Joseph Fahim

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Latest by Joseph Fahim


On the edge of heaven

While the Arab world continues to consume its daily dose of the petty nonsense of Turkish soap opera Nour, a young Turkish filmmaker is currently taking the art world by storm. The name is Fatih Akin, a 35-year-old German-born director of Turkish parentage who rose to international stardom with his 2004 surprise Golden Bear winner …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Breaking away from the diving bell

In 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, prominent French author and editor of French fashion magazine Elle, suffered a brain stroke at the height of his wealth. Waking up from a lengthy coma, a neurologist told him he was afflicted by a rare, incurable condition called “locked-in syndrome. Bauby retained his eyesight and hearing, his brain functioned normally, …

Joseph Fahim

10 alternative albums for the summer

Flipping through this summer’s world music charts, one can’t help but mourn the insipidity of current mainstream offerings. Whether it’s a horde of gangsta rap and over-sexualized hip-hop, domesticated rock or the endless sea of formulaic, bubble-gum Arabic pop, major releases – with the exception of Coldplay’s unexpected return with “Viva La Vida – have …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: The coolest dude in town fails to make a splash

Here’s a real interesting success story. Born in 1978, actor/scriptwriter/director Ahmed Mekky decided to become a filmmaker after watching Mel Gibson’s wartime epic “Braveheart in the mid-90s. The younger sibling of actress Enas Mekky, he began his acting career with a small role in Sherif Arafa’s “Ibn Ezz (2002), starring the late Alaa Waly Eldin. …

Joseph Fahim

Waiting for divine clemency

When I finally got my hands on “Kirieleison , a new novel by Muslim Hany Abdel-Moreed, dubbed in an Al Badeel daily article as the first Egyptian novel to enter “the private and unknown world of Christians it turned out that the book had nothing to do with the so-called “Christian world. “Kirieleison was much …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Black is the color

Unless you were on another planet for the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard by now that “The Dark Knight, the latest installment in the long-running “Batman franchise, is the film of the summer. The sequel to 2005’s smash hit “Batman Begins has, as of today, grossed $400 million domestically, faster than any other film …

Joseph Fahim

Israeli filmmaker discusses trials and tribulations of "The Band's Visit"

Few weeks ago, the Israeli embassy in Egypt screened internationally acclaimed smash “The Band’s Visit at the Four Seasons hotel in Giza. The event was attended by representatives of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries, Egyptian author and playwright Ali Salem (who was expelled in 2001 from the Egyptian Writers Union for …

Joseph Fahim

Legendary Egyptian filmmaker Chahine dies

CAIRO: Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine, Arab cinema’s most acclaimed filmmaker, passed away on Sunday, at age 82, following several weeks in a coma. Chahine passed on at 3:30 am in Maadi’s Armed Forces Hospital. Waleed Abol Seoud, spokesperson for Chahine’s production company Alfam Misr El Alameya, denied rumors that Chahine has been clinically dead …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Helmy's best performance to date is not laughing matter

Asef Ala El-Ezaag (Sorry for the Disturbance), Ahmed Helmy’s follow-up to last year’s blockbuster comedy “Keda Reda, is not a comedy. In fact, it is abundant with heartbreaking moments not typically seen in films of the same genre. Not only have most viewers been misled by the old-fashioned tone of the trailer, the film’s early …

Joseph Fahim

BOOK REVIEW: An addict without a cause

Days after the release of novice novelist/producer/scriptwriter Essam Youssef’s debut novel “1/4 Gram, the book instantly became the unexpected success story of the year. A few months following the release of the 635-page book; “1/4 Gram managed to topple the bestseller lists of nearly every major bookstore in the country. I waited for the past …

Joseph Fahim

Nothing's gonna change their world

What was the first Beatles album you’ve listened to? Mine was a frayed cassette tape copy of “Help! exchanged for a film magazine a classmate of mine borrowed in the sixth grade and never gave back. Perhaps the most magical quality of the Beatles classics is their strong sense of time and place, a distant …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: A prisoner of conventions

Masgoon Transit (Transit Prisoner) is an accomplished, well-written thriller boosted by adept performances and unfussy direction. At the heart of the film is a feeble, forgettable moral message placed to infuse the story with a much-needed purpose. But it doesn’t, and the film ultimately comes off as a plain genre exercise, albeit a good one. …

Joseph Fahim

Father of the 'Invisible Children'

Nearly four years ago, Italian director/producer Stefano Veneruso set out to make a film dealing with an imperative social issue. After plenty of research and deliberation, he settled on the subject of marginalized children. To give his project more weight and thrust it with global clout, Veneruso decided to assemble some of the world’s biggest …

