Have you been waiting to see an Egyptian-set film that does not feature Charlton Heston? I know I have. This weekend the Northwest Film Center will be showing five Egyptian films from the past eight years. Sure, cinema in Egypt doesn’t seem up to par as French films, but still, this offers an opportunity to see an Egypt that doesn’t involve pyramids or the book of Exodus. And as an added bonus, the films put on during the Film Center’s contemporary Egyptian series are rare presentations, unlikely to be seen elsewhere.
Have you been waiting to see an Egyptian-set film that does not feature Charlton Heston? I know I have.
This weekend the Northwest Film Center will be showing five Egyptian films from the past eight years. Sure, cinema in Egypt doesn’t seem up to par as French films, but still, this offers an opportunity to see an Egypt that doesn’t involve pyramids or the book of Exodus. And as an added bonus, the films put on during the Film Center’s contemporary Egyptian series are rare presentations, unlikely to be seen elsewhere.
And yeah, these movies are free with your Portland State ID
I Love CinemaNa’eem’s father tells his young boy that his name means “Heaven” but also adds his namesake is a place the child will never see. The reason? Well, for one Na’eem picks his nose. He also has a creepy predilection for pissing on people.
Even more egregious, according to the Christian father, is the kid’s love for film, something the young Egyptian obsesses over while looking at old movie posters via his toy View-Master.
As the story pans out for a glimpse of the rest of Na’eem’s life, it becomes apparent his stifled love isn’t the only thing being repressed by an over-bearing father. He also has a sister who can’t find love and a mother who lost her drive for artistic creation.
I Love Cinema shows the ways Christianity can be wielded as a blockade in a country we do not usually associate with the Western religion. This also is one of the film’s biggest weaknesses: the characters often snap to tightly too conservative Christian clichés.
After a doctor’s appointment, Na’eem says that he doesn’t like anyone who tells him how to live his life. In the end, it seems as though Na’eem becomes a product of an entirely different authority than religion, and it is the thing he loves best.
Leisure TimeAhmed, Amr, Hazem and Tarek are four college student friends with similar interests in smoking cigarettes, chasing girls and not studying. They live in Cairo, where apparently prostitutes and bad techno music provide the perfect backdrop for these self-involved and loathsome characters.
Like I Love Cinema, religion looms over the characters in Leisure Time–except this time. The religion is Islam. And in this film, these male college students seem untouched by Islam’s social requirements. The boys, as Ahmed remarks to his friend, should be able to do whatever they like. And they do. Often while their girlfriends sit at home.
As the film progresses these young men begin to show more depth to their characters, as the leisure they sought before begins to be replaced by something less leisurely, i.e life. (P.S. There is more peeing on people in this film. Weird.)
A Girl’s SecretLast year saw two mainstream American films “tackle” the issue of unplanned pregnancy. Sure, Knocked Up and Juno were entertaining films, but they offered little to the public debate about abortion and relationships.
Enter the 2001 Egyptian drama, A Girl’s Secret. This film explores, in depth, the pain two religious and prestigious families go through when their young daughters become pregnant.
The film begins with a birthday party for the young Yasmine. She is curious about the world, asking her parents about the birds and bees. Fast-forward a few years later and she is realizing the questions all-too painfully, as she secretly gives birth alone in her parent’s bathroom.
Often painful and very poignant, this film looks into a complex culture while struggling with questions some American films dare not ask.
Contemporary Egyptian Cinema(All screenings at Whitsell Auditorium)Free with PSU ID, $7 withoutI Love Cinema, June 6 at 7 p.m.Leisure Time, June 6 at 9 p.m.Women’s Love, June 7 at 6:30 p.m.Diary of a Teenager, June 7 at 8:45 p.m.A Girl’s Secret, June 8 at 6:30 p.m.The Magician, June 8 at 8:45 p.m.