Joseph Fahim

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Latest by Joseph Fahim


All quiet on the culture front

Last year, Egyptian alternative culture took over the helm from mainstream culture to lead the Egyptian culture scene. This year, the foreign culture invasion was in full swing, thanks to a multitude of various-sized events that managed to attract a brand new audience different from the standard elite and foreigners constituting the primary target for …

Joseph Fahim

Top 10 films of 2008

Without a doubt, 2008 has been the year of American films. The new wave of neo-westerns, allegorical epics and corporate thrillers that have miraculously arrived to our shores after taking the US by storm at the backend of last year, have ushered a new age for American film. All American films included in this list …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Wahid Hamed's unfulfilled 'Promise'

Al Waad (The Promise) is a perfect title for veteran scriptwriter Wahid Hamed’s latest penned picture, a heading that, as a matter of fact, turns out to be rather more ominous than assuring. The splendid first act is quickly hampered by the cluttered, jagged middle and final parts of the films. In two thirds of …

Joseph Fahim

CIFF: A series of unfortunate events

Earlier this year, while flipping through the February edition of Sight & Sound, one of the most prestigious film publications in the world, I came across an article entitled “Sitting here in limbo by prominent columnist Nick Roddick. One particular paragraph caught my attention. Roddick – former editor of Screen International and Moving Pictures and …

Joseph Fahim

Dancing their blues away

Dancers, the Danish winner of the film festival’s Best Director award, appears on the surface as a conventional love story between two lonely people finding solace in each other’s company, and it’s certainly not the most original movie you’ll watch this year. What sets “Dancers apart from similar European dramas is director/writer Pernille Fischer Christensen’s …

Joseph Fahim

Spanish film 'Return to Hansala' scoops CIFF's Golden Pyramid

CAIRO: A small Spanish film set in Spain and Morocco about illegal immigration snatched the Cairo International Film Festival’s Golden Pyramid award last Friday at a small closing ceremony thankfully free of the opening’s numerous anomalies. “Return to Hansala – which also won the International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) – chronicles the journey of a Moroccan …

Joseph Fahim

Not much happening in 'The Day We Met'

Youm Mat’abelna (The Day we Met), the sole Egyptian entry in the International Feature Films Competition, is not a bad picture to look at, with a quiet pace and few endearing moments. At the deep end of the film, though, it s a story that says nothing, where nothing much happens. I understand what director …

Joseph Fahim

Turkish director experiments with 'Three Monkeys'

I entered the “Three Monkeys, the latest creation from Turkish maverick Nuri Bilge Ceylan, with a set of prejudices. I’m a big fan of Ceylan’s work especially, “Distant (2002), the film that put him on the international film map. Perhaps that’s why I knew what to expect from “Monkeys, winner of the Best Director Award …

Joseph Fahim

'The Messenger' is coming

Current Turkish modern cinema falls under two main categories: big, mainstream entertainments of intrinsic nationalism that closely follow the Hollywood model, such as “Valley of the Wolves and “The White Angel, and independent arthouse pictures, represented by internationally acclaimed filmmakers Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Semih Kaplanoglu and Semih Kaplanoglu. None of the numerous Turkish films I’ve …

Joseph Fahim

'Laila's Birthday' tracks one man's search for normalcy

Here’s a film that speaks volumes about the nightmarish daily reality of the Palestinian occupied territories without resorting to kitschy sensationalism or off-putting, manipulating sentimentality. Rashid Masharawi’s latest sublime work “Eid Milad Laila (Laila’s Birthday) is essentially a black comedy expounding the chaos, confusion and carelessness brought by more than 50 years of resistance, peace-negotiations …

Joseph Fahim

Theron, Townsend and Henderson plug new movie in Cairo conference

All eyes were on Oscar winning South African star Charlize Theron Sunday night as she arrived with her Irish actor/director fiancé Stewart Townsend and New Zealand native Martin Henderson for the press conference of Townsend’s directorial film debut “Battle in Seattle. Set in 1999, when thousands of protesters demonstrated against the World Trade Organization s …

Joseph Fahim

Goldie and Kurt talk politics, film and . love

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, one of Hollywood’s most famous couples, entertained Cairo with their sniggers, kisses and little arguments in a press conference that, at one point, transformed into a seminar about successful partnership. Dressed in a spaghetti-strap grey dress, Oscar winner Hawn is not worlds apart from “Cactus Flower’s Toni Simmons or “Private …

Joseph Fahim

Ghosts, fear and grief in one chilling "Orphanage"

Want a good old-fashioned horror movie? The kind where excruciating tension gradually intensifies until it reaches one devastating climax? The kind where fear lurks behind every corner, behind closed doors, empty caves and hidden basements? The kind they don’t make any longer in Hollywood? The Spanish hit “The Orphanage, one of the highlights of the …

Joseph Fahim

This is Gomorra

Last month, The Guardian posed this question; is “Gomorra the best mafia film of all time? The colossal buzz generated by its Grand Prize win at the Cannes Film Festival last May was translated into massive box-office gains to become, in a span of a few weeks, Italy’s highest grossing film of the year. In …

Joseph Fahim

Julia Ormond charms Cairo

Messa’ el kheir ya Masr (Good evening, Egypt), were the words British actress Julia Ormond chose to commence the press conference held last Monday at Sofitel El Gizerah. The next evening, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cairo International Film Festival’s opening ceremony. Ormond, who stole the show with her Arabic speech at …

