<![CDATA[rss-Arts & Culture]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Arts & Culture]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Idris Elba brings "Yardie" to Berlin International Film Festival]]>
"Yardie ... is a reminder of where we come from in England," Elba said at a news conference after a screening of his film.

The film follows the journey of D., a young gangster who loses his older brother to ghetto rivalry in Kingston, Jamaica.

Ten years after his brother's death, he is still traumatised. His adopted father, a drug dealer, sends him to London in an attempt to dissuade him from carrying forward the cycle of vengeance.

But his brother's ghost continues to haunts D. and he cannot rest until he takes revenge.

Elba said the film was inspired by the trauma of losing his father five years ago.

The 1992 novel by Jamaican-born British author Victor Headley on which the film is based was described by its publisher as the first popular title aimed at a black audience in Britain.

Elba said his film was not about "black people" but about Jamaican culture, adding: "I think it's a dangerous thing to categorize stories by colour. I am very much a storyteller by culture."

Through songs performed by D. and his brother during the movie, Elba wanted to explain and give context to Jamaican music and reggae for an international audience.

"Even Bob Marley's records, "Lively Up Yourself", "Survival" -- do these people outside of Jamaica really know what those songs were about, and what they meant to Jamaica?" Elba said.

"Yardie" is among around 400 films screening at the Berlinale. The festival runs until Feb. 25.]]>
2/23/2018 9:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Happy Birthday Drew Barrymore]]>
Born in 1975, Barrymore was the daughter of actor John Barrymore Jr and actress Ildiko Jaid, or Jaid Barrymore. Her parents soon divorced, with her mother getting Barrymore to act as soon as she was a year old, starring in commercials. While she first debuted in the surreal 1980 film “Altered States”, it was “E.T: The Extraterrestrial” two years later that turned the young little girl into a Hollywood star.

Alas, with fame came trouble; Barrymore was drinking by the time she was 10 and grew into a 'bad girl' image, which she exploited but led to harming her career. She started living on her own by the time she was 15, but found herself chasing controversy, especially after exposing herself on TV during the “David Letterman Show” in 1995.
She managed to turn things around when she founded her own production company, Flower Films. Eventually, she grew out of her bad girl image to become a romantic leading lady, finding a niche that she excelled at.

Here's a look at ten of her best roles:

E.T: The Extraterrestrial (1982)

Spielberg's beloved classic about a young boy who meets the titular ET also served as the world's first major introduction to the charming sweetness of a young Barrymore. She played little sister Gertie, who formed her own special little friendship with the alien visitor.

Firestarter (1984)

After “ET”, Barrymore began to take up more serious roles even while she was still a child; here she stars in an adaptation of a novel by Stephen King, where she portrays a troubled little girl with psychic powers, capable of starting fires just by thinking and on the run from government agents.

Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

Having shed her reputation as a bad girl, Barrymore started her voyage into the world of romance. One of her most notable early romantic films is this charming re-telling of “Cinderella”, this time set in France with the twist that the fairy tale was based on real events; Barrymore portrays Danielle, sent to live with a wicked stepmother after the death of her father. She finds hope and romance in a meeting with the Prince Henry (Dougray Scott), who she helps shape into both a better man and king. Leonardo Da Vinci's even there to help them out.

Never Been Kissed (1999)

The first film Barrymore worked on as producer, she also starred as the leading lady in this quirky rom-com about a newspaper reporter named Josie Geller, who finds herself going back to high-school for an undercover story. While High School's filled with bad memories, it also provides a chance for her to finally find love.

Charlie's Angels (2000)

Bringing the 1975 TV series to the big screen, Barrymore stars alongside Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz as the titular 'Charlie's Angels', three Private Investigators working for the mysterious Charlie, who use martial arts, espionage and their good looks to kick butt in secret missions. Barrymore also served as the film's producer.

Donnie Darko (2001)

Despite having a minor role in this surreal, mind-bending cult classic, Barrymore was instrumental in getting made, as she helped serve as producer, helping director Richard Kelly acquire the funds and actors needed to finish. Barrymore portrayed Donnie's quirky teacher, Karen Pomeroy.

Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)

Based on real events, Barrymore portrays single mother Beverly Donofrio, who had a bright future as a potential writer before becoming pregnant at age 16. Despite it all, she struggles to finish her education and pursue her dream career, but the pressures of parenting and her disastrous marriage threaten her dreams.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

George Clooney directed this adaptation of Game show host Chuck Barris's memoir, where he claims to have lived a double life as a CIA Hitman. Barrymore stars as Penny, love interest to Chuck Barris.

50 First Dates (2004)

Starring alongside Adam Sandler for this quirky rom-com, Barrymore portrays Lucy Whitmore, who falls in love with Sandler's character, Henry Roth. Just as Henry's ready to start a serious relationship with her, he discovers an odd aspect about Whitmore; she suffers from short-term memory loss, meaning she'll constantly forget about Henry, over and over. He doesn't let that stop him however; he's dedicated to making her fall in love, over and over again.

Gray Gardens (2009)

This HBO adaptation of a 1975 documentary of the same name tells the story of Edith Bouvier Beale (Jessica Lange) and her daughter Edith (Barrymore), or 'Big and Little Edith', the aunt and cousin to President JFK's wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. These two eccentric women lived away from society in the derelict mansion of Grey Gardens. ]]>
2/22/2018 8:35:52 PM
<![CDATA[Why is the entire world love Fairouz?]]>

She sang for Childhood

“Teery Ya Tayara” (Fly Plane Fly) (1967)

She sang for youth

“Shayef El Bahr Sho Kbeer” (Can you See How Big is the Ocean) (1967)

“Yese’ed Sabahak” (May your Morning be Cheerful) (2001)

She sang for love

“Kifak Enta” (How have you Been) (1991)

“Ana La Habibi” (I Belong to my Lover)

“Sa’altak Habibi” (I asked you Love) (1975)

She sang for Grief

“Za3ly Tawal ana wyak” (Our Sadness Prelonged) (1983)

She sang for Happiness

“Sahr El Layali” (Oh Sleepless Nights)

She sang for Music

“Oudoak Ranan” (Your Oud Sings)

She sang for flirtation

“Baadak Ala Bali” (You’re on my Mind) (1974)

“Habytak” (I loved you) (1970)

She sang for Contestation

“Ya Aked El Hagabyen, Katalteny Martayn” (You Eyebrow Man, you Killed Me Twice) (1967)

“Ma Kedert Neseet” (I couldn’t forget)

She sang for Nostalgia

“Shat Eskenriya” (Alexandria’s Beach) (1987)

She sang for Break Ups

“Adash Kan Fi Nas” (How many People were There) (1987)

She sang for Patriotism

“Watany” (My Country)

“Le Beirut” (To Beirut) (1983)

“Kestna El Arabiya” (Our Arab Story)

She Sang for Palestine

“El Kods El Atika” (My Jerusalem) (1987)

“Ana La Ansak Flestine” ( I will never forget you Palestine)

“Salamy Lakon Ya Ahl El Ard El Mohtala” (My Greetings to You, Residents of the Occupied Lands)

“Zahret El Meda2an” (Flower of all Cities)

She sang for Being Alienated

El Ghorba (Alienation)

She sang for Farewells

“Sar Lazem Awda’akon” (It is Time to Say Goodbye) (1997)

2/22/2018 3:36:14 PM
<![CDATA[New book unveils secret moments of Naguib Mahfouz’s life]]>
The book is comprised of intercepts and conversations that Mahfouz had with his friend el-Ashry; it also showcases seven years of the life of Mahfouz after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988.

Some of the chapters portrays the moments Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize, his encounters between cinema and books, his life at coffee shops, and his uncountable personal statements.

El-Ashry also explains about the events behind the painting and sculpture of Mahfouz by Ahmed Sabry and Abdelaziz Saab respectively. Both artistic works have not been exposed to the public to this day, according to a press release by the Academic Bookshop.

Publisher and head of the Academic Bookshop Ahmed Amin mentioned in the press release that el-Ashry’s book is worth reading as it contains special unknown moments of Mahfouz’s life.

2/22/2018 3:20:56 PM
<![CDATA[Amazon Studios to adapt its first space opera ]]>
Amazon has successfully acquired the rights to produce the first book in Bank's Culture series titled "Consider Phlebas". First published in 1987, the book is a far-future exploration of an advanced galactic society known as the Culture, which unites species from across the stars, including humans, under one Utopian society. Of course, it isn't all perfect in paradise; the Culture is under threat from the Idrians, highly religious and war-like aliens who have hired a shape-shifting hitman known as Horza in order to retrieve a powerful piece of Culture technology; a lost Artificial Intelligence known as a Mind.

The works of Banks have been considered literary treasures amongst science-fiction enthusiasts, and the enduring popularity of his works has seen multiple attempts by Hollywood to buy the rights to adapting his worlds. Now, Amazon has won that war, enlisting Brad Pitt's production company Plan B Entertainment to produce the series while the estate of the author will serve as executive producer.

Screenwriter Dennis Kelly is reportedly working on the script according to The Verge.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has stated that a mission for the company is to “find its Game of Thrones”. The dominance of Netflix has seen Amazon attempt to pick up the slack, having bought rights to develop properties based on sci-fi classic “Ringworld”, and even Tolkein's “Lord of the Rings”. It remains to be seen as to whether or not their efforts will bear fruit, but the digital giant is certainly not holding back in acquiring what it can.

If “Consider Phlebas” proves successful, Amazon may have struck gold; before his death in 2013, Banks had filled the “Culture” series with 10 massive books in total, each a standalone story that together form a vast science-fiction epic.
2/22/2018 2:52:07 PM
<![CDATA[The story behind ‘The Merry Widow’ operetta ]]>
“This operetta will be staged in Egypt for the third time after a long [pause],” Erminia Kamel, artistic director of Cairo Ballet Company told Egypt Today. She continued that late renowned director Abdel-Moneim Kamel took the initiative to introduce this operetta to the Egyptian Opera scene for the first time in 1990s. A performance of the opera was held then but it was directed by Abdallah Saad; this time it is directed by Mahdy El Sayed.

“The Merry Widow” revolves around the story of a woman born in a small eastern village, who then marries a rich old man leaving the poor country. The woman returns to her country as a rich widow and the country’s governor starts to woo her into marrying one of the country’s inhabitants as an attempt to help the country with her wealth. The widow suddenly meets her first lover who at the beginning refuses love her again after she left him for another man. The widow marries her first lover at the end of the operetta and ends up donating a large amount of money to save her country’s future.

Erminia clarified that the performance’s scenario will be the same as the original story except that it will be conducted in Arabic. When Kamel first directed this operetta specifically, he insisted to direct it in Arabic to have the audience more involved dramatically in the play itself.

As for her expectations, Erminia believes the audience will enjoy the operetta, “There will be many artists creating a beautiful world on the stage; actors, singers and beautiful orchestra by the prominent musician Hisham Gabr,” she stated. It only consists of two acts. The operetta is not only solely based on a romantic plot, but is also largely comedic.
2/22/2018 2:45:22 PM
<![CDATA[Biopic explores secret scandal behind 'Pippi Longstocking']]>
"Becoming Astrid" by Danish filmmaker Pernille Fischer Christensen exposes the little-known backstory behind one of the world's most enduring girl characters, with her gravity-defying red plaits, abundant freckles and superhuman strength.

While still a teenager in conservative Sweden in the 1920s, the then Astrid Ericsson had an affair with her boss, the married editor-in-chief of the local newspaper, and fell pregnant.

The film examines the wrenching choices she was forced to make as a result, and the life lessons she drew.

"What happened here in this story made Astrid a really, really strong person," Fischer Christensen said. "One of the things she might have learned from this is you have to think for yourself.

"(Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel) Kant also said this but Astrid Lindgren says these things in a very, very simple way that just enters you when you are a child."

Fischer Christensen, 48, who called Lindgren "one of the most innovative and influential artists of our time", said Lindgren and her characters set an example for generations of people.

"I would not be the same person if I had not had Pippi," she said.

