematic events. Film fans everywhere in the country were stunned to learn that the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is hosting Martin Scorsese, the greatest living American filmmaker, for a “seminar two days prior to Christmas. This wasn’t just the biggest cinematic event of the year; it was arguably the biggest of …

Joseph Fahim

YEAREND SPECIAL: 2009: Culture in decline

The feared perils of the economic recession hit the Egyptian culture scene hard in 2009, a year that saw most culture centers scaling back their activities, the film industry receiving a major blow and the music industry continuing its downward spiral. This was also a year marred by controversies, many of which revolved around one …

Joseph Fahim

YEAREND SPECIAL: The best films of 2009

For the past four years, my best-films-of-the-year list has been restricted to movies screened in Egyptian theaters either via commercial release or in film festivals. And because of these limitations, none of the previous lists were accurately comprehensive. This year, I failed to abide by the rules for one simple reason: I couldn’t find enough …

Joseph Fahim

YEAREND SPECIAL: Egyptian filmmaker of the year: Yousry Nasrallah

Up until not long ago, the films of Yousry Nasrallah were only known to cinephiles and art-house film aficionados. Widely regarded as one of Egypt’s foremost filmmakers, Nasrallah found fame and recognition in Europe, particularly in France, since 1988 when his debut feature “Summer Thefts was released. 2009 is the year that changed everything for …

Joseph Fahim

A modern-day Arab 'prophet'

A definitive standout at this week’s European Film Panorama is Jacques Audiard’s prison drama, “Un prophète, winner of this year’s Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival. Audiard’s fifth feature, which also won the best feature at the London Film Festival and the prestigious Louis Delluc prize, is a perfect genre film; a gritty, …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Almodóvar's 'broken' opus at the European Film Panorama

Along with Elia Suleiman’s “The Time That Remains and Alejandro Amenábar’s “Agora, the two other highlights of this week’s European Film Panorama, which kicks off on Wednesday, are Pedro Almodóvar’s latest picture “Broken Embraces and Jacques Audiard’s “Un prophète, winner of Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prix award. Of the two, Audiard’s fifth feature is the …

Joseph Fahim

The September Issue

I’m not a man of fashion. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never developed any interest in fashion, never comprehended women’s fervor for clothes. I’ve never watched a fashion show, never read any fashion articles and up until a few years ago, I had no idea who Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: On the time that passed and the time that remains

On one Saturday morning earlier last month, I made my way through a large packed dark theater in search for an unoccupied seat. An elderly genial gentleman tapped my back and pointed to an empty seat beside him. “Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much, he told me. We exchanged a few quick words as I …

Joseph Fahim

The taste of 'Pomegranates and Myrrh'

It starts with a wedding, and ends with a dance. In between those ends lies a drastically different picture from what both Arab and International audiences expect of Palestine. Ramallah as portrayed by Palestinian director Najwa Najjar in her splendidly heartfelt debut feature film “Al-Mor wa Al-Rumman (Pomegranates and Myrrh) is a vibrant place full …

Joseph Fahim

'Father Jacob' scoops Cairo Film Fest's Golden Pyramid

Four years after raking the Cairo International Film Festival’s top prize for his wartime drama “Mother of Mine, Finnish filmmaker Klaus Härö earned Friday his second Golden Pyramid for his fourth feature “Letters to Father Jacob. As the fest’s 33rd edition came to a close, Egyptian actor Fathy Abdel Wahab made headlines for his Best …

Joseph Fahim

33rd Cairo International Film Festival: An afterthought

Not even the Khartoum events could’ve saved the Cairo Film Fest. The closing ceremony of the 33rd edition attracted attention for Chairman of the fest Ezzat Abou Ouf and actor Fathy Abdel Wahab s overzealous speeches, for the livid remarks by Egyptian stars, for the protest that never materialized, but not for the movies. The …

Joseph Fahim

Birds that never fly

Egyptian director Magdy Ahmed Ali’s “Nile Birds is only the second feature based on a work by great Egyptian author Ibrahim Aslan, and the first in 18 years since Daoud Abdel Sayed’s “Kit Kat to reach Egyptian screens. Aslan’s fans will be relieved to learn that Ahmed Ali has crafted a faithful adaptation of Aslan’s …

Joseph Fahim

A multifaceted 'Amreeka'

Here’s a film that treats the issue of Arab immigration to the US with lightheartedness, precision and heartfelt compassion. Palestinian-Jordanian director Cherien Dabis’ debut feature “Amreeka is the first film to deal with the Arab-American experience from a realistic, grounded perspective devoid of the superlatives and self-pity that marred similar previous efforts. Set in 2003, …

Joseph Fahim

Faith meets grace in Finnish drama

In 2005, Finnish filmmaker Klaus Härö pulled off what some critics deemed as a surprise Golden Pyramid win for his heartbreaking wartime drama “Mother of Mine. I wouldn’t be surprised if Härö scored another best picture win this year for his fourth feature “Letters to Father Jacob, a pitch-perfect little drama about faith, forgiveness and …

Joseph Fahim

Cairo Time: a picturesque travelogue with distorted details

Prior to its premiere in Doha a couple of weeks ago, most Egyptian filmmakers had zero expectations for Ruba Nadda’s Cairo-set “Cairo Time. Something about the trailer didn’t seem just right; perhaps it was the over-romanticized landscapes shots, the corny oriental music or the following tagline: “In Egypt, she didn’t expect to meet someone like …

Joseph Fahim

33rd Cairo International Film Fest kicks off

CAIRO: An expansive flurry of fireworks, accompanied by a group of bald silver-painted ladies and a hotel lobby tribute band, greeted tens of guests from more than 70 nations arriving for the opening ceremony of the Cairo International Film Festival’s 33rd edition, which kicked off Tuesday night. Clocking in at under 80 minutes, the 2009 …

Joseph Fahim