Joseph Fahim

Susan Sarandon shoots straight in Cairo conference

Intelligent, well-informed, unassuming and yes, politically outspoken – although she would like to believe otherwise – Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon is every bit the legend most people assume she is. In the press conference held in her honor Wednesday afternoon, Sarandon maneuvered past the usual pointless questions, oversimplified remarks and torrent of inquires about …

Joseph Fahim

32nd Cairo International Film Festival kicks off

CAIRO: On steady, bouncing Spanish flamenco beats, the 32nd Cairo International Film Festival kicked off Tuesday at the Cairo Opera House with a spirited star-studded opening ceremony abundant with glitches and suffering from disorganization that, nevertheless, managed to emerge as the most entertaining and most significant opening ceremony in years. The opening ceremony commenced an …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Another year, another hope, another fear of disappointment

After months of speculations, countless rumors and reports pledging better organization, top-notch films and bigger stars, the Cairo International Film Festival kicked off Tuesday night with fireworks, celebrities and a shiny new red carpet. The capital’s largest, most prominent annual cultural event is back with a set of new promises and the challenge of redeeming …

Joseph Fahim

Bond is back, leaner, meaner and more vulnerable than ever

This will probably upset most old-school James Bond fanatics, but I firmly believe that 2006’s “Casino Royale was the best entry in the 46-year-old franchise. Yes, even better than the indubitable classics “Dr No, “Goldfinger and “From Russia with Love. At the time when Bond first emerged in the early 60s, he was no mere …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: In the land of knuckleheads and losers

Hot on the heels of this year’s Best Picture Oscar winner “No Country for Old Men, the anticipation for The Coen Brothers’ latest release “Burn After Reading couldn’t be more vehement. I waited patiently in a long queue to buy my ticket – The Brothers, along with Terrance Malick, are the only American filmmakers whose …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Elections, Hollywood style

In exactly a week from now, the United States of America will have a new president. And unless the current polls turn out to be a whole lot of hokum, an African-American president will lead the country for the first time in history. On paper, the unexpected rise of Barack Obama initially seemed like an …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Egypt's reel sex dilemma

One particular news item caught my attention last week. According to reports, scriptwriter Ahmed Saleh denounced the cinematic treatment of his “Kobolat Masrooka (Stolen Kisses) script, accusing director Khaled El Haggar of tarnishing his work and forcing scandalous sex scenes into the drama. Saleh was so outraged and offended by the final outcome that he …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Not another teen movie

Kobolat Masrooka (Stolen Kisses), the latest teen drama from director Khaled El Hagar, arrives in theaters with a buzz surrounding the “steamy love scenes and the 105 kisses featured in the film, surpassing the longstanding record holder “Abi Fouk El Shagara (My Father On Top of the Tree) starring Abdel Halim Hafez and Nadia Lotfi. …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Of fate, love and all that other hubbub

First of all, let me get this out of my system: I hated, hated “Zay El Naharda (Just like Today), the latest Eid release that, apparently, everyone seems to love. A thriller-cum-relationship drama-cum-trite philosophical meditation on fate and choice, the film is quickly growing into a cult favorite a week after its official commercial release. …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Ramadan and death of Egyptian TV Part II

I have a confession to make: I’m a sitcom junkie. In an average week, I usually consume between three to four hours of sitcoms. In my lifetime, I’ve watched an alarmingly diverse amount of sitcoms. Naturally, I’ve seen my fair share of bad sitcoms. In all those long years though, I’ve never been subjected to …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Ramadan and death of Egyptian TV Part I

My first memories of Ramadan have always been closely associated with TV. Looking at my ancient video collection, I discovered taped episodes of Rahmy’s hugely popular children’s series “Bogy and Tamtam along with the finale of “One Thousand and One Nights starring Laila Elwy and Farouk El Feshawy. That particular season of “Bogy and Tamtam, …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: The sound of roaring thunder

After months of doom, gloom and swarms of mediocre Egyptian flicks, a comedy that’s actually funny is finally released prior to the upcoming fall season, which looks even more disconsolate than last year’s. That said ensemble comedy is a major Hollywood production and surprisingly directed by Ben Stiller, one of the most predictable American comedians …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: WALL-E, EVE and the infinite space

Readers of this column will probably be aware that I’m not a big Disney fan. For all the cutesy characters, family values, and wish-fulfillment; a salvo of subliminal messages and stereotypes were buried under a shiny wrapping of what most parents around the world render inoffensive entertainment. It wasn’t always like that though. Disney was …

Joseph Fahim

What you'll be watching this Ramadan

Perhaps more than previous years, this Ramadan’s TV slate offers a humongous amount of star-studded dramas, talk shows and sitcoms competing for airtime and Egyptian viewers’ attention. The success of “Tamer & Shawkeya and last year’s “Ragel we Sit Sitat (A Man and Six Women) encouraged studio executives to venture more into American-style sitcoms. This …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: You don't mess with the Jews

A week and a half ago, The Guardian published an article entitled “Sandler’s Egyptian no-show by Egyptian journalist Gihan Shahine. The article states that the latest Adam Sandler film “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, a comedy tackling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a comic angle, has been banned from release by the Egyptian censors for …

Joseph Fahim