- Cast out -

The movie, which drew enthusiastic applause and a lot of tears at a press preview, introduces Astrid as a teenager living on her family's farm in a close-knit but judgemental tiny community.

Taken with her writing talent and independent streak, the editor, Blomberg, offers her a job but quickly falls in love with her and they begin a discreet affair.]]>
2/22/2018 12:28:23 PM
<![CDATA['Star Wars' Mark Hamill to present award at Oscars]]>
Hamill will attend the Oscars, March 4, four days before he is honored personally with his Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

The actor, now 66, joked on Twitter: "Note to self: 1) Talk fast enough so the orchestra doesn't try to play me off. 2) No 'R2-Me Too' jokes. 3) After opening the envelope, don't say 'La La Land.'"

The last quip references last year's unprecedented Best Picture mixup, when that movie was read out instead of the real winner "Moonlight."

Other presenters on the big day at the Dolby theater include Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Eva Marie Saint, Wes Studi, Kelly Marie Tran and Zendaya.

As for that star of Hamill's: "Star Wars fans from around the world and a galaxy far, far away will be excited to hear that legendary actor Mark Hamill will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"We are proud to add this extraordinary talent to the historic Hollywood monument," said Ana Martinez, Producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

Hamill will receive star number 2,630.]]>
2/22/2018 12:24:45 PM
<![CDATA[Spanish Xavier Puigmartì to hold exhibition at Mashrabia ]]>
One of the artworks that is presented at the gallery - Official Website of Mashrabia Gallery

The major theme of the exhibition is “Landscapes” as it will present natural views especially those of Lake Qarun in Fayoum, where the artist has been working in his own atelier for many years.

One of the artworks that would be presented at the gallery-Press Photo

This is not the first time for Puigmartì to present his works in Mashrabia as his exhibition, "Memories are not for sale", was also held at Mashrabia in February 2017.

One of the artworks that is presented at the gallery - Press Photo

Most of Puigmartì’s works feature mural drawings with fictional figures, symbols and icons at play. His belief in freedom and democracy also is well represented in his paintings.

Puigmartì is a multidisciplinary artist born in 1952. Since 1982, he has showcased his works in 35 solo exhibitions held in Egypt, Spain, the United States, France, Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Switzerland. However, he considers Cairo his second home.

Besides his artworks, he produced and directed five short movies shot in Egypt in 2009, which were showed at the Cervantes Institute and the National Center for Children´s Culture.

One of the artworks that is presented at the gallery - Press Photo ]]>
2/21/2018 8:36:49 PM
<![CDATA[ Mashrou El Saada colors Nubians’ life]]>
With the hope of protecting its heritage and keeping its Nubian colorful atmosphere, a 50-member project known as “Mashrou El Saada” (Project of Happiness) goes there every year, and 2018 is its fourth phase on the island.

Mashrou El Saada, an NGO that uses color therapy to brighten up the lives of the less fortunate, goes every year to Heisa in Nubia. This year marked their fourth stage on the island, having taken place January 25-29, 2018. During the four stages, they painted 39 houses on the island.

They also introduced human development activities in their program to preserve Nubian heritage. One of the objectives of Mashrou El Saada in this project is to support the native women of Heisa. This was done through holding a three-day brass workshop, where they were able to learn how to make handmade jewelry, aiding them with their productivity and helping diversify their sources of income.

Houses painted by Mashrou El Saada – Official Facebook Page

Houses painted by Mashrou El Saada – Official Facebook Page

cap 5
Brass workshops held for women's Heisa-official Facebook Page
2/21/2018 5:54:55 PM
<![CDATA[Original score of first Egyptian Opera gifted to Cairo Opera]]>
Saber said that the sheets are extremely valuable, both artistically and historically,as they are the scores to the first Egyptian opera evercomposed and presented at Egypt’s Opera House in 1947.

He added that Rashid was inspired by local and popular stories and appliedaninternational style in his composition. After producing “Antonio’s Death”, Rashid’s reputation becamewell-known.

The plot of the opera is inspired by the play“Cleopatra’s Death”, which waswritten by the great poet Ahmed Shawqi. “Antonio’s Death” is composed of three chaptersrevolving around the life of Roman leader Antonio.

This is part of the ministry of culture’s initiative “Your Heritage is a Responsibility,” launched by the book house in BakAl-Khalk onMondayJanuary22.

This initiative aims to gather and document Egyptian heritage in all fields by collaborating with society. The campaign is under the supervision of Minister of Culture Inas Abdel Dayem and the Head of General Organization of Books andNationalDocuments Ahmed al-Shouki.

The campaign addresses all Egyptians who have any kind of rare, valuable documents or media content related to Egyptian heritage. People can submit these documents to the Organization of Books and National Documents to preserve them for academic and scientific purposes and for the benefit of society.
2/21/2018 5:25:49 PM
<![CDATA[SIFF offers a sneak peek at its second edition in Sharm El Sheikh]]>
Prominent Egyptian director Mahmoud Kamel was the only Egyptian present on the festival’s international panel, according to artistic critique and directing manager of the festival Osama Abdel Fatah.

Seif Abdel Ramhman delivering his speech at SIFF Press conference, February 18, 2018 – Egypt Today/Mira Maged

Kamel will be participating in the festival with the film “Dreams I Never Had”, which was a joint directorial by him and Palestinian director Iyad Hajaj. Abdel Fatah pointed out that Kamel is well-known for directing several noticeable films such as “Adam’s Village”, “Mekano” and “Adrenaline”, among others. He has participated in many local and international festivals and has received several awards.

“Dreams I Never Had” will screen in the festival as one of the American independent films among 28 films participating in the international race.

The festival will be screening “I Tonya” for the first time in Egypt and the Arab region in the opening ceremony on March 3. The film is directed by Crai Gillespie, written by Steven Rogers, and is nominated for three Oscars. The film stars Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney.

In collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, Maxwell Stoneman, the U.S. Embassy’s representative, announced that the festival will be hosting the American director and producer Izy Chan for seven days starting March in Sharm El-Sheikh.

During her presence in Sharm El-Sheikh, Chan will give a master class for rising directors and producers featuring some effective skills and technicalities in the field.

Chan is also an Australian researcher focusing her work in societal and cultural directions. These directions were portrayed in her film “The Big Flip” where she merged artistic and societal interests. “The Big Flip” will be among the films participating in the festival.

The program “American films’ screening” will also include the screening of the two films “Custody” directed by James Lapine, and “Chef” directed and written by John Favreau.
Gamal Zayda, the festival’s head, described this program as an artistic and cultural bridge that links between varied cultural backgrounds in different regions.

“I am happy to be honored for something I’ve gladly done throughout my whole life, for myself and for people,” Layla Taher, prominent Egyptian actress, said in the conference. Taher will be honored for her whole artistic journey in the festival. Her film “A Wife is Urgently Needed Now” will screen during the festival.

Prominent Egyptian actor Seif Abdel Rahman attended the conference to shed light on some of the remarkable works of Youssef Chahin, the late renowned director who was known as "the pioneer of social realism". The festival will host a group of seminars and will celebrate the 10th death anniversary of the late director.

Hadil Ali, founder of “Bloom Fashion Institute” will be participating in the festival in collaboration with some Lebanese fashion designers featuring some trendy costumes. Aly expressed her pride in being part of such an international event. She believes that fashion has always been an important part of cinema.

Major General Ahmed Hamdy who is responsible for tourism promotion, clarified the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Tourism to facilitate the attendance of press and ordinary citizens in the festival.

2/21/2018 4:15:24 PM
<![CDATA[Harry Potter’s legend Alan Rickman to be “Always” commemorated ]]>

Rickman was born in England in 1946, having shown a strong interest in the arts since a young age. After the death of his father at age eigth, he received a scholarship to Latymer Upper School.

He later studied graphic design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, having originally wanted to be an artist rather than an actor. Indeed, Rickman actually found success pursuing this line of work; upon graduating from the Royal College of Art, he opened up a graphic design business called Graphiti.

The allure of theatre pushed Rickman's future in a different course however. He decided to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when he was 26, and by 1978, he had managed to enter the prestigious ranks of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he performed in various adaptations of Shakespeare's work such as "The Tempest".

He didn't enjoy the experience however, considering the work to be churned out with little regard for the actors. Rickman, naturally gifted with a smooth, distinctive voice, later put it to good use as a voice actor for BBC radio during much of the 1980s.

Fame would start coming his way in 1985, when he performed as Vicomte de Valmont in the play "Les Liaisons Dangereuse", which writer Christopher Hampton had created specifically for him. When he performed the role once again for the Broadway rendition of the play, American audiences were wowed; Rickman earned his first Tony Award nomination for the role. The play even became a film called "Dangerous Liasons", but alas, Rickman was denied the role made for him. Instead, his cinematic debut came in "Die Hard".

Released in 1988, Rickman starred counter the film's hero John McClane (Bruce Willis) as the villainous Hans Gruber, a German terrorist who captures the Nakatomi Plaza during Christmas, with McClane's wife being one of the hostages. Having made it into Hollywood, Rickman would continue starring in various film roles, the best of which included tragic romance "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", where he portrayed the Sheriff of Nottingham.

During the 90s, Rickman earned a Golden Globe award for "Sense and Sensiblity" and a Primetime Emmy Award for the TV movie "Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny". He even directed his first movie, "The Winter Guest".

With the dawning of the 21st century, Rickman stepped into one of his most famous roles as Severus Snape, Harry Potter's cruel yet heroic teacher. He would remain across the franchise in all eight movies, beginning with 2001's "Sorcerer's Stone" and seeing it through all the way until the end in "The Deathly Hallows, Part 2" in 2011.

Rickman never stopped acting until the end, starring in quite a wide variety of roles; from portraying American President Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniels’ "The Butler" (2013) to voicing the talking Caterpillar in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" (2010).

Alas, Rickman passed away of cancer on January 14, 2016, at the age of 69. He is remembered fondly both by the generations he has reached in his movies and the many fellow actors he has worked with, who knew him for the irreplaceably precious talent he was.

2/21/2018 2:49:01 PM
<![CDATA[Stallone denies false death report, 'still punching']]>
The actor has confirmed that rumors of his death on social media have been falsified, through an Instagram post where he told fans to "Please ignore this stupidity… Alive and well and happy and healthy… Still punching!"


Please ignore this stupidity… Alive and well and happy and healthy… Still punching!

A post shared by Sly Stallone (@officialslystallone) on

Stallone's younger brother, Frank Stallone, also went on social media to disconfirm the news. In his twitter Twitter post, he wrote that he is "very protective" of his older brother, finding no humor in the fake post.


The rumors, first posted on Monday, even went as far as to include images of an aging Stallone during one of his film sets to support false its claim that the actor had passed away from a secret battle with prostate cancer. While Stallone and his agents were asleep, his devoted fans worldwide were mourning what they assumed to have been his death.

The "'still punching'" actor has a busy future ahead of him given that he's due to direct "'Creed 2'", a "Rocky" spinoff starring Michael B. Jordan. This isn't even the first time he's been reported dead; previous rumors of his untimely demise circulated during September 2016.

Celebrity death rumors are nothing new, and the spread of social media has only ensured they've become more of a problem. Previous notable examples include actor Charlie Sheen dying of either a snowboarding accident or heart attack, the former having also been used for rumors on comedy actor Eddie Murphy's death as well.

Beloved martial arts actor Jackie Chan is a recurring victim of these rumors, with over 10 Facebook pages on his death, with causes ranging from dying on set during a stunt gone wrong to dying peacefully in his sleep.

Names such as Paris Hilton, Tom Hanks, Eminem, Morgan Freeman and Bon Jovi are just a few more examples of recurring celebrity death hoaxes. Reasons behind making these claims vary, with some sites using them as a means of drawing in audiences to increase their ad revenue or even to fill out surveys.

Mostly, word gets around by people unaware of the truth. Regardless of the veracity of these claims, the fast-paced nature of social media ensures at least a few people will fall for this every-time.

