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Cairo's Abuzz With Cultural Film Festivals This March

So far this month we've discovered the Japanese Movie Week at the Cairo Opera House and Ibero-American Film Week at Zawya - yay for keeping it cultured!

Cairo's killing it with arts and culture festivals lately, and we're loving it. There's a lot going on in the city that never sleeps, honouring the skilled creatives from every corner of the world - and from our own 'hoods right here in the Middle East. When it comes to film, though, for some reason we expect things like French film festivals and English film festivals, or perhaps even the occasional European film festival - not this month. This month we've uncovered Japanese Film Week and Ibero-American Film Week - and don't pretend to be cultured if you don't even know what Ibero-American is.

Sure, we all know our sushi, Japanese car models (and maybe even their history), and sometimes we might even mentally add to this list of vague memories of Japanese Anime cartoons that the not-so-cool among us used to watch on Spacetoon as children. But our knowledge of a now-mainstream dish and our pointing out car models in busy Cairo streets doesn't make us experts on the real Japanese culture; the intricate every day details of Japanese people and the way they deal with human dilemmas and traumas. From March 19th till March 22nd, The Japan Foundation Cairo Office will be holding its Japanese Film Week at the Artistic Creativity Centre at the Cairo Opera House. They'll be screening  some of the most recent Japanese movies, like Robo-G; Wood Job; Like Father, Like Son; Rent-A-Cat; and A Story of Yonosuke.

The movies will be exploring different themes ranging from light comedy to deeper human ones, such as loneliness and coming of age. In Rent-A-Cat, for instance, Sayoko helps people through a novel approach: by renting out cats for them. She does this after careful screening of the potential owners. However, throughout the movie we are struck by Sayoko’s own loneliness. This poetic irony and Sayoko’s attempts to break free from it basically make up the plot of the movie. In Robo-G - a comedy - three members of an electric appliances company enter a competition but something goes wrong with the robot they built very shortly before the competition. As a way to salvage their chance to win the competition, they hire an actor to hide inside the robot, tricking the audience and judges. 

On the same side of town but from the other end of the world, Zawya will be bringing Cairo a peek into Ibero-America. Still haven't figured out what that means, huh? Ibero-America refers to American countries where Spanish or Portuguese are the predominant languages - you know, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, those guys. Adding Spain and Portugal to the mix, Zawya will be screening 16 movies from these regions in partnership with more than 10 Ibero-American embassies. The running theme here is that all the movies will, in one way or another, discuss revisiting the country’s past while provoking important universal themes in a thrilling cinematic approach. The Ibero-American Film week will be taking place in Cinema Odeon, Downtown Cairo starting on March 16th and running until the 22nd. 

Many Cairenes like to boast about being cultured, what with our Starbucks drinks longer than our full names and all the snazzy Americanisms we choose to indulge in or incorporate into our lives. But - hey, guys - you know there's far more out there in terms of culture, right? There's an entire world worth exploring, and sometimes it comes right here to our doorstep and waits for us to embrace it. What are you waiting for?

Check out more details on Ibero-American Film Weekend Japanese Film Week here.