The eighth incarnation of The Panorama of the European Film is about to sweep cinema screens across the city once again, and this time, they're not stopping at Cairo. We headed to the opening conference of the festival to get the lowdown.
Attention film buffs, we have something coming up that will almost definitely please you. The Panorama of the European Film is back for its 8th edition and this time it’s expanded to other regions outside of Cairo, like Tanta and Menya. The panorama started back in 2004 when Misr International Films (Youssef Chahine) and Zawya collaborated with them on what has become one of Egypt’s most esteemed and anticipated cultural events. It has also become one of our favourite if not the absolute favourite movie outing in recent years.
If you haven’t been before, the PEF is a showcase of award winning European films from the last two years, all condensed and packaged for your viewing pleasure for a duration that spans over ten days. The Panorama of the European Film transcends the general forced exposure we are usually stuck with in Egyptian cinemas; it looks past commercial gain and fame, to bring to you something of much higher value and that is worthy of actually being on the Silver screen.
We attended the opening conference of the festival for a Q&A with founder Marianne Khoury who spoke about the panorama and how the demand for it has grown over the years through the audiences of Egypt, and now with the help of Zawya and social media the screenings are almost always full, and are thus expanding past Cairo, to Tanta, and Menya.
This installment of the PEF is no different; this year as its selection consists yet again of some of Europe’s finest. The European film selection acts as the main attraction, featuring most notably the Italian drama Mia Madre by Nani Moretti as well as the satirical The Lobster, which is about fantasy and love.
The Eastern European focus this year was a rarity that we were pleased to see, as Eastern European films are amongst some of the most difficult films for us to view here. However the cinema from that region is as exemplary as its other European counterparts. The Balkan focus this year features films from Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo.
Some of the sections from previous editions have been revamped while some are completely new, the most notable among the latter being The Emerging Directors section, the Carte Blanche, the Classics section, and the Documentaries section, which features the documentary Amy about the life of the late famous mudical icon Amy Winehouse. This year the panorama will also include a special tribute to Portuguese filmmaker Manoel De Oliveira who passed away earlier in the year. De Oliveira, who died at 106, only became recognised at the age of 70, and made most of his films in the later stages of his life.
Some other films we just can’t wait to see include the one shot phenomenon Viktoria by Sebastian Schipper, which was shot in a single take, as well as Deniz Gamze Ergüven's multi award winning film Mustang.
There’s no lack of diversity when it comes to the panorama, as there is something for everyone. The panorama is more than just a showcase of films; it’s about growing the minds of the viewer and educating the kids growing up with their collaborations with schools. Although we are in a day and age where the Internet and downloading is prominent, cinema is seeing a comeback as many are still yearning for that one of a kind cinematic experience that is unmatched by anything else.