2/21/2018 12:27:27 PM
<![CDATA[Tahtib: an evolving Egyptian art partaking international recognition]]>

Tahtib is of pharaonic origins, as there are frescos showing it as a training exercise done by the armies in the pharaonic age. Geretly mentioned that in the Middle Kingdom – which is clear in the frescos in old Cairo and Upper Egypt – any viewer will realize that they had the same energy and the same movements. Although he is not sure whether ancient Egyptians had a dance or not, Geretly assured there are numerous frescos all over Egypt featuring Tahtib.

“Mallawi Dancing School” troop performing at the French Cultural. Photo by Mira Maged.

“I call it ‘Fakeloric’,” Geretly the artistic founder of El Warsha company told Egypt Today in an interview expressing his disappointment due to labeling the art of Tahtib as “folkloric”, making it like a showbiz over the last fifty years. He believes that Tahtib is a powerful art that doesn’t need to be attractive.

“The French Cultural Institute facilitated the collaboration between France and the dancing troupe to stage the French Theater,” Victor Salama, manager of communication at the French Cultural Institute, told Egypt Today.

Salama emphasized the institute’s vision, which is based on merging between the French and Egyptian cultures. The institute also aims for this fusion to be introduced internationally, especially on French stages. He also stated that places like the French Cultural institute could be a significant channel to commence such arts by rising generations.

“Mallawi Dancing School” troop performing at the French Cultural. Photo by Mira Maged.

“The fact that it is old doesn’t mean that it is not contemporary,” Geretly told Egypt Today. He clarified that Tahtib is an art that is advancing constantly. The troupe performs in “Mawlid” celebrations, the Arabic word means “birth” and it’s the annual celebration of a deceased saint according to Oxford Dictionary. They also perform in many weddings, bringing up new movements.

Gretely has also pointed out a new choreography reshaped as a result of the latest collaboration with contemporary dancer and choreographer Karima Mansour, the troupe learned a new movement and gave it the name “Karima’s Movement”.

Egypt Today has previously spoken to Mansour, who is also founder and artistic director of Cairo Contemporary Dance Center, in an


where she mentioned that Egypt is filled with potential and talent however it takes so much efforts to encourage rising artists “through allowing them to understand their bodies, new movements, and a way of life that would pave way to their actual dreams.” She said.

Geretly also pointed out that the most significant initiative that the troupe took to avoid being categorized as folkloric is collaborating with contemporary dancer and choreographer Dalia El Abd. Together they tried to find a common ground.

“Mallawi Dancing School” troop performing at the French Cultural. Photo by Mira Maged.

Although the origins are inspired by ancient Egyptians, it became a tradition commenced by Upper Egyptians, as for them there is a great honor in holding the stick, considering it a part of prestige of dignitaries.

People in Upper Egypt consider their Tahtib skills as something to be proud of, refusing to tell their own secret techniques to others. However, El Warsha managed to find an Egyptian originally from Sohag governorate, whose father was a legend in the artistic world of Tahtib, to train the troupe professionally.

Through many decades, Tahtib has been turned into a kind of dance with a stick. There are several forms of Thatib; some may look aggressive if it is practiced by men as a means of self-defense, while some Tahtib dances are less aggressive, like those practiced at celebrations and weddings.

Gretely previously directed a theatric play, “Spinning Lives”, in which he featured the art of Tahtib. Egyptian actor Sayed Ragab played the role of Abu-Zeid El Hilali, who was forced to fight against his father with the sticks in a battle, but God’s hands stop the fight.

He is the founder and artistic director of “El Warsha” (The Workshop) company. At the beginning, the company was specialized only in reviving the art of storytelling, an inherited and pervasive tradition in Egypt; however, the company then started to reintroduce other traditional forms of art, such as songs, tales and sketches, from all over Egyptian culture.

2/21/2018 12:20:23 PM
<![CDATA[Sheeran and rising star Dua Lipa set to shine at Brits]]>
The ceremony at the cavernous O2 Arena is expected to have a political edge, with many stars due to wear small white roses to highlight sexual harassment in the industry, and to show solidarity with its victims.

Sheeran's album "Divide", a global chart-topper, is on the shortlist for the "British Album of the Year", along with Dua Lipa, grime artist Stormzy, singer Rag'n'Bone Man and hip-hop artist J Hus.

In the "British Male Solo Artist" category, Sheeran is also up against Stormzy and Rag'n'Bone Man as well as former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and hip-hop singer Loyle Carner.

He is also running against Dua Lipa for the best video award.

Singer-guitarist Sheeran, 27, has already been honoured in 2018, winning the Grammy Awards for "Best Pop Vocal Album" ahead of Lady Gaga and Coldplay, and "Best Pop Solo Performance" for single "Shape of You".

His latest album "Divide" has smashed many records, including on streaming App Spotify, where it received 57 million listens on the day of its release.

Dua Lipa, 22, is the latest artist to break through on YouTube, and her single "New Rules" has surpassed one billion views on the video-sharing platform.

She is nominated in five categories, including "British Female Solo artist", along with Paloma Faith, who won the award in 2015, Kate Tempest, Jessie Ware and Laura Marling.

She is nominated in five categories, including "British Female Solo artist", along with Paloma Faith, who won the award in 2015, Kate Tempest, Jessie Ware and Laura Marling.

Born in London to Kosovo-Albanian parents, Dua Lipa tried modelling as a teenager before launching her musical career with a series of covers published on YouTube.
Her eponymous debut album, released in mid-2017, received rave reviews, with influential magazine NME praising her voice and a sound mature beyond her years.

Other categories include "British Group", where the nominees are Gorillaz, London Grammar, Royal Blood, Wolf Alice and The xx and "International Group", which will be fought out between the Foo Fighters, Haim, The Killers, LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire.

Budding soul sensation Sampha, who won the coveted Mercury Prize in 2017, is nominated alongside Dua Lipa, J Hus, Loyle Carner and Dave in the "Breakthrough" category.

Taylor Swift, Lorde, Bjork, Pink and Alicia Keys have all received nominations for the "International Female Solo Artist" award, with Childish Gambino, Beck, DJ Khaled, Drake and Kendrick Lamar all in the running for the male equivalent.

The Brit Awards have recognised the cream of British pop music since they were first held in 1977, but often attract controversy.

Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker invaded a performance by Michael Jackson in 1996 and then-deputy prime minister John Prescott was doused by a bucket of ice water in 1998.

This year's nominations have attracted criticism from the Daily Telegraph, which lamented the triumph of the "popular over the interesting, the successful over the plucky, and the beige over the bold."
2/21/2018 11:08:12 AM
<![CDATA[France's Jean-Marie Le Pen defends Vichy leader in memoirs]]>
Petain "was legal and legitimate", the co-founder of the National Front (FN) party says in "Fils de la Nation" (Son of the Nation), the first volume of his memoirs set to be published on February 28.

For four years after Marshal Petain -- a World War I hero then aged 80 -- announced France's capitulation to Nazi Germany on June 17, 1940, he led so-called Vichy France in the centre and the south of the country, with its headquarters in the spa town of the same name.

Meanwhile the Nazis occupied the north of France including Paris, and the Vichy regime collaborated with their relentless campaign against Jews.

Petain passed legislation that saw Jews -- around 150,000 of whom had fled to the south believing it to be safer -- subjected to severe discrimination similar to that in the Nazi-occupied north.

Under Petain, the Vichy regime put to death up to 15,000 people and helped deport nearly 80,000.

According to extracts published Tuesday in the French press, the 89-year-old Le Pen writes: "I'm all for discussing the policy of collaboration, its faults and its excesses, on condition that we examine the faults and excesses of everyone."

When General Charles De Gaulle launched the French Resistance in his historic radio address from London on June 18, 1940, "I quickly realised that for Gaullists... the enemy was more in Vichy than in Berlin," Le Pen writes.

Le Pen, who in 1972 co-founded the far-right National Front now led by his daughter Marine Le Pen, adds that De Gaulle "remains for me a terrible source of suffering for France."

He also takes personal stabs at De Gaulle, saying that when he saw him for the first time in 1945 "he seemed ugly to me, and said a few banalities at the flag-draped podium. He didn't look like a hero; a hero should be handsome."

Le Pen, who is estranged from his daughter, has been convicted repeatedly for anti-Semitic and xenophobic comments.

He was booted out of the FN in 2015 for his views on the Nazi gas chambers -- he has called the Holocaust a "detail of history" -- and for defending the Vichy regime.

However a French court ruled the following year that he should be allowed to remain as the party's honorary president.
2/21/2018 10:59:54 AM
<![CDATA[Berlin filmfest offers dark vision of E. European 'drift']]>
The filmmakers show a region at a crossroads, divided between old loyalties to authoritarian Russia and forces trying to avert a drift away from the European Union and the West.

"They're isolated, don't want to share anything with other countries, they reject liberal values -- this is the vision which is gaining strength in former communist countries," said Czech director Jan Gebert, who presented "When the War Comes", a chilling documentary about a Slovak paramilitary group.

For three years, from 2015 to 2018, the 37-year-old filmed the rise of "Slovak Recruits" (Slovenski Branci), one of the country's leading far-right organisations.

The militia was founded in 2012 by Peter Svrcek, a then 20-year-old archaeology student, who drew up to 200 young middle-class men to join him in the woods and undergo weapons training on the sidelines of their "civilian" lives.

The guns they use have been disabled but feel real in the clenched fists of the weekend warriors.
Their ideology glorifies "Slavic blood", ultranationalism, hatred of refugees and foreigners, rejection of Europe and its values and a desire for a strong state on the model of Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Their goal? To halt the "invasion" of migrants, fight against "evil" and cure a "sick Slovak society", Gebert said.

"It looks like Europe has to take moral lessons again," said Arpad Bogdan, a 37-year-old Hungarian director of Roma origin, who premiered his second feature film "Genesis".

The poignant movie focuses on a series of vicious racist attacks against Roma people in 2008-09 in Hungary in which six people including a child were killed.

"Genesis" examines how a tragedy targeting a minority contributes to a rot that is penetrating the entire society.

The film is inspired by events in Hungary but "it is not a Hungarian film", Bogdan told AFP, because the violence and "evil" shown in "Genesis" have infected many parts of Europe.

This includes countries in the west of the continent, he said, such as Germany, where attacks against asylum seekers spiked at the height of the refugee influx in 2015-16.

"A lot of disturbing things are happening in Europe," the Hungarian director sighed, lamenting the populist, anti-migrant course charted by Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary since 2010.

Gebert said much of eastern Europe was gripped by an "atmosphere of fear", with deep anxiety about "terrorism, migration, Brexit, crisis in the EU, war in Ukraine" all feeding the rise of openly xenophobic political movements.

"They feel that history is on their side, and feel encouraged by the victory of Donald Trump and the victories of populists" in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, he said.

"They feel that they are not extremist anymore when all these politicians say the same things as they do."

He said groups such as "Slovak Recruits" were only "the most visible thing of what is going on in eastern Europe, like the tip of the iceberg" of a movement to ensure that "former communist countries (keep) drifting away from the EU".

Bogdan said he had placed his faith in cinema as a force to shore up a more inclusive version of society.

"I would say I'm an optimist as an artist but not as a Hungarian person," he said.

"I believe that films can transform society because I think that films are supposed to teach hope, a fresh start. This is something that 'Genesis' is meant to do."]]>
2/21/2018 10:50:22 AM
<![CDATA[Political humour thriving in Orban's 'illiberal' Hungary]]>
The man, shouting slogans at passers-by that are sometimes used by the government, may sound ridiculous, but that's because he's meant to be. He's a character from a YouTube video created by young comedian Tibor Bodocs.

"The central Asian, post-Soviet, illiberal atmosphere of Hungary under Orban is ripe for parody," says Bodocs, the hardest-hitting of a new wave of young comedians tackling politics.

His remark refers to a landmark 2014 speech by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in power since 2010 and on course for re-election on April 8.

In it, Orban said he was moulding Hungary into an "illiberal state", citing Russia and Turkey as models.

Since then he has tightened his grip on media and other institutions and launched a series of campaigns featuring billboards on almost every street. They warn about Brussels interference and liberal US billionaire George Soros whom Orban accuses of alleged efforts to force migrants on Hungary.

