Joseph Fahim

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Latest by Joseph Fahim


THE REEL ESTATE: Not so great expectations: Cairo film fest kicks off

Halfway through last year’s installment of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), I had a conversation with a German reporter about the disastrous organization and the elitism that came to define the 32nd edition. Despite everything though, I still had residues of faith left in the fest, sustained by a couple of quality films I …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: The view from Doha

Like most journalists who flocked last week to Doha, I was ready to write off the first Doha Tribeca Film Festival for a number of reasons: (a) the fest appeared to be as another commercial enterprise exported from the US; (b) the concentration on American and British films (18 in total) at the expense of …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: An inglorious return for Quentin Tarantino

As I watched a long talky scene that seemed to go on forever in Quentin Tarantino’s ill-fated “Death Proof (2007), my mind began to stray, and I wondered how long the “Pulp Fiction director can pull his snarky, ostentatious, self-conscious dialogue. Judging by his latest rutted opus “Inglorious Basterds, he clearly couldn’t. “Basterds – his …

Joseph Fahim

An Egyptian in Wonderland

His name is Yasser Hamed. You ve probably never heard of him before, but remember him well, because soon you will. An Egyptian-born Australian citizen, Hamed is a senior visual effects technical director who, in a span of five years, has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Robert Zemeckis (“Back to …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: An exhilarating ride to hell

When was the last time you saw a good old-fashioned American horror flick? In a marketplace saturated with tiresome Japanese remakes, torture porn and pointless franchise reboots, bona-fide horror films are the rarest of commodity of the new century. Sam Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell emerges from the ashes of 50s’ B-horror classics to inject …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: More on 'Antichrist' and a miserable Egyptian 'Dictator'

“Antichrist: the debate continues Over the past week, I received a number of responses regarding my “Antichrist review, a film, it seems, I’m bound to discuss much longer than I had anticipated. Before thrashing out my miserable experience at the Egyptian movies this week, I’d like to clarify a few points. First off, I still …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE : Hour of the Antichrist

You must have heard all about it by now: the genital self-mutilation, the talking fox, the loudest chorus of boos and jeers to greet a film in Cannes since Gasper Noé’s “Irreversible seven years ago, the Daily Mail’s demand to have the film banned in the UK, the wide-spread misogyny accusations, the Tarkovsky dedication. European …

Joseph Fahim

A conversation with the creator of one of the best American films of the year

Last Wednesday, I talked to “Sita Sings the Blues’ Nina Paley in her current residence in Brooklyn, New York. Affable, funny, down to earth and extremely passionate, Paley discussed everything that has to do with “Sita, from the story itself and the reaction of Indians to the film to her ongoing battle with copyright laws. …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Nina sings the blues

Back in February, I came across an article by Margy Rochlin in the New York Times charting the making of a new self-financed animated American musical titled “Sita Sings the Blues about an Indian fable reworked from a modern perspective by an American cartoonist called Nina Paley. Using the 3,000-year-old famous legend of the “Ramayana …

Joseph Fahim

"The Traveler" to open Middle East International Film Festival

CAIRO: Ahmed Maher’s much hyped debut feature “Al-Musaafer (The Traveler) will open Abu Dhabi’s Middle East International Festival, which runs from Oct. 8-17. Starring Egyptian screen legend Omar Sharif, “The Traveler had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last week. The first film produced by the Ministry of Culture in more than 30 …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: What if Brüno was Egyptian?

A few weeks back, I found myself in the middle of one of those endless debates about homosexuality that never leads anywhere. Despite my indifference towards the subject, I grew irritated towards my friends’ unbending, hostile stance towards homosexuals. Their actual position and beliefs had nothing to do with it; it’s their business after all. …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Summer 2009: What happened? (Part 2)

Summer 2009 can be remembered as the year when bad taste and trite filmmaking – embodied in Michael Bay’s $830 million-grossing “Transformers sequel – captivated the attention of world audiences. With an extra $100 million expected to be added this week, the US summer domestic box-office has broken records to become the industry’s biggest ever, …

Joseph Fahim

An American in Cairo

Cairo is a barren wasteland for comics fans. That is a sad, undeniable fact. No bookstore in the country houses a comics section. A small handful of graphic novels are haphazardly placed in the modern fiction book sections of the likes of Diwan and the AUC Bookstore. Up until this very day, Egypt has failed …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Summer 2009: What happened? (Part 1)

It started with infinite promises, tumbled swiftly with one disappointment after another, and ended with a thud. The 2009 global summer film season was largely disappointing, relying largely on sequels, formulaic romantic comedies and toy-based clunkers. In Egypt, the picture was much less stratified. The lawfully dubbed “slum films – a hollow term that simultaneously …

Joseph Fahim

Ramadan 2009 TV preview

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, shine up your lanterns, empty your fridge for the yameesh and get ready to waste countless hours in front of your TV sets. Yes, Ramadan is finally upon us, a month when traditional festivities sweep every corner of the nation, when the kilos pile up and cholesterol levels skyrocket, …

