Focus on Iraqi film at Arab film fest in France

25th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - France's Arab film biennale opens Friday spotlighting the Iraqi cinema and paying homage to veteran Egyptian actress Madiha Yusri.

PARIS, June 24 (AFP) - France's Arab film biennale opens Friday spotlighting the Iraqi cinema and paying homage to veteran Egyptian actress Madiha Yusri.

The 7th edition of the festival, featuring more than 100 films and running June 25 to July 4, opens with Egyptian director Yussef Shahine's "Alexandria .... New York."

Tunisian producer Tarak Ben Ammar is honorary president of the event, being held in Paris and Marseille, while French actress Bulle Ogier will head the jury selecting the best of the 14 feature films being shown in competition.

Other members of the jury include Egyptian director Yusry Nasrallah, Lebanese writer Elias Khoury, Iraqi director Kassem Hawal, Spanish critic Diego Galan and Greece photo director Yorgos Arvanitis.

In homage to Madiha Yusry, who was born in 1921, seven of the 100-odd films she starred in will be shown, including Nasrallah's "Bab el Chams", a four-hour saga about the history of the Palestinian people that was at last month's Cannes film festival.

The Iraqi cinema meanwhile will also be in focus at the event.

The first screening in the country dates back to 1909 in Baghdad, where film studios were opened in 1948, but the industry really took off in 1959 after the launch of the country's official film body, the OGCT. This opened the way for the filming of musicals, westerns, thrillers, melodramas and movies with a social message.

From 1977 onwards, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein used the OGCT to make films praising the regime's economic and social reforms, but in the repressive 1980s many film-makers fled the country, then making movies from abroad, such as "Bagdad on/off", by Saad Salman, or Samir's "Forget Bagdad".

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

 

 

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