"I make it all look ridiculous, and try to make those who believe in the propaganda think twice," Bodocs told AFP after a show in Dunakeszi near Budapest, part of a recent sell-out national tour.

During an intense hour-long routine the lanky 35-year-old fired off scathing impersonations and skits targeting Orban and oligarchs in his circle, with the audience of some 500 people laughing throughout.

Last year Bodocs began adding short video clips to his repertoire.

"More people can watch material on a smartphone at a red light than come to a show," he said.

A popular clip featured a parody of Lorinc Meszaros, a former gas-fitter and close ally of Orban and now one of Hungary's richest men, reciting a love poem in honour of his friend.

The character fulminating against foreigners in his car "is the subconscience of Orban's system, surfing the waves of propaganda, driven mad by fear of anything non-Hungarian," said Bodocs.

"Viktor's themes like foreign threats and Muslim invasions are primitive, but strong, opposition politicians simply can't compete," he said, when asked why he focuses on Orban.

Bodocs occasionally performs at the Dumaszinhaz comedy club in Budapest, where in recent years regular political comedy nights have seen comedians improvise on the latest news.

A recent cabaret included sketches on the 10 best ways to waste EU funds, the anti-migrant wire fence Orban erected on Hungary's border, and the prime minister's closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"These days you hear more truth from the comedians than from the politicians," Zsigmond, a 32-year-old engineer told AFP during a break.

The Dumaszinhaz team has also produced viral clips including satirising one of Orban's own regular Facebook videos in which he visited an adoring pensioner in a village.

"It's fun to play this guy, a god in his own comic way," Orban mimic Andras Peter , 39, told AFP. "There is something strange in him, distorted by being in charge for so long".
Gergely Litkai, 41, who runs the club, says that during the migration crisis they regularly mocked government policies instilling mortal fear of migrants.

"We tried to convince people to think a little deeper," he said.

In recent months widespread alarm over the issue has led to the police being called after Sri Lankan student volunteers at a home for the disabled were mistaken for migrants.

In another incident, a countryside hotelier who offered to host some refugees had his car tyres slashed by fretful townsfolk.

Orban later said the locals' anger was understandable and "very right".
Its leader Gergely Kovacs, 38, told AFP that "the political atmosphere is so hate-filled it needs humour to keep people sane, one supporter told us we were the reason he hadn't left Hungary".

In 2016 when the government sought approval at a referendum of its rejection of the EU's migrant quota system, over six percent of the electorate heeded the MKKP's call to spoil their vote: "a stupid answer to a stupid question," said Kovacs.

The result -- 98 percent of those who voted backed the government, a "sweeping victory" according to Orban -- was declared invalid due to low turnout.]]>
2/21/2018 10:40:14 AM
<![CDATA[Instead Brazilian director Jose Padilha ("Narcos") explores the harrowing events from multiple perspectives: that of the hijackers and their hostages, and of the Israeli leaders forced to decide wheth]]>
The movie recounts what is often called the most audacious hostage rescue mission ever staged, Israel's 1976 "Operation Thunderbolt" in Uganda, but aims to be more than a tale of military heroism.

Instead Brazilian director Jose Padilha ("Narcos") explores the harrowing events from multiple perspectives: that of the hijackers and their hostages, and of the Israeli leaders forced to decide whether to negotiate or fight.

Several previous movies, said Padilha, had depicted "a gigantic military feat and ignored the interaction between the hostages and their hijackers and the political aspects in Israel".

Padilha, a previous Berlinale winner for "Elite Squad", said he had met former hostages, flight crew and Israeli political and military veterans to get beyond the "standard military narrative".

The battle between Israel's then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and the more hawkish defence minister Shimon Peres illustrated why there is still no Middle East peace, said the director.

"You see the dynamic, you realise how difficult it is for a politician in Israel to negotiate" with the enemy, Padilha said, adding that this was true on both sides of the conflict and "still true today".

- Echoes of Holocaust -

The hijacking of a Paris-bound Air France flight from Tel Aviv was a joint plot of Palestinian militants and their far-left German backers, who saw themselves as anti-imperialist revolutionaries.

The militants -- the two Germans are portrayed by Daniel Bruehl ("Good Bye, Lenin!") and Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl") -- took over the flight after an Athens stop-over.

After a refuelling stop in Moamer Kadhafi's Libya, they headed to Entebbe, Uganda, then ruled by brutal dictator Idi Amin, who is described in the film as a "lunatic" who feeds his enemies to crocodiles.

The divergent motivations of the kidnappers become evident when they separate out the Israeli passengers in scenes that chillingly evoke the Holocaust.

Bruehl's character Wilfried Boese, a book-seller who considers himself an anti-fascist urban guerrilla, is portrayed as increasingly troubled.

As the cracks widen, a Palestinian militant angrily tells Boese: "You are here because you hate your country. I am here because I love mine."

- 'Into his head' -

The fear of a Jewish bloodbath also drives Rabin's cabinet, where Peres puts together a plan involving 100 commandos in under-the-radar flights who launch a surprise raid using a fake presidential limousine.

On day seven, the special forces shot dead all the kidnappers and scores of Ugandan troops while rescuing all but four of the remaining 106 hostages.

The only Israeli soldier killed was unit commander Yonatan Netanyahu, the elder brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On their way out, the Israeli forces blew up Uganda's fleet of Soviet MiG fighters, although the film does not depict the fiery end of the operation, instead interspersing the battle scenes with a dance choreography.

The new version, based in part on testimony from flight engineer Jacques Lemoine, shows Boese deciding against massacring the Jewish passengers before he goes down in a hail of bullets.

"The hostages had got into his head," Padilha told a press conference on the movie, which is screening out of competition, adding that this had helped to "save their own lives".

Asked whether he was ready for a "backlash" against showing "terrorists with a conscience", the director said that, although they do "terrible, inexcusable things... terrorists are human beings"]]>
2/20/2018 4:20:56 PM
<![CDATA['The Merry Widow' operetta at Cairo Opera House Feb. 22-26]]>
“The Merry Widow” contains dazzling music and an interesting plot – a mix of farce and romance with operetta spirit. In 1961, late acclaimed soprano Ratiba El-Hefny performed the leading role in Arabic at Cairo's Old Opera House.

It is expected that the next show of “The Merry Widow” will be performed by soloists from the Cairo Opera Company, the Cairo Opera Orchestra, the Cairo Opera Choir and the Cairo Opera Ballet Company headed by Erminia Kamel.

“The Merry Widow” will host a number of talents from the Cairo Opera Company, such as Hanna Glawari: Iman Moustafa; Count Danilo: Moustafa Mohamed/Hisham El Guindy; Valencienne: Mona Rafla/Ingy Mohsen; Camille de Rosillon: Amr Medhat/Tamer Tawfik; Baron Zeta: Abdel Wahab El Sayed; Niegus: Ezzat Ghanem/Elhamy Amin; Cascada: Ibrahim Nagui; Saint Brioch: Ossama Ali; Olga: Laila Ibrahim; Praskowia: Ossama Tantawy; Bogdanowitsch: Fouad Ali; Kromow: Ramez Lebbad; Sylviane: Nesrine Roshdy; and Pritschitch: Ossama Gamal.

2/20/2018 3:32:35 PM
<![CDATA[Samira Said to perform in D-CAF's opening concert]]>
This concert will celebrate the International Women's Day. This is the first time D-CAF hosts such a shining star from the MENA region. This concert is expected to be the biggest reveal D-CAF has ever made since the festival's first edition.

The festival's artistic director and performing arts curator, Ahmed el Attar recounted that the festival management chose Said because her music experience is quite similar to D-CAF’s experience, as both present splendid and distinguished performances to the contemporary art scene.

Attar added that said successfully managed to take a different route; she is considered the only singer that challenged everyone including herself, and changed her style more than once. Her latest album contained several songs that are different in style and lyrics from the songs being presented now on the music scene; in addition, she always manages to collaborate with international artists, proving that she is always open to creativity and change, just like D-CAF.

Who is Samira Said?
Saeed was born in Rabat, Morocco, in 1958; she started singing when she was only nine years old. She was discovered through participating in “Mawaheb”, the famous Moroccan talent show, broadcasted at the time on the Royal Moroccan TV network.

Although she has recorded some songs in Moroccan, such as "Kifash Tlakina" (How we Met), "Fayetli Sheftek Shi Marra" (I've Seen You Once), "Sarkouh" (They Stole Him), and "Al Behhara" (The Sailors), most of her songs are in the Egyptian dialect such as "Mahaslesh Haga" (Nothing Happened), "Ayza Aeesh" (I Want to Live) and "Hawa Hawa" (Air Air), among others.

Said’s songs reflect various topics that discuss women's issues. She has a wide fan-base from different ages and from all over the MENA region. Said’s musical repertoire includes about 46 music albums, and more than 500 songs. She received praise from the late great Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez, and composer Baligh Hamdi. She's been living in Egypt for years. Said has collaborated with many international artists; she successfully reintroduced, and evolved the Arab music scene in early 2000s when she collaborated with Cheb Mami in “Youm Wara Youm” (Day after Day) which was considered a new wave in music back then.

Said was the first singer from the MENA region to be chosen by the international Eurovision Song Contest to perform her song “Bitaqat Hub” (Love Card). Samira won many international awards, including the World Music Award, and the BBC Music Award.

The D-CAF's opening concert will feature a diverse and outstanding all-female line up of talented and rising local, regional, and international musicians from different genres; Dutch band Pink Oculus who blend Hip-hop, Soul, Jazz, Electro and pop into a genre-transcending music, and French Elbi who has created a distinct and authentic musical identity, merging RnB/soul, afro and house music, among other Egyptian female singers and bands.

The seventh edition of (D-CAF) will take place from March 8 – 29, 2018.

The festival’s seventh edition will present a group of unique, new and vivid shows. D-CAF events which occur every year in downtown will feature artists from Egypt, the Middle East and various other countries from across the world, performing different artistic work including plays, films, visual arts and music.

“D-CAF's Art and Disability” program in this year’s edition will host several performances, events and workshops. Also, the “Performing Arts program” this year includes 14 shows from theatre performances to dance collaborations.

Moreover, Actress Clémentine Baert will enthrall the audience with her theatre piece "So, Is it There?"

D-CAF once again presents the latest edition of “Arab Arts Focus” program; after its major success in “Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017”. AAF comes back to Cairo with more than 15 new performances, featuring talents from six Arab countries; Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Iraq, Palestine, and Tunisia.

Furthermore, “Before the Revolution” play, directed by Ahmed el-Attar, will be featured in Egypt for the first time after touring Europe over the past four months. This play promises a unique performance, with actor Ramsi Lehner and actress Nanda Mohammad.

D-CAF's most unique program, “Urban Visions” will present six public space dance pieces on Cairo's streets. The Australian show, “Trolleys”, will feature five exceptional dancers and physical theatre artists, using supermarket trolleys. D-CAF's Urban Visions program will also contain four more dance performances.

This festival’s newest program is the “New Media Arts” which will offer seven stunning alternative, experimental and interactive performances with projections, music, and light installations. The Hungarian “Noise Box by Glowing bulbs” comes to downtown along with different other stunning performances.

D-CAF's “Visual Arts” program has been revamped into a mentorship, in Collaboration with “Medrar” program. This year the program will be slightly different, introducing the “Meet the Artist” Open Studio.

The “Film and Literature” program this year explores the link between text and image-based storytelling, through a series of award-winning international films that have been adapted from books. Through a master class and a round-table discussion, the audience will get a behind the scenes look into how graphic novels get to the big screen.

Meanwhile, the festival's “Special Events” program offers a series of theoretical and practical workshops for professional and amateur artists.

2/20/2018 2:26:44 PM
<![CDATA[Saoirse Ronan, Oscar veteran at 23, laughs off her chances]]>
Spread out on a sofa in a luxury Paris hotel in a "Mary Magdalene, sorry Maggie Marilyn" pyjama suit looking like a vamp from "The Great Gatsby", she is joking about her bad skin.