Joseph Fahim

Ein Shams wins best film at Taormina Film Festival

Egyptian filmmaker Ibrahim El Batout’s highly acclaimed second feature “Ein Shams won the Golden Tauro award yesterday for best film at the 54th Taormina Film Festival in Italy. Following the win, El Batout told Daily News Egypt, “It was amazing and overwhelming to receive such an important prize in a 2000-year-old Greek amphitheater. It was …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: A roll of the dice

The short and winding trajectory of director Khaled Youssef’s career is not only one of the biggest cinematic success stories of the new decade, but a substantial leap in the course of mainstream Egyptian cinema. Ever since his admirable, but muddled political melodrama debut “Al Assifa (The Storm) landed in theaters eight years ago, Youssef …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Kingdom come in a "Cabaret"

Halfway through watching Tamara Jenkins’s little-seen small gem “The Savages , I experienced a quasi-epiphany. As I waited in anticipation for the next volatile confrontation between the two siblings, played with impeccable sensitivity and command by Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, I suddenly realized how great films could rationalize the existence of man; how …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Social realism or sermon?

Last month, British newspaper The Observer published an insightful article entitled “Can films change the world? written by leading British film producer Nick Fraser. In it, Fraser raises the ever-so-pressing debate over whether or not films can act as a substantial agent of change in society. Fraser remembers posing his inquiry to late legendary American …

Joseph Fahim

The heart of Cinemania

For more than a decade, Marianne Khoury has been one of the pre-eminent names of the film industry in Egypt and the region. A film producer, documentary filmmaker, movie distributor and co-owner of Galaxy and Stars movie theaters, Khoury – niece of legendary Egyptian filmmaker Yousef Chahine – has almost singlehandedly engineered the current art …

Joseph Fahim

Of words, failed masculinity and a dish of couscous

A few weeks ago, while checking Al-Ahram’s Wednesday edition for new films released in Cairo, I stumbled upon a little ad with the poster of Abdellatif Kechiche’s latest art sensation “La graine et le mule (Secret of the Grain) a film I was frantically eager to watch but couldn’t obtain from my usual sources. “Graine …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Doom and gloom dominate 'disappointing' Cannes

In an unexpected turn of events, French filmmaker Laurent Cantet’s up-lifting docudrama “Entre les Murs (The Class) nabbed the 61st Cannes Film Festival’s Golden Palm award last Sunday, ending a rather decisive round inundated with bleak pictures about poverty, dysfunctional families, war, political corruption and violence. Known for his slice-of-life films “Human Resources and “Time …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Demonized heroes seek redemption

At the heart of the latest superhero flicks “Iron Man and Tim Burton’s twisted, gory musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a tale of two men, with haunting pasts, seeking salvation. The two can’t be more different. “Iron Man’s Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is a sanctimonious, womanizing billionaire who receives …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Days of Being Wild

I still retain from my childhood a great anxiety, and the movies are bound up with an anxiety, with an idea of something clandestine, said François Truffaut. It’s the Cannes Film Festival, 1956. Young French film critic, aspiring filmmaker and all around rebel François Truffaut raucously complains about the rows of flowers obstructing the view …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTAE: Egyptian band lost in Israel

Ever since I finally managed to watch the highly contentious Israeli smash “The Band’s Visit by the end of last year, I became eager to lay down my thoughts on our pick of the most controversial film of 2007. But the escalating tension between Israel and Palestine that accumulated with the Gaza blockage deferred my …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: Where have all the silly comedies gone?

At the dawn of this decade, when an Egyptian underground film scene was deemed wishful thinking, a group of three young engineering students conceived a full-length video parody of famous Egyptian spy thriller “Al Tareek Ila Elat (The Road to Elat) with zero budget, using commercial camcorders. Ahmed Fahmy, Hesham Maged and Chico played the …

Joseph Fahim

Documentaries triumph in fourth Encounter of the Image fest

After nearly four consecutive months of purely mediocre offerings stuffing the half a dozen independent film festivals held this year, a ray of hope emerged at the French Culture Center’s fourth Encounter of the Image Festivals, which ended last week. Thirty films were selected from more than 100 submissions for this year’s competition. A jury …

Joseph Fahim

Juno steals the show with witty script, heartwarming romance

With the likes of “Knocked Up and “Waitress a new sub-genre centred on accidental pregnancies emerged last year in American cinema. Both films were major hits, connecting well with critics and viewers alike. The biggest, most critically acclaimed film of the bunch was the sleeper hit “Juno, a $7 million production starring a little-known young …

Joseph Fahim

THE REEL ESTATE: No country for righteous men

The Coen Brothers’ latest cinematic opus opens with an establishing shot of the Texas wastelands, roofed with shadows and an orange sky. There isn’t one human soul; and Tommy Lee Jones’ weary, affirming voice provides the sole human element. Jones’ character tells the story of a young kid he sent to the electric chair for …

Joseph Fahim