Joseph Fahim

'Traveler,' 'Scheherazade' and 'Heliopolis' off to Toronto

After securing a historical entry at next month’s Venice Film Festival, Ahmed Maher’s directorial full-length debut feature “El-Mosafer (The Traveler) starring Egyptian screen legend Omar Sharif has landed a coveted spot at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). “The Traveler, screening in the Special Presentations section, will be joined in the same section with Yousry …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: On "The Hangover" and John Hughes

The Hangover It seems that every summer, Hollywood manages to churn out one bona-fide R-rated comedy to atone for every hoax it hoodwinked world audiences with. Last year, that comedy was Ben Stiller’s war-film spoof “Tropic Thunder. This year, it’s “The Hangover. The rowdy, expeditious and downright hilarious buddy comedy successfully sidesteps the tired, over-romanticizing …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Myth and reality of Dillinger lost in 'Public Enemies'

Prior to “Public Enemies, Michael Mann’s latest high-profile dramatization of the last 14 months of America’s former public enemy no.1 John Dillinger, at least four big-screen adaptations were made of the legendary outlaw in addition to several TV movies and documentaries. I’ve watched the majority of these films, including Max Nosseck’s B-noir “Dillinger (1945) and …

Joseph Fahim

The sad, haunting sounds of Ishiguro's 'Nocturnes'

Acouple of months ago while on vacation, I picked up a copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s highly anticipated new work, a collection of short stories entitled “Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall. With little anecdotes set in Venice, the English countryside and Beverley Hills, Ishiguro’s book seemed like the perfect vacation read. I started reading …

Joseph Fahim

Egyptian film "The Traveler" leads 66th Venice competition line-up

Ahmed Maher’s directorial full-length debut feature “El-Mosafer (The Traveler) will vie for the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award in September, the festival’s organizers announced on Thursday. Starring Egyptian screen legend Omar Sharif, Khaled El-Nabawy, Cyrine Abdel Nour and Amr Waked, the film traces the life of one man over three days in three different …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: A darker, hackneyed Egyptian 'Groundhog Day'

As the curtain closes on the current summer film season, all bets were placed on comedian Ahmed Helmy. With an unprecedented slate of major misfires that include Adel Imam’s worst comedy in a decade, “Bobos, Ahmed El-Sakka’s unsavory crime saga “Ibrahim El-Abyad and Ahmed Ezz’s convoluted noirish melodrama “Badal Faqed (The Replacement), the majority of …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Confessions of a film critic

Earlier this month, while reading Kira Cochrane’s excellent interview with French filmmaker Claire Denis in The Guardian, I got fixated on one particular anecdote. While growing up in Africa, Denis didn’t have any access to cinema. “Some nights, though, to lull her to sleep, Cochrane writes, “Her mother would relate the films she had seen, …

Joseph Fahim

Under the wilting green palms

This year, the American University in Cairo press intends to bring Sudanese novelist Tarek Elyateb’s work to a wider audience with its latest translation of his most famous work to date, “Cities without Palms. For the most part of last century, Sudanese literature has been defined by the voice of one man: the late El-Tayeb …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Killing me softly with his movie

Halfway through watching “El-Safah (The Serial Killer), by the time my mind, body and soul went completely numb, Hany Salama’s character opened a large window, and suddenly, a flood of eye-blinding sunlight engulfed the screen. For a few seconds, I presumed that this was it; my time has finally come, God has decided to relieve …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Tales of Scheherazade

Yousry Nasrallah, one of Egypt’s greatest filmmakers, has crafted not only this year’s best Egyptian film of the year so far, but one of the most important movies of the decade. A brilliantly provoking, fierce and audacious cinematic document about Egyptian women, “Ehky ya Scheherazade (Tell Me a Story Scheherazade) is the rarest of creatures …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Sobky's religious sermon: part 2

A week ago, while uselessly surfing TV channels, I came across an interview with the cast and crew of “El-Farah (The Wedding), the much-hyped mega production by the notorious Sobky Films. “Some critics have accused your films of being preachy, the presenter told the baffled scriptwriter Ahmed Abdallah. “This is a very important point, he …

Joseph Fahim

The songs remain the same

Amid the jeering, booing and applause that greeted the winners of Cannes Film Festival’s last edition in May, a man in a black suit, red shirt, white sneakers and groovy shades, ascended the stage, accompanied by a long, warm standing ovation that seemed to last for eternity, to receive a life-time achievement award. At the …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: The narrow horizons of Pixar's 'Up'

First off, let me put this straight: Pixar’s “Up is the best summer release so far; a joyful, funny, effervescent tale of vanished dreams and second chances, painted with broad brushstrokes of gorgeous colors and striking visual grace. The glowing reviews and box-office receipts say it all: 97 percent positive reviews as counted by rottentomatoes.com …

Joseph Fahim