The sideburns of acne she has in "Lady Bird", the acclaimed coming-of-age movie that has won her a third Oscar nomination at the age of 23, were very much her own, she laughed.

"No, they were real!" she told AFP. "I had a bad skin at the time so we just didn't cover it up.

"Weirdly I never got bad skin as a teenager at all," said the Irish actress, who was first nominated for an Academy Award when she was only 13 for "Atonement".

"It was only when I was 21 or 22 when I was doing loads of press that I got it. So, it was you that did it," she laughed.

Ronan is often talked about as one of the most talented actors of her generation -- she won a best actress Golden Globe last month for "Lady Bird", her "sensational" portrayal of a Sacramento teenager in the last year of high school whose lofty ambitions are often at odds with reality and her family's precarious finances.

She is also one of the most down-to-earth, seemingly unphased by having grown up in front of the camera as a child actor from the age of eight.

"My Mam came away with me on every job till I was 18, and my Dad is an actor, so they understood the pitfalls."

- Puberty before the cameras -

Even so, "going through puberty on screen can very easily be terrifying. You are so aware of what you look like, and to have a lens pointed at your face," she told AFP as she promoted "Lady Bird" in the French capital.

"So you have to have the attitude that it is more important to get what you are doing right than worry whether you look pretty."

Doing good work has been Ronan's watchword since she was very young, carefully choosing quality films rather than playing the fame game.

"I was offered an action film at the same time as 'Atonement' (when she was 12) but I knew even then that was not the direction I wanted to go in," she said.

She was a more obvious choice to play an Irish immigrant in "Brooklyn", and Ronan insisted that hooking up with indie star Greta Gerwig for her directorial debut on "Lady Bird" was also a "no-brainer".

"When you read a script where one of the introductory scenes is someone arguing with their mother and jumping out of a car it is a massive selling point. With Greta I knew it would be smart, interesting and funny," she said.

Gerwig, who made her name both writing and starring in "Frances Ha" and "Mistress America" with director Noah Baumbach, said it was a marriage made in heaven.

Even though the film is semi-autobiographical, Gerwig said she didn't really "understand the character until (Ronan) started saying the lines... she is this flawed but amazing heroine."

- 'Momentous' moment -

And for her part, Ronan said she cried when Gerwig was nominated for an Oscar. Incredibly it was only the fifth time that a woman had been nominated for best director.

"She deserves it so much. It was a really momentous thing for the times we are in to have at least one woman nominated and completely deservedly. That means a lot to all of us," said Ronan.

In terms of empowerment, "getting to play a confident teenage girl" also mattered hugely, she said.

"It's so rare to see a teenage girl just own it in a film -- someone who just goes for it and isn't afraid to fall on their face. There is a strength and a bravery you can catch from that person."

Ronan is acutely conscious that "Lady Bird" has already become a key cultural reference for many teenage girls.

"She is quite outspoken which I am too. She is trying to find her people and her places. When I was around 18 I knew (like her that) I needed to get out and find who I was.

"Like Greta and Lady Bird I wanted to go to New York. I was only there eight months but it was enough to say, 'I've found myself!'" she laughed.

As for finally lifting an Oscar next month at the third attempt, Ronan insists that she "hasn't thought about winning. When you win you have to do all the press afterwards, and you don't get a chance to have a dance. So it is also quite nice losing because you can enjoy the night."]]>
2/20/2018 11:30:13 AM
<![CDATA[Carabao: Thai rocker turned drinks mogul energising English football]]>
His prominence will baffle many football fans, not to mention some of the players celebrating the first silverware of the season at London's Wembley Stadium.

But in Thailand, the 63-year-old Yuenyong Opakul is a legend.

He is the lead singer of the band Carabao, and co-founder of the energy drink company now sponsoring the English Football League (EFL) cup.

Better known as Aed Carabao (pronounced "At"), he helped catalyse the band's massive following into consumers of high-caffeine drinks.

Its giddying ascent since 2002 now sees Carabao outsell Red Bull in Thailand, where hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of the sugary beverages are slurped down each year.

With an eye on new markets, Carabao has ploughed cash into English football, hoping for a fast-track to global brand recognition.

The company has spent 30 million pounds ($42 million) to sponsor Chelsea's training kit, a further 18 million pounds on a three-year EFL cup contract as well as paying to have its name emblazoned on Reading FC's strip.

It's been a "very successful" investment so far, says Aed.

"English people are very focused on football. They didn't know us before but people are talking about the brand now," he says sitting in his large garden in a Bangkok suburb.

- Open goal -

Thai money and English football have had a strong chemistry ever since billionaire ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra bought Manchester City in 2007.

He flipped it just over a year later for a handsome profit to Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi whose oil fortune has hoisted City into football's elite.

Thailand's duty free magnate Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was next in, buying Leicester City for about 40 million pounds ($58 million) in 2010 and clearing the club's large debts.

Six years later the Midlands minnows stormed to the Premier League title, the players celebrating in shirts stamped with Vichai's "King Power" brand.

Sheffield Wednesday are owned by Dejphon Chansiri of the Thai Union family -- the world's biggest tinned tuna producers -- while Singha beer has partnered with Manchester United.

A commercial link with English football guarantees swift "international exposure", says Pavida Pananond, an academic at Thammasat University's Business School in Bangkok.

"This strategy is not new. Red Bull has done it before with Formula 1 and extreme sports," she added of the part Thai-owned energy drinks firm.

- 'Play until I die' -

Aed Carabao is no stranger to brand-building.

The one-time architecture student who studied in the Philippines, hence the band's Tagalog name, has spun fame and fortune from his distinctive country-rock style, rasping voice and acerbic lyrics skewering corruption, inequality and forces of reaction.

He designed the skull-and-horns Carabao logo, which is across band paraphernalia -- and even copyrighted a hand sign that represents the eponymous buffalo.

The band has toured Thailand for more than three decades cultivating a loyal base of nostalgic fans but also youngsters drawn to his stage presence and lyricism.

"Like BB King I'll keep playing until I die," Aed says with a smile, tucking a streak of black hair into his bandana, a Carabao-branded mug on the table in front of him.

The band emerged in the early 1980s with an unabashed pro-democracy agenda following a decade of political turbulence when crackdowns killed hundreds of student activists.

Several songs were banned by authorities, gifting Aed something of a bad-boy reputation.

But age and commercial success has diluted Aed's taste for controversy, more so in the social media age where junta-run Thailand's sharply polarised politics tend to chew up anyone who speaks out.

"I am not on anyone's side," he says, rejecting criticism he has sold out. "But if the people aren't educated about democracy, we cannot move forward."

Carabao is a colourful name for a trophy that has traditionally relied on more parochial sponsors, including Britain's milk board and Rumbelows, a now-defunct white-goods retailer.

The Thai tie-up also endured an inauspicious start.

In June the EFL was forced to apologise after error-strewn graphics appeared on their online broadcast of the first-round draw for the Carabao Cup.

The third-round draw stirred more consternation after it was held in Beijing, demanding a pre-dawn wake-up by British fans to follow it live.

Yet the timings reflected Carabao's relentless marketing push, concerned first with seeking a foothold in China's massive market.

As he prepares to travel to London for the cup final, the genial singer is in similarly uncompromising mood.

"I'll be dressed cool... maybe in a suit because it's cold, but everything else the same," he said.]]>
2/20/2018 11:26:51 AM
<![CDATA[Box Office: 'Black Panther' Heads to Glory With $235 Million Holiday Weekend]]>
“Black Panther,” starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has blown away its original tracking in less than a month. The film, which carries an estimated $200 million production cost, had been tracking to bring in between an impressive $100 and $120 million when first estimates emerged on Jan. 25.

Since then, “Black Panther” has become far more than just a popular tentpole title. Instead, it’s become a must-see event as it veers into record-setting territory. Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film. The film has continued to shatter all projections since then.

On Sunday, Disney estimated that “Black Panther” would take in $218 million for Presidents Day weekend, then revised that number upward on Monday morning by an astounding $17 million. The movie finished Sunday with a $60.1 million -- the second best Sunday in industry history, just slightly behind 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” record of $60.6 million.

With 73% of schools closed, “Black Panther” business should decline 45% from Sunday for a $33 million Monday and $235 million four-day debut.

“Black Panther” has also pushed the 2018 year to date domestic gross up 6.9% to $1.65 billion, according to comScore. It is the highest three-day debut ever for a February film and the fifth highest of all time behind only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $248 million, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at $220 million, “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million and “The Avengers” at $207.4 million.

“Black Panther” has demolished the record for the largest President’s Day weekend, blowing past “Deadpool‘s” 2016 mark of $152 million. Overall North American moviegoing for the four-day period should hit an eye-popping $340 million -- far above the $278 million mark in 2016, according to comScore.

Boseman portrays T‘Challa, the ruler of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society, who conflicts with Michael B. Jordan’s Eric Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong‘o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star.

“Black Panther” should dominate moviegoing for several weeks. Three new films launch next weekend with initial tracking on Feb. 1 showing Warner Bros.’ comedy “Game Night” was projecting an opening in the $15 million to $20 million range on Feb. 23-25, while Paramount’s sci-fi thriller “Annihilation” debuting in the $12 million to $15 million area during the same weekend.

Sony’s second weekend of family comedy “Peter Rabbit” is finishing a distant second with about $23 million at 3,725 sites for an 11-day total of $54 million, followed by Universal’s second session of “Fifty Shades Freed” with $19.4 million at 3,768 venues. The finale of the erotic trilogy has taken in $78.6 million domestically so far.

Sony’s ninth weekend of its action-comedy “Jumanji: Welcome to Jungle” finished fourth with $10 million at 2,800 venues. The 62-day domestic total has hit $380 million, just behind 2005’s “Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith” for 32nd spot on the all-time list. “Jumanji” declined only 21% from the eighth weekend and its ninth weekend is the ninth highest of all time.

Clint Eastwood’s thriller “15:17 to Paris” followed in fifth with $9.1 million at 3,042 locations for an 11-day total of nearly $27 million for Warner Bros.

Fox’s ninth weekend of “The Greatest Showman” finished sixth with $6.4 million at 1,936 venues to bring its 64-day domestic take to $156 million. Lionsgate’s stop-motion animation comedy “Early Man” launched quietly in seventh with $4.2 million at 2,494 sites.

Fox’s fourth weekend of “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” slid 58% and took in $3.2 million at 1,892 venues in eighth place for a 25-day total of $54.6 million. Lionsgate-CBS Films’ third weekend of Helen Mirren’s “Winchester” came in ninth with $2.6 million at 1,479 sites for an 18-day take of $22.2 million.

Fox’s ninth weekend of Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” rounded out the top 10 with $2.5 million at 1,050 venues for a total of $77.1 million. That was enough to edge Pure Flix’s launch of its faith-based Biblical story “Samson” with a modest $2.3 million at 1,249 sites.

Fox Searchlight’s 12th weekend of “The Shape of Water” came in 12th place with $2.1 million at 957 locations for an 81-day total of $53.7 million. The Guillermo del Toro fantasy romance scored a leading 13 Academy Award nominations on Jan. 23.]]>
2/20/2018 11:22:35 AM
<![CDATA[Aswan governor receives Djamila Bouhired to attend AWIFF]]>
ASWAN, Upper Egypt, Feb 20 (MENA) - Aswan governor Magdi Hegazi has met with Algerian nationalist Djamila Bouhired, who arrived in the Upper Egyptian city Monday to take part in the second edition of the Aswan Women's Film Festival.

This edition, which kicks off here Wednesday, has been given the name of Bouhired.

It will last until February 27.

A delegation of Aswan women received Bouhired upon her arrival at Aswan airport.

A troupe also performed folk dances that reflect the culture of Aswan.

Hegazi said Bouhired is a model to follow and an embodiment of sacrifice for the sake of the homeland.

He said he was keen to receive Bouhired, whom he called a symbol of freedom.

