Tuesday 19 October 2021
Director Mohamed Diab commented on the artist Sherif Mounir’s withdrawal from the screening of the movie “feathers” at the El Gouna Film Festival in its fifth session, accusing him of insulting Egypt’s image.
Diab said, through his account on the “Facebook” website: “Professor Sherif Mounir’s words are that the awards received by the movie Riches are a conspiracy from the West against Egypt, very dangerous words, especially since he is from a great artist.”
He added: “I will speak from my experience as a jury member at the Cannes Festival, and a member of the Academy of the Oscars. No person, neither by hinting nor by declaring his age, tries to influence the choices of the jury, whose members are distinguished artists from around the world. The management of any festival’s role ends with choosing Participating films and a point, and the artists who were members of the jury in the three major festivals, such as Hend Sabry, Nelly Karim and Mohamed Hefzy, are asked.
He continued: “Why are the films that go to festivals to remain about the poor or about problems? Independent films in the whole world are films that are outside the commercial production system, meaning films that cannot be produced, and this always remains films about marginalized people or people who have no voice, and what They are films that are not expected to earn money, so the makers of the work have the courage to make bold artistic choices, and this makes them tempting for festivals that are looking at new and different cinemas.”
He continued: “In 2019, the film that won the role of the Palm is the Japanese (Shoplifters), and in 2020, the one who won the same award is the Korean (Parasite) and then swept the Oscar, the two films about slums in first world countries and their country celebrated the two films and their makers, although the slums were attributed to the two countries. You do not remember”.
He continued: “What is distinguished in the movie Feathers is not poverty at all, but rather its director’s bold style and different way of narrating, and whether you like the film or not, we must commend that the film is a film with a different voice and taste, artistically, that is not present in Egyptian cinema. Poverty and problems cannot enter you into a big festival if there is no quality making or experimenting with groundbreaking cinema.
He continued: “A film with feathers in it is an abstraction of place and time, and poverty is a background to the story to the extent that the place is not like Egypt or anywhere in the world, even if the artists themselves are the ones who keep repeating accusations of the kind of distorting Egypt, this is a calamity, because this talk is an outbidding on censorship and over Film producers and festivals that choose films, and any film about the marginalized will be accused of falsification and it is difficult for it to be produced or approved. Unfortunately, this makes popular opinion always put festival films in the position of the accused: they definitely chose the film for a reason other than its artistic level.
He concluded: “Speech in which there is defeat and defeat, as if we do not have the ability to do a good thing, according to the logic of Professor Sharif, he would have withdrawn from the presentation of the great movie Kit Kat, in which he was the hero and played a great role, and we were deprived of the greatest Egyptian movie .. Omar Al-Zuhairi is a promising Egyptian director and deserves all of us greetings and encouragement. And a film of feathers praising and blaming him should be within the artistic framework only.”
The film “Feathers”, directed by Omar Al-Zuhairi, won the Grand Prize in the International Critics’ Week competition at the 74th Cannes International Film Festival, as well as the Fibresi Award for Best Film in parallel competitions at the International Festival.
“Feathers” is the first feature film directed by Omar Al-Zuhairi, and it witnessed production cooperation between France, Egypt, the Netherlands and Greece, and received support from many international bodies during its production stages.
Omar Al-Zuhairi co-authored the film with scriptwriter Ahmed Amer, about a mother who lives in the care of her husband and her children, a life that does not change and days are repeated between the walls of the house that she does not leave and does not know what is going on outside, and one day a sudden change occurs and her husband turns into a chicken, during a birthday celebration The youngest son, the magician errs and loses control and fails to return the husband who was managing all the details of this family’s life. This violent transformation forces the idle wife to take responsibility in search of solutions to the crisis and restore the husband, and she tries to survive what is left of her small family, and during these difficult days the wife passes A cruel and absurd change.