60 films, 10 cities and a few surprises along the way.
There was once a time when Egypt’s collective conscious was very much in tune with the world’s artistic movements, trends and narratives. Now? Maybe not so much. The reason? That’s a story for another day. If we’re talking about film specifically, our intake rarely crosses outside the boundaries of Hollywood and the kind of slapstick, slogan-heavy ‘comedies’ that Egypt’s mainstream cinema seems so intent on pushing out.
The Panorama of the European Film, however, has been toiling ever so hard to change perspectives and serve up something a little different by showcasing the latest and most acclaimed cinema coming out of what, for most, is a largely unexplored cinematic territory – Europe.
This year, it’s set to take place between November 7 and 17 across several venues; Zawya’s new home, the renovated Karim Cinema, as well as Zamalek Cinema, with further screenings taking place at Institut Français du Caire de Mounira and Goethe Institut Cairo. But spreading its wings far and wide, this year the Panorama – as it shall hence forth be known in this article because the full name is just a little too long – is also going to Alexandria's Cinema Amir, as well as in Port Said, Ismailia and Gouna and there will also be one-off screenings in Assiout, Damietta, Mansoura, Minya, Qena and Zagazig.
These aren’t films you’ll find at your average cinema in Cairo, but with Zawya having taken the reigns of the annual feast of film in 2014, the Panorama has provided a unique chance for Egyptians to see a different type of foreign filmic import.
Split into several sections; the Main Narrative Features section will include the most acclaimed films from around the continent, while the Emerging Directors section will explore up-and-comers. There's also a special documentaries section, while influential Swedish filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman, will be honoured with a retrospective that will screen a selection of his films. The Surrealist Cinema section speaks for itself, as does the Children and Family section. One of the always interesting elements is Carte Blanche, which this year sees director of photography Abdelsalam Moussa, scriptwriter Mariam Naoum and director Abou Bakr Shawky – all Egyptians FYI – choose one film each to be part of the program. Overall, a whopping 60 films will be screened.
More than just a string of screenings, however, the Panorama will also feature a range of workshops and masterclasses – yeah, this is the real deal.
Photo from Endless Poetry (2016)