Bouhired said she is very happy with the reception, noting that Egyptians had been a source of inspiration and determination during the 60s.
2/20/2018 11:08:17 AM
<![CDATA[The black pearls, Nubanor, to perform at El Mastaba]]>
El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music is a unique organization that aims to preserve Egypt’s rich and exceptional arts heritage by searching for the long lost cultural documents and traditional music of Egypt and re-introducing them to the public, reviving the Egyptian cultural heritage and protecting it from extinction, according to El Mastaba official website.

El Mastaba is a network that includes various bands, including Bedouin, Sufi, Nubian, Upper Egyptian, and Sudanese bands. Bands under El Mastaba go on many tours and participate in many international festivals.

Joining El Mastaba in 2010, Nubanor presents traditional Nubian music, dances, and songs. The band has performed in many governorates across Egypt, and has participated in international tours and festivals, such as the WOMAD festival in England in 2012, and the 2017 Jerash Festival, among others.

2/19/2018 2:45:31 PM
<![CDATA[Sakia Festival for Short Feature Films will last from March 6-7]]>
El-Sawy Cultural Wheel put certain conditions on all the participating movies. The competing short movies should be presented to the festival management on DVD and should not have been produced at a date prior to January, 2017.

Any short movie that has previously participated in the anterior editions of the festival is forbidden to participate in this edition. The films’ duration should not exceed 45 minutes. The filmmaker should present a brief about the short movie plot, its cast and some photos to its scenes.

The festival awards are divided to three sections, all to be received by the directors. The first award is Sakia Golden award which worth LE 3000 in addition to shield of honor and certificate of appreciation. The second award is Sakia Silver award which is LE 2000, shield of honor and certificate, and the third award is Sakia Bronze award which is the same but its monetary value is LE 1000.

El-Sawy Culturewheel is one of the prominent cultural centers in Egypt. The main cultural venue in Zamalek district has five stages situated in the River Hall, the Wisdom Hall, the Word Hall, the Sakia Garden and the Bostan El-Nil.

The halls are all equipped with cinema screens and various kinds of audiovisual aids. Three halls are available for hosting workshops and seminars.

2/19/2018 1:57:28 PM
<![CDATA[What you need to know about Aswan Women Film Festival ]]>The short movies competition jury consists of three prominent filmmakers; Egyptian director Ayten Amin, Italian director Emanuel Grozea and Russian director, actress and script writer Yuliya Zakharova.
The second Aswan International Woman Film Festival announced that this year’s edition will bear the name of famed Algerian heroine Djamila Bouhired. The festival will kick off on February 20.
President of the National Council for Women (NCW) Maya Morsy received Algerian activist Djamila Bouhired, who arrived in Cairo on Sunday.

The Algerian activist was born to an Algerian intellectual father and a Tunisian mother who was the first to plant the love of the homeland in Djamila, reminding her that she is Algerian, not French. Despite being educated in French schools, Djamila refused to sing the French anthem, and instead she would say “Algeria is our Mother”.

Djamila continued her school education and then joined the Institute of Tailoring.
She joined the Algerian National Liberation Front when the Algerian revolution broke out in 1954 to fight against the French occupation at the age of twenty. She joined the ranks of the “Fedayeen” and was the first female volunteer to plant bombs on the path of the French colonial soldiers.

She was shot in the shoulder and arrested in 1957; after a long journey of torture in the French prisons, she said her famous sentence, “I know you will sentence me to death, but do not forget that my death will kill the value of freedom in your country. You will not prevent Algeria from attaining freedom and independence”.
This is not the first time for Bouhired to visit Egypt and surely not her first time to be honored in the Arab world, and especially in Egypt. She was officially received and honored by former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was known for his support of the Algerian resistance against the French occupation since 1952. Moreover, she was the subject of Egyptian director Youssef Chahine’s 1958 film "Jamila the Algerian”; also, a number of prominent Arab poets wrote about her as a freedom icon and an example of the women who play remarkable roles in the fight for freedom and liberation.

Legendary Lebanese singer, Fairuz, glorified and sang for the Algerian Revolution through “A Letter to Djamila”, a song released in 1959 and dedicated to Algerian female fighters in the Algerian revolution, among whom heroine Djamila Bouhired is mentioned. On the international level, Bouhired was one of three Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) female bombers depicted in the 1966 film “The Battle of Algiers” and the documentary film “Terror’s Advocate”.

Currently in her 80s, Algerian nationalist, activist and revolutionary Bouhired is considered a fighter for freedom, an Arab icon and a heroine.

The festival released its second edition poster designed by Tamer Ragab. The poster is a white rectangular space dominated by the face of a girl inside a large vacuum.
This face, which is representative of women in general, is made up of pictures of Aswan. The images were mixed in a way to show the imagination and charm of cinema and the dreams of the Egyptian women. Accompanying the text at the bottom is a portrait of Djamila Bouhired.

The second edition of the festival will present the following workshops:

• Scriptwriting Workshop supervised by scriptwriter, Naser Abdel Rahman.
• Documentary Film Workshop supervised by director, Aida el Kashef.
• Cartoon Workshop supervised by Ashraf Mahdy.
• Film Workshop supervised by Dutch director, Rosh Abdel Fatah.
• Cinema Workshop supervised by director, Marieke Van Der Lippe.

Egyptian movies "Zahret al-Sabar" (Cactus Flower) and “El Bahs ‘An Umm Kulthum” (The Search for Umm Kulthum) will participate in the second edition of Aswan International Women Film festival.

“El Bahs 'An Umm Kulthum” movie tells the story of the most prominent singer in the Middle East. The movie highlights how she managed, as an Egyptian woman, to break down and penetrate through all social, religious, political and national barriers existing in the Egyptian society at the time to pursue her dream.

Famed and talented Egyptian actress Yasmine Raees played Umm Kulthum in the movie. “The Search for Umm Kulthum” participated in a number of prominent international film festivals, such as the 74th edition of the Venice International Film Festival that was held from August 30 to September 9, 2017.

“The Search for Umm Kulthum” also participated in the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival that was held from September 7 to September 17 and the 61st London Film Festival, which ran from October 4 to October 15. The movie is directed by Shereen Nishat.

"Zahret al-Sabar" revolves around an Egyptian actress named Aida, who has provincial roots and is struggling to make it to the top. Aida suddenly finds herself kicked out of her house, along with her old, reclusive bourgeois neighbor, Samiha.

With no money and nowhere to go, the two women meet a young man, Yassin, while roaming the streets of Cairo. The three of them attempt to find shelter for the night. Their journey is full of tough moments and challenges, but is unravelled as a journey of self-discovery for all three of them.

An extraordinary friendship unexpectedly grows between Aida, Samiha and Yassin like a dazzling flower blooming from a thorny cactus. The movie was directed by Hala al-Khoussy and stars Menha al-Batraoui, Salma Samy and Marwan al-Azab.

Egyptian actress Menha al-Batraoui won the Muhr Feature award for best actress at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) for her role in the movie. "Zahret al-Sabar" was the only film representing Egypt in the Muhr Feature competition at the 14th DIFF ceremony.

The second Aswan Women International Film Festival will be held under the auspices of the ministries of culture and tourism and the sponsorship of the National Council for Women.
The festival's rules stipulate that long films (feature - documentary - motion) must not be less than 60 minutes, while short films (feature - documentary - motion) are not to be more than 30 minutes long.

Accordingly, films that do not meet these conditions will be screened in the official section outside the competition. The second edition will honour famous Egyptian star Mona Zaki, Egyptian director Attiat el-Abnoudy, director and producer Marian Khoury, as well as costume designer Nahed Nasrallah.
2/19/2018 1:30:22 PM
<![CDATA[Award-winning Bosnian Roma actor dies penniless]]>
"We were together yesterday, he was all right, and then this morning I received a call and I was told he was dead," the actor's brother, Suljo Mujic, told AFP on Sunday.

The actor, who died in the impoverished hamlet of Svatovac, had been suffering from ill health in recent months.

"He was very worried because of his financial situation. In January, he tried to find a way forward in Germany, but he came back," the grieving brother said.

Mujic in January said he had sold his acting trophy because he could no longer afford to feed his family.

He had been given a hero's welcome when he returned to Bosnia after winning the award in Berlin for playing himself in the movie "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker".

The film, which tells the true story of Mujic's fight for medical treatment for his wife after she suffered a miscarriage, also won the Jury Grand Prix at the Berlin festival.

But the success never translated into wealth for Mujic, who had to return to his old job gathering scrap metal for a few euros a day.

- Children went hungry -

When he could no longer afford to cover his family's most basic needs, he was forced to part with his Silver Bear, selling it online for 4,000 euros ($5,000).

"First I sold an old car, then some personal items, and then it was the Bear's turn," Mujic said at the time.

He said the decision to sell the trophy was "very difficult" but "my children had eaten almost nothing for three days".

The Berlinale festival on Sunday issued a statement on Mujic's death, saying it was "greatly saddened" by the news.

In 2014, Mujic sought asylum in Germany in hopes of pulling his family out of despair. But his request was rejected.

In January, using some of the money he made from the sale of the trophy, Mujic bought a bus ticket to Berlin, where he hoped to tell organisers of the film festival how much his family was suffering.

This year's Berlinale, which is ongoing, opened on February 15.

But Mujic returned home from Berlin before the festival got under way, after he was told he was liable for a fine that he could not afford to pay, dating back to the time he and his family had filed for asylum in Germany.

Mujic's funeral will be held on Wednesday, his brother said.

Up to 75,000 Roma live in Bosnia, but according to the local NGO Atlantic Initiative only five percent of them have official employment.

In 2016, Human Rights Watch said Roma remain "the most vulnerable group" in Bosnia, facing "widespread discrimination in employment, education, and political representation".]]>
2/19/2018 11:52:43 AM
<![CDATA[Lebanese mark mysterious Zambo festival in Tripoli]]>
The origins of the annual celebration remain unclear and it only seems to take place in a seaside suburb of Tripoli, a Muslim-majority city with an Orthodox minority.

But that has never dampened revelers, dozens of whom hopped and danced their way through Tripoli's streets, glittery hats on their heads and sceptres in hand, a day before the beginning of the fast for eastern-rite Christians.

"Zambo, zambo, zambo!" they chanted.

"This festival is more than 100 years old, passed on and enjoyed from generation to generation," said Beshara Hassan, 48. "People come from all over to take part, from all sects."

Lebanon, a country of over four million, is home to 18 religious communities.

Muslims and Christians often take part in each other's festive holidays -- but no one is quite sure where Zambo came from.

Ahmad Sawalhi, 25, is a native of the Mina suburb of the northern city of Tripoli where Zambo is fervently celebrated.

"Zambo is a Greek custom, but it only happens here in Tripoli before our Christian brothers begin Lent," said Sawalhi, who is Muslim but takes part every year.

Ibrahim Touma, another Zambo enthusiast, told AFP that the tradition dates back at least to 1932, but perhaps even earlier.

"There's no doubt that the real origin of the festival is unknown," he said.

One theory is that it originated with Lebanese visiting from Brazil and Argentina, Touma said, while another traces it to Senegalese forces stationed in Lebanon during World War II.

"My grandmother used to tell me that Senegalese units used to put on these evening masquerades to calm down people in Mina, who were scared of the Vichy (French) bombing," said Touma.

After a two-hour parade through Tripoli, the crowd reached the shores of the Mediterranean and ran into the sea, washing off their paint to cleanse themselves before Lent begins.

2/19/2018 11:44:54 AM
<![CDATA[Netflix-funded banner sparks row at Marseille game]]>
The global streaming service giant reportedly stumped up between 20,000 and 30,000 euros ($25,000-$37,000) to cover the costs while seeking to promote the second season of its "Marseille" television series.

"It's ruined, this tifo," Michel Tonini, leader of the fan group that commissioned the banner, told AFP. "It's ridiculous. At the end of the day it's created the opposite effect when we just wanted to liven up the stadium."

He added: "We prepared it ourselves, there's nothing to do with Netflix in it. They're just happy to have a tifo the day of their promotion."

But other fan groups were strongly opposed to the collaboration, with the head of another supporters' club notably unhappy with the way Marseille is portrayed in the series.

