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Latest in Culture


‘Ring Road’ tackles organ trafficking

Organ trafficking is a widespread but poorly understood concern in Egypt. Activists and documentarians have largely shied away from this sensitive but important issue, as it serves as a microcosm of many of the world’s more widespread social ills. Egypt is one of the world’s leading destinations for illegal kidney trafficking, and organ sales among …

DNE

‘Stray Bullet’ explores love, family during Lebanon’s Civil War

The Arab films at this year’s Cairo International Film Festival have been billed as exceptional, and “Stray Bullet,” a Lebanese entry at the Arab Competition, does not disappoint. The film was directed by Beirut native Georges Hachem and stars director/actress Nadine Labaki of “Caramel” fame. “Stray Bullet” is Hachem’s first feature length production, and was …

DNE

‘Piran – Pirano’ hits the mark

Slovenian film “Piran – Pirano,” an official selection of the 34th Cairo International Film Festival, received well-deserved approval from audiences. The film screening on Dec. 8 was followed by a press conference with respected screenwriter and director Goran Vojnovic?. Vojnovic?, born in 1980 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has only been writing and directing for a short …

DNE

CIFF recommended movies for Thursday

The Secret in Their Eyes Directed by: Juan José Campanella. Starring: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil and Pablo Rago. Synopsis: It’s 2974 in Buenos Aires. Benjamín Espósito and Pablo Sandoval, legal investigators at one of the city’s criminal courts, are joined by a new boss, Cornell-trained lawyer Irene Menéndez Hastings. Benjamín and Irene are clearly attracted …

DNE

Below-average film selection only has a few surprises to offer

Midway through this year’s edition of the infamous Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), I came to one stark realization: I’ve never watched so many mediocre films in one festival before. Any wishful presumption that Egypt’s biggest film event might finally get its act together this year quickly went down the drain. The Fest’s permanent ailments …

DNE

Discovering secrets behind closed ‘doors’

By Maya Dukmasova Mohamed Abdelhafez is probably the world’s only practicing gastroenterologist and independent filmmaker at the same time. His first film, “The Door,” premiered as part of the Digital Feature Film Competition at this year’s Cairo International Film Festival. Abdelhafez created this gripping psychological thriller for a total of about $100. He used a family …

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CIFF recommended movies for Wednesday

The Flowers of Rowan Directed by: Alyona•Semenova/Alexander•Smirnov. Starring: Konstantin Milovanov, Elizaveta Arzamasova and Denis Sukhomlinov. Synopsis: The flowers of rowan are delicate and fragile and bloom for less than 10 days. The same appeared to the lives of the young girls who were sent to clear bombs left after World War II on the fields …

DNE

Bringing rock ‘n’ roll to underprivileged kids

Young musicians from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the United States gave three concerts in Cairo over the weekend. The concert series, which consisted of two public performances along with an interactive workshop with Egyptian youth, was organized by Yasmin Tayeby, an Egyptian-American Berklee graduate. Tayeby’s nascent company, Nile Promotions, organized the event …

DNE

Iraqi maqam emerges as casualty of modernity and war

By Jacques Clement / AFP BAGHDAD: Performing before a half-empty room at Baghdad’s Alwiyah Club, Taha Gharib is conscious that the music he has passionately played for decades — traditional Iraqi maqam — is dying. Victim of the country’s growing modernity and years-long violence, the poetic form of music that came to symbolizes the newly-born Iraq …

DNE

‘Who am I?’ and ‘The Unfinished Letter’ at CIFF

In his second feature film, “Who am I?”, American-educated Russian director Klim Shipenko delivers an ideal cinematic experience: gripping, twisted plot line; sincere, powerful performances; aesthetically appealing cinematography; and a subtle exploration of powerful philosophical questions. The plot of the film — which’s screening as part of Cairo International Film Festival’s International Competition — is …

DNE

Polanski’s ‘Ghost Writer’ steals the show at Europe’s Oscars

Roman Polanski’s political thriller "The Ghost Writer" swept the board Saturday at the European Film Awards, the continent’s version of the Oscars. The movie won six of the seven categories in which it had been nominated, including best film. Polanski, meanwhile, was named best director, to add to the Silver Bear he won at the …

DNE

CIFF recommended movies on Monday

Copacabana Directed by: Marc Fitoussi. Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Aure Atika and Lolita Chammah Synopsis: Boldly unconventional and cheerful, that’s how one could describe Babou. Never having cared about social conventions, she is suddenly faced with the realization that her own daughter is ashamed of her and therefore refuses to invite her to her wedding. Hurt …

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‘Jean Gentil’: First Dominican film screened at Cairo International Film Fest

The Cairo International Film Festival witnessed a rare first on Saturday at the Cairo Opera House: its first screening of a Dominican movie. The feature length film, “Jean Gentil”, is the work of Mexican-Dominican husband-wife team Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman. Based on the life of a real man named Jean Remy Genty, a …

DNE

Papyri found in Austria shed new light on Arab conquests

VIENNA: More than 250 papyri recently discovered in Austria’s national library have shed new light on the Arab conquest of north Africa and northwest Asia in the 1st century AD, say experts. The collection of documents, written in Greek and Coptic and dating from 643 and 644 AD, contain precious information on what the library …

DNE

World renowned Christophe Pillet designs for Alchemy Cairo

Alchemy Cairo, the new furniture line that is headed and designed by Karim Mekhtigian, one of Alchemy Design Studio’s three partners, debuted at the studio’s new store located in furniture retail mall Designopolis last month. Mekhtigian’s signature contemporary take on local design themes of geometric patterns, traditional items such as the local ahwa (coffee shop) …

