The 5th edition of Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) is scheduled to run between 17-23 March. The festival was established to remedy the lack of attention paid to African films in Egypt, with Luxor chosen to “de-centralize cultural or artistic events always organized in Cairo and Alexandria”
This year LAFF is honoring Omar Sharif, who passed away on the 10th of July 2015. Along with dedicating this year’s festival to the memory of Sharif, the organization will release Omar Sharif in the Eyes of the World, a book featuring a collection of articles about the actor, some in their original languages and others translated into Arabic as well as an introduction by film critic Ali Abou Shady.
‘Before the Summer Crowds’, (Abl Zahmet El-Saif) a film by Mohamed Khan, has been chosen to represent Egypt. There are four other Egyptian films competing in the short film competition: Aida by Maysoon El Massry, Expired by Islam Kamal, Wintery Spring by Mohamed Kamel and Jareedy by Mohamed Hisham, a Nubian language film about the displacement of the Nubian villages. The film features Tunisian singer Ghalia Ben Ali.
Here is an interview with the director (Arabic). Hisham speaks about the universal story that inspired the film, the longing to return home.
Other North African films set to screen in the festival include
Reveries of the Solitary Actor (Hamid Benamra-Algeria)
Starve Your Dog (Hicham Lasri-Morocco)
“Starve Your Dog is an emphatically surreal oddity pitched at ultra-niche arthouse and festival crowds. But it is noteworthy as part of a growing body of films addressing the aftermath of the Arab Spring in an arty, non-naturalistic manner.”
Never Were They Children أبدا لم نكن أطفالا (Mahmoud Soliman-Egypt)
Article in Arabic. The film follows the story of a woman with four children after her husband, previously the breadwinner, leaves them to marry a younger woman.
The Bread Road (Hicham Elladdaqi -Morocco)
More details (in French).
The Women of the Clock (Raja Sediki-Morocco)
More details (Arabic)
The Four Seasons (Mohamed Zran-Tunisia)
Roundabout in My Head (Hassen Ferhani-Morocco)
(Dans ma tete un rond-point, aka Fi rassi rond-point) goes behind the scenes at a central Algiers abbatoir with uneven but illuminating results. A glimpse into the working lives of the male employees, Ferhani’s feature-length debut touches lightly on wider issues connected with the Arab Spring.