"I don't like it at all, it's already a crap series that sinks Marseille more than it shows it off," said Christian Cataldo.

"Bandits, drugs, they are in other places than just Marseille. I don't want to be associated with this series."

Faced with the controversy, Netflix decided to pull all advertisements inside the ground promoting the show featuring French actor Gerard Depardieu.

The 69-year-old, who plays the city's mayor in the series, had been expected to take part in a ceremonial kick-off before the match, but those plans were also shelved due to fears over a negative crowd reaction.]]>
2/19/2018 11:37:19 AM
<![CDATA['Black Panther' pounces to box office glory over holiday weekend]]>
According to figures from industry tracker Exhibitor Relations, the highly-anticipated 18th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earned $192 million over Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- exceeding predictions of $170 million.

Thanks to Presidents' Day in the US on Monday, "Black Panther's" estimated earnings were boosted to a stratospheric $218 million -- crushing "Deadpool's" 2016 Presidents' Day record of $152.1 million.

The film, from Disney-owned Marvel Studios, features a star-studded, almost entirely black cast led by Chadwick Boseman as the first non-white superhero to get his own stand-alone movie in the franchise.

Starring alongside Michael B Jordan and Lupita Nyong'o, Boseman plays the titular superhero also known as T'Challa, king and protector of the technologically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda, an affluent, never-colonized utopia.

In at second was family-friendly "Peter Rabbit," based on Beatrix Potter's classic children's book. Mixing live actors with computer-generated animation, it brought in an estimated $22.1 million over the holiday weekend for total earnings of $53.1 million.

James Corden voices the lead bunny which feuds with garden owner Domhnall Gleeson for the affections of sweet-hearted neighbor Rose Byrne.

Dropping to third was last week's box office champion, Universal's "Fifty Shades Freed," with takings of $19 million, down from $38.6 million the previous week.

Starring Dakota Johnson as English lit major-turned-publisher Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, her kinky lover-turned-husband, "Freed" is the last of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy, which has enjoyed massive popularity among primarily female audiences.

Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" placed fourth in its ninth week in theaters, matching last week's earnings with $10 million.

Featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, the family film tells the tale of a group of teens transported inside a video game world.

Director Clint Eastwood's "The 15:17" dropped two places into fifth, taking $9 million.

The film recounts the story of three young Americans who foiled a terrorist attack on board a train in France in 2015. In an alternative approach that divided critics, Eastwood cast the three men -- none of whom had any acting experience -- to play themselves.

2/19/2018 11:34:05 AM
<![CDATA['Three Billboards' tops Baftas as 'Time's Up' shares stage]]>
The movie, chronicling a grieving mother's campaign for justice, won for original screenplay and outstanding British film, while Frances McDormand bagged best actress and Sam Rockwell best supporting actor prizes.

"The Shape of Water" -- the most heavily nominated film of the night with 12 nods -- came away with only three awards, including best director for Guillermo Del Toro, while "Darkest Hour" claimed two prizes, including for Gary Oldman as best actor.

With Hollywood still reeling from the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the resulting anti-sexual harassment campaigns were reflected in the mood of the evening.

"Our film is a hopeful one in lots of ways but it’s also an angry one," Martin McDonagh, writer and director of "Three Billboards", said in his acceptance speech.

"And as we've seen this year, sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen and to change, so we're thrilled that Bafta has recognised this."

Stars arrived at London's Royal Albert Hall predominantly dressed in black in solidarity with the #MeToo and "Time's Up" campaigns, mirroring other recent American red carpets including last month's Golden Globes.

Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and Kristin Scott Thomas were among the stars who wore black.

British royals avoid making overtly political statements or gestures, so there was little suprise when the Duchess of Cambridge chose to wear a dark green dress, by British designer Jenny Packham, as she accompanied husband Prince William, president of Bafta, to the ceremony.

- 'Brave revelations' -

Jane Lush, chair of Bafta, opened the evening soberly telling the star-studded audience it was important to acknowledge a "difficult" past year, and noted efforts to tackle gender inequality.

Host Joanna Lumley, a British film and TV star, also praised the gender equality movement as a continuation of the work of the Suffragettes a century ago.

She hailed the "determination to eradicate the abuse of women the world over" as she took to the stage.

Meanwhile in an open letter published Sunday before the awards, almost 200 British and Irish stars backed a new fund to help women facing sexual harassment and abuse at work.

It echoes a similar initiative launched in Hollywood last month, and was kick-started with a £1 million (1.13 million euro, $1.4 million) donation from actress and activist Emma Watson.

- 'Thank you, Sir Winston' -

Choices at the Baftas, which fall between the Globes and the Oscars, often mirror those of the American heavyweights.

"The Shape of Water", a story of love between a mute cleaning woman and a mystery merman-like creature, led the pack just as it has across the Atlantic, where it has topped the list of Oscar nominations with 13 nods, including for best picture.

As well as director del Toro's award for direction, composer Alexandre Desplat collected the original music award -- his third BAFTA win -- and the film also won best production design.

Allison Janney won best supporting actress for her role as the mother of controversial figure skater Tonya Harding in biopic "I, Tonya".

"I loved doing this crazy part and finding her humanity, that's what I try and do in all roles," she said backstage.

Gary Oldman's turn as Churchill in "Darkest Hour" has so far won him a Golden Globe, a Bafta and the chance of an Oscar on March 4.

He paid tribute to the wartime British leader, saying: "In those dark, uncertain days in 1940, he held the line for honour, for integrity and freedom for his nation and the world, so I thank you, Sir Winston."

Accepting her best actress accolade, McDormand, who chose not to wear black, quoted her on-screen character who has "a little trouble with compliance".

"But I want you to know I stand in full solidarity with my sisters tonight in black," she added.]]>
2/19/2018 11:29:24 AM
<![CDATA[French jazz violinist Didier Lockwood dies aged 62]]>
Lockwood, who turned 62 on February 11, died early on Sunday morning. The night before his death, he had performed at Paris jazz venue Bal Blomet.

"His wife, his three daughters, his family, his agent, his co-workers and his record label are sad to announce the sudden passing of Didier Lockwood," his agent said in a statement.

Lockwood was playing at a jazz festival when he met Grappelli, another French jazz great who founded a string quintet called the Hot Club of France in 1934 with gypsy guitar legend Django Reinhardt.

The violinist invited the then 20-year-old Lockwood to join him on a European tour, kicking off an international career in which he gave around 4,500 concerts and released more than 35 records.

"That was the start of my career, the launchpad that got me into the world of popular jazz," Lockwood told Radio France in 2008.

Lockwood was committed to music education, in 2001 setting up the Didier Lockwood Music Centre in a town south of Paris teaching improvisation according to a jazz violin method he developed.

French culture minister Francoise Nyssen described Lockwood as "deeply generous and outgoing" and said he would be missed by "his friends, music and all the children he wished to enlighten with his passion".

"He wanted to make music without borders or prejudices," she added.

Born in 1956 in Calais to a French-Scottish family, Lockwood, whose father was a music teacher, gained an early taste for improvisation thanks to his elder brother Francis, a jazz pianist.

Aged 17, Lockwood joined a popular French prog rock band called Magma. He later threw himself into a multitude of musical projects and collaborations, experimenting with varied jazz styles, both electric and acoustic, from classical fusion to gypsy swing.

During his career, he wrote two operas, violin and piano concertos, lyrical works and music for films and cartoons.

"France has lost an exceptional musician, a man with rare qualities," wrote violinist Renaud Capucon on Twitter.

Lockwood's widow is the coloratura soprano Patricia Petibon, acclaimed for her interpretations of French Baroque music.

The couple had just recorded an album together, said Lockwood's agent Christophe Deghelt, who called him "Mr. 100,000 volts" and said the musician had a "huge" number of projects under way when he died.

Lockwood was previously married to the singer Caroline Casadesus, with whom he had created a musical called "Jazz and the diva".

2/19/2018 11:20:36 AM
<![CDATA[Sharm El-Sheikh Festival to honour Badrakhan, Hosny, Taher]]>
The festival management decided to shed light in this edition on the independent American cinema and invited a famous American director to talk more about this kind of cinema. The festival will host a group of seminars and will celebrate the 10th death anniversary of late director Youssef Chahine.

Famed director of photography Kamal Abdel Aziz will give a cinematography workshop as part of the festival's activities. The festival management previously announced that the second edition will be dedicated to late great cinema critic Aly Abu Shady who died on Friday, February 16. The Festival’s second edition is set to run between March 3 - 9.

The honorary president of the festival Egyptian star Laila Elwy suggested this dedication and the Egyptian journalist and festival head, Gamal Zeyada approved it. The festival chose famed Egyptian actress Rania Youssef to be one of the festival’s jury members.

Youssef stated in a press release on Saturday that she is eager to cooperate with the prominent Egyptian, Arab and foreign filmmakers who will participate in the second edition of the festival.

Zeyada previously announced that the festival's poster was designed by great artist Essam el-Mallah. The festival management aims through this poster to highlight all the characteristics of Sharm El-Sheikh, and its efforts in being open to the whole world politically, economically and culturally, according to Zeyada.

The poster design reflects the objectives of the festival, which seeks to establish a successful cultural event in a dazzling coastal city like Sharm El-Sheikh that shares the same features with Venice and Cannes which host two of the most prestigious festivals in the world; the Venice and Cannes film festivals. This edition will also witness the participation of films produced by students of the High Institute of Cinema.
The Awards of the Sharm El-Sheikh Film Festival are divided into two sections:

Awards for Arab and European feature films:

1-The GOLD DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best film.

2-The SILVER DJED Pillar, the jury’s special award, will be awarded to the director.

3- The BRONZE DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best 1st film.

Awards for Arab and European short films:

1- The GOLD DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best film.

2- The SILVER DJED Pillar, the jury’s special award, will be awarded to the director.

The Djed pillar is an ancient Egyptian symbol for stability in the form of God Osiris's backbone.

Sharm El-Sheikh Film Festival is an annual event organized by Noon Foundation for Culture and Arts with the contribution of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture as well as public and private organizations in Egypt and Europe.

The festival aims to raise cinematic awareness and promote distinguished audio and visual works through the screening of nearly 60 international and Arab films, allowing filmmakers in the Arab world and Europe to establish a mutual dialogue, exchange experiences and open new markets for Arab, European and American films.

Noon Foundation aims to open channels of exchange in all cultural and artistic fields between Egypt and the world, and disseminate better knowledge of the other through the organization of cultural and cinematic events in Egypt and in different countries of the world.
2/19/2018 11:12:26 AM
<![CDATA[Ines Abdel Dayem, epitome of the classical scene future in Egypt]]>
She led several solo flute performances and played with orchestras worldwide, including the UNESCO International Orchestra in Paris and the Orchestre d’Aix-en-Provence, while dedicating and establishing an entire academic semester to teach children how to play flute at the Cairo Opera House in 1999. Artistic advisor of renowned El Noor Wel Amal (Light & Hope) orchestra for blind women, Abdel Dayem has also been appointed head of the Arab Academy of Music in late December and is expected to lead new plans in the region alongside with professional artistic experts during her assigned period within the upcoming four years.

The newly appointed minister emphasizes the importance of cultural education, ensuring that Egypt plays a leading role in driving the arts and culture scene forward in the entire MENA region. Originally an international flutist, Abdel Dayem has not only managed to meticulously build a free major ground for classic arts at the heart of the opera, but also is considered the first woman to preside the Culture Ministry since its establishment in 1958. Abdel Dayem has been previously offered the position in 2013 and is also considered the second minister resonating from an artistic background.

1-Tell us a bit about what is in store in 2018?

Our seasonal programs start off in September and end in June. We seek to strongly focus on the projects and works held by the artistic troupes of the Opera, including Cairo Orchestra Symphony, Cairo Ballet Company, Cairo Celebration Choir, and Egyptian Modern Dance Theater Company, and Cairo Opera Company, among others. Each troupe is entitled its own program throughout the year, and we add to each troupe’s repertoire every year. This year’s activities and events include Swan Lake by Cairo Ballet Company in January and La Traviata Opera. Other new additions in 2018 will include for the first time "Sleeping Beauty" ballet by the Italian Ballet Troupe Balleto Del Sud Company in February. The Italian Ballet company will also be performing ballet “Carmen”.