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(Art) star designer Mekhtigian unveils big name collaborations

Karim Mekhtigian is not new to the field of design in Egypt. On the contrary, he has for quite some time played a large role as one of the three partners of design firm Alchemy Design Studio. Alchemy has been responsible for some of the North Coast’s most novel beach homes, and in Cairo, designing …

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Gallery vows ongoing protest against Smithsonian

A Washington art gallery pledged a round-the-clock protest Thursday against what it calls censorship by the Smithsonian Institution for removing a video that shows ants crawling on a crucifix after the Catholic League and members of Congress complained it was sacrilegious. Transformer Gallery manager Barbara Escobar said the small, nonprofit gallery will show the video …

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‘New Wave’ film legend Godard turns 80

"New Wave" director Jean-Luc Godard, who turned European filmmaking upside-down in the 1960s and who counts the likes of Pedro Almodovar and Quentin Tarantino as his modern-day heirs, turns 80 on Friday. The French-Swiss director shot to fame in 1960 with "Breathless" in which Jean Seberg played a cropped-haired American in Paris, following up with …

DNE

National Board of Review lauds ‘Social Network’

By Jake Coyle / AP The National Board of Review, widely considered a harbinger of the Academy Awards, has chosen “The Social Network” as the best film of the year. The NBR lavished a total of four awards on the film, naming David Fincher best director, Aaron Sorkin’s script best adapted screenplay and Jesse Eisenberg best …

DNE

Shorouk-Penguin partnership to promote cultural exchange

In a much-anticipated event at Manial Palace, Penguin Chairman and Chief Executive John Makinson and Dar El Shorouk Chairman Ibrahim Moallem signed a joint publishing agreement on Nov. 24. The Shorouk-Penguin partnership will support the translation and distribution of 12 Penguin Classics titles into Arabic and eight works of Arabic literature into English each year. …

DNE

Irish conductor Gleeson gets guest baton in Tehran

Irish composer Derek Gleeson, who has conducted orchestras throughout Europe, faced a bit of a learning curve in preparing to take the guest baton at the Tehran Symphony Orchestra this weekend. The 46-year-old music director of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra says he had to get familiar with a traditional Persian stringed instrument known as the …

DNE

Holbrook performs Twain on author’s 175th birthday

The crowd sang happy 175th birthday to Mark Twain before the lights went down at the Clemens Center, then laughed along with the nearest incarnation of the late author and humorist: Hal Holbrook. The 85-year-old actor once again put on his white suit and makeup and reminisced, wisecracked, smoked and scolded Tuesday night in the …

DNE

Gere, Binoche honored at CIFF opening

By Elizabeth Vossen With cameras flashing and the media ambitiously vying for their attention, glamorous film and television stars as well as industry professionals swarmed the red carpet Tuesday evening at the 34th annual Cairo International Film Festival. While the festival strove gallantly to achieve international standards, it fell somewhat short due to what seemed to …

DNE

Freedom to Create ends with celebration

After a week of events highlighting creativity in Cairo, Freedom to Create ended with an awards ceremony and concert celebration held at the Salah Eldin Citadel. The event was hosted by Egyptian actor Amr Waked, who is also the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa region, and Femi Oke, former CNN …

DNE

34th Cairo film fest opens with ‘Another Year’

Film aficionados are gearing up to indulge their love for the big screen with this year’s Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) selection, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 9. The opening film at the Cairo Opera House on November 30 was "Another Year" by acclaimed filmmaker Mike Leigh, a drama about an old married couple who …

DNE

Chinese artist in London protest on Ai’s ‘Sunflower Seeds’

A man breached security Saturday at Britain’s international modern art gallery to stage a demonstration on fellow Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s "Sunflower Seeds" exhibition. In a one-man protest about the difficulty of working as an artist, Cai Yuan walked on Ai’s artwork of more than 100 million porcelain "seeds," which cover 1,000 square meters (10,760 …

DNE

Bolshoi Ballet to beam live to world cinemas

Four performances of the Bolshoi Ballet are to be beamed live from Moscow to 300 cinema screens around the world as part of a tie-up with French movie house giant Gaumont-Pathe, the firm said on Friday. The shows will be broadcast over a six-month period starting December 19 on cinema screens in 12 countries including …

DNE

Court battle looms as hundreds of Picassos turn up, says report

A 71-year-old retired electrician is at the center of a legal battle after coming forward with more than 200 hitherto unknown paintings by Pablo Picasso, a French newspaper reported Monday. Experts who have examined the collection have estimated it could be worth some €60 million ($80 million), Liberation reported. Pierre Le Guennec wrote to Claude …

DNE

Review: ‘Love & Other Drugs’ sells same old potion

The studio bills Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway’s "Love & Other Drugs" as an unconventional love story. Maybe a bit, in its unusual setting, the world of prescription drug sales, and in its attempt to inject drama by arbitrarily giving an incurable disease to one of its romantic leads. Yet despite its dramatic pretenses and …

DNE

Climate activists in Egypt use art to send message

More than 200 students and environmental activists gathered Friday in the desert outside Egypt’s capital to form an image of a giant scarab visible from space to raise climate change awareness. The image of the beetle holding a sun in its pinchers — a symbol of resurrection for the ancient Egyptians — was documented by …

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