February is packed with many important events, including the commemoration of Om Kolthoum through a major ceremony, a performance by the Japan Drums Company at Alexandria Opera House, and Valentine’s Day celebration through multiple events such as Arab Music Masterpieces in which prominent music pieces from the “Golden age Classics” will be performed. This segment is really special because classic songs are dear to our hearts, showing various beautiful elements including the voice, melody, music piece, and lyrics.

Other significantly important events taking place this year also include “Gems of the Classical Era”, an Egyptian- German joint performance by Horus Ensemble and “The Fall of Icarus” by Egyptian Modern Dance Theater Company which celebrates 25 years since the establishment of the troupe. The sixth edition of the Damanhour International Folk Festival and concert “Wahabiat” commemorating the late Egyptian legend Mohamed Abdel Wahab are among 2018’s important events.

3- Are there any cultural initiatives that the opera will be carrying out in search for new talents in 2018?

We have been working with several organizations in Europe and with the Heritage Ensemble for Arab Music to participate in performances held beyond Egyptian borders, such as the performances commemorating Abdel Halim Hafez in Sharjah, UAE and Saudi Arabia, among others.

The Cairo Opera House is keen to set a plan to explore more artistic talents, but planning such initiative will be held next summer following the end of the upcoming presidential election. However, the Cairo Opera House is also keen to provide constant support to new talented generations, resonating from the opera’s Educational Development Centre. The center is divided into six departments that seek to cater emerging talents, including the Opera Studio, Piano Division, Classic Ballet Division, Choral Group Division, Suzuki Violin Division, and the Arabic and Instrumental Music department.

4- Are there any plans to send troupes from Cairo Opera House to carry out performances in Upper Egypt as part of plans to spread inclusive art geographically? Have there been any challenges in implementing that?

Within 10 days, we will be carrying out a performance in Assiut; we are also planning several events in other governorates in Upper Egypt. There are many challenges reagrding carrying out performances in Upper Egypt and launching events outside the Opera House in general as it is not easy to allocate funds for transportation and residence. Despite the financial challenges, the Opera House has been able to coordinate such activities outside the opera’s premises through the support of governors and other officials.

There is also a plan to carry out regular artistic performances in Upper Egypt which is currently being discussed with the Culture Ministry. The plan needs the collaborative efforts of several institutions and organizations to be executed; the Opera House will be able to manage the artistic part of the plan but other parties will need to provide theaters for performances, and places for the artists’ temporarily residence, among other logistics.

5-what efforts has the Cairo Opera House exerted to include non-Egyptians in the Egyptian scene?

All our troupes consist of foreign artists and many visitors from around the globe come over to Egypt to watch their performances. Communication between foreign artistic troupes and the opera has been on the rise; those troupes are keen to launch their shows at the Cairo Opera House. Effective communication and transparency created credibility that further attracted several foreign troupes to perform in the Opera House, thus increasing cultural exchange.

6-Are there any challenges the institution is facing at the moment?
Our activities have been staging regularly and never stopped; on the contrary, we keep on launching new performances and expanding the opera’s role in general, which emphasizes an important message to the world that Egypt is stable and safe.
7-Is there still a lack of artistic freedom?

Not at all, we are provided great space for freedom of artistic expression. In 2013, during the ruling of the Muslim Brotherhood, we didn’t face the challenge of lack of freedom in artistic expression but we faced a greater challenge of existing or not! Our current space allows us to freely express ourselves and to add more to our repertoire and invite foreign performers with different cultural backgrounds.

8- Can you tell us in more details about the lawsuit filed against the Cairo Opera House by the Committee of Composers (Sacerau)? Are these disputes still going on?
This is not the first lawsuit; in fact, these disputes have been going on since the 1990’s due to a misunderstanding between both institutions. As a government-owned institution, the Opera House is operating upon laws and policies but Sacerau are raising demands that require the existence of certain legalities. Despite the misunderstanding, this lawsuit and disputes are trivial and solely require effective communication and confirmed approval from several governmental institutions on legal matters relevant to the case.

9- Could you tell us about some of your plans in the upcoming four years as the president of Arab Academy of Music?

In the upcoming phase, several meetings are to commence to discuss matters related to the academy, including preserving heritage and the identity of Arabic music. As president, I am entitled to proceed with efforts and plans conducted by previous academy presidents; however, I am also keen to focus on diverse activities of geographical and artistic importance across the Arab region.

10- One of the Academy’s responsibilities is merging music with educational curricula; why is there still a lack of musical appreciation in schools and among audiences? What are your plans to fill this void, and who do you think would make suitable partners for the resolutions?

Focusing on musical education in school curricula is not only part of my plan; it is also the major duty of several institutions in Arab countries. Each country faces its own challenges in this regard, whether they’re related to ignorance, finance or others, which tend to either halt or cancel implementation of such plan. I will, however, manage to stress the importance of bringing this plan to life, specifically in Egypt, where in previous decades musical courses were among the most important parts in school curricula. Musical education in Egypt has helped raise generations' cultural knowledge a, and installed discipline in their life style. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case as these courses exist only in private schools, while the public schools have far more serioous problems than the lack of musical and artistic education.

The Cairo Opera House is planning to sign protocols with the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Education to intensify artistic courses in schools and universities across Egypt. Civil society will later have an effective role to play in further developing this plan after implementing the initial steps.

11-You have dedicated an entire semester to teaching flute to young children in 1999, tell us a bit about your passion for the flute? In your opinion what musical value does it add to an orchestral music piece?
My relation with my flute is indescribable; no one in my close circle of acquaintances and family would dare touch it. During one of the performances, held in the past period, I accidentally fell on stage but tried my best to keep my flute from falling; however, it was hit. At that moment, all my thoughts were filled with distress and inner pain over my flute and not my shoulder injury.. My flute is currently being reformed and fixed abroad.

This flute resembles a long journey of learning in life; I bought it when I was a student after saving up money. A major element of success in my life, my flute is literally my wealth and an embodiment of passion for me. The flute adds a special musical value in any performance I have participated in through never disappointing or failing me.
12- Tell us about a project that you worked and considered special to you?

There are many projects that I consider special to me, I am proud of everything I have produced in my life throughout my long journey. A professional musician’s success is only achieved when he/she is able to master the greatest number of production in a repertoire that is solely composed for a specific music instrument, so this was my main goal throughout my career as a musician. This is what a musician is evaluated upon as it shows the musician’s ability to use certain techniques.
I have always sought to reshape music pieces I have played throughout constantly developing the techniques, and methods I use.

13- At the current moment Egypt is dealing with its political and economic challenges, other Arab nations are quietly stepping in to fill the cultural void, how is this affecting Egypt's stage scene?

Egypt is still leading the scene in the MENA region regarding filling the cultural void, despite the growing projects in various Arab countries such as the UAE, including an increase in the number of opera houses, artistic theaters, and activities. Egypt is stable on this primary level because of its ability to always develop, support and encourage local artists, and to invite foreign talents.

Some Arab countries lack what it takes to be a cultural education institution, despite their logistic capabilities and artistic venues; moreover, their audiences are not culturally shaped or ready enough to accept various types of arts. To fill this shortage a country needs to work on developing local talents, educating the audiences and providing regular diverse artistic performances rather than focusing on inviting foreign artists to their scene.

Egypt is rich in manpower and resources including local artists, cultural education, intellects, and cultural heritage that enable it to create newly edged productions in the scene on a regular basis. When one of the Arab countries wants to carry out a special Arab music performance, they resort to inviting Egyptian musicians to lead the performance; therefore, the next step is to maintain that success and further develop it.
The Cairo Opera House is the only opera that contains its own local artistic troupes.
14-How can we draw audiences to the classic music scene? Does promoting talents of the scene through prominent TV talk shows help?

The major indicator of success is the audience. Success has been reached in many ways including hosting an opera performance and a ballet show that have been fully booked throughout its three or four days of display; this was only one step closer to success because the Opera House has worked on launching unconventional performances, adding different vibes to its annual repertoires; therefore, attracting more audiences. A great majority of the audience is comprised of youth and this is also another type of success that emphasizes that the classic scene in Egypt does not attract a specific segment of society.

Steps to success require a lot of work and manpower; however, we work in silence with various divisions in order to maintain a good standard in three governorates.

15- What does the Egyptian audience highly prefer in the classic scene?

Egyptian audience is very unpredictable because they show different interests; in many days I saw some members of the audience who come almost daily despite the different shows presented each day. Generally speaking, each performance has its own audience; for example a great number of young Egyptians attend performances of artists and bands of different genres that aren’t associated to the opera. On New Year’s Eve all six theaters within the opera house were fully booked and each theater hosted a different show; this alone verifies that the opera house attracts all segments of society and speaks to each segment in a different way.

The Cairo Opera House managed to even reach typical street audiences; for example the annual Citadel Festival held at Salah El Din Citadel in August has witnessed the attendance of 9,000 people during one of the festival’s days.
2/19/2018 11:09:55 AM
<![CDATA[Netflix signs partnership deal with OSN]]>The current media environment sees a greater amount of programming to watch and a higher demand for high quality streaming services. OSN will see the launch of a new OSN Box with access to the library of Netflix content, estimated to be released in the second quarter of 2018.
Customers will even get a chance to pay for their Netflix bill alongside their OSN bill through one combined bill. There is no information on whether this will lead to the production of original Arabic language content on Netflix, however the possibility might become more likely as the Netflix is already working on generating more content catering demands of the Arab region.
OSN CEO Martin Stewart mentions in a press release attained by Egypt Today “that the future of the entertainment industry in the MENA region will be shaped by providers who offer value and choice at every turn, and through this groundbreaking partnership with Netflix, we are demonstrating our customer-centric focus on delivering convenience and flexibility for all.”
While on the other side Neil Martin, OSN's Chief Commercial Officer stated the breadth of OSN’s programming portfolio in the region is unbeatable and cemented by long-term partnerships with major international studios previously including Disney, HBO, NBC Universal, Fox, and Sony to name a few.
“Now with the addition of Netflix, OSN continues to ensure entertainment lovers in the region have more choice and easy access to a stellar line-up of unique content via one interface,” he added in the released statement.
Netflix and Amazon accounted for 21 percent of the Middle East and North Africa market in 2017, according to Variety. With this new deal, Netflix will have finally gained some traction in establishing a foothold in the region, which it has previously struggled with.
Maria Ferreras, Netflix's VP Business Development for EMEA stated; "With this regional partnership and thanks to hundreds of Netflix's original titles slated for 2018, OSN's customers will be able to seamlessly access and enjoy all the best entertainment in one place.”
Examples of some of the new content now available to OSN subscribers include Will Smith's latest film 'Bright', Netflix flagships 'Stranger Things' and 'Orange is the New Black', Egypt's darling 'Narcos', amongst many others, available in Ultra HD 4K and HDR.
2/18/2018 5:46:15 PM
<![CDATA[Sixth edition of Aswan International Festival kicks off]]>
The opening witnessed a varied assortment of art presented from the countries considered to be the sources of the Nile. The festival is hosting 250 guests from Thailand, Kenya, India and Egypt. Ethiopia is the guest of honor at the festival’s opening, according to official statement.

Launching of sixth edition of the Aswan International Festival of Culture - Official press release

Artists from the participating countries waved their hands with Egyptian flags from several Nile boats touring Aswan’s Nile recreating a pharaonic scene through the heart of Ancient Egyptian civilization and culture.

A group from each country presented traditional music and folk songs in an artistic carnival along the banks of the Nile. The guests then headed to the traditional market In Aswan, which is one of the most important commercial areas in the city.

Launching of sixth edition of the Aswan International Festival of Culture - Official press release

In addition to the opening ceremony, Ahmed Awad, Chairman of the General Authority for Cultural Places, Magdy Hegazy, Governor of Aswan and the Ambassador of India in Cairo Sanjay Bhattacharyya, launched book fair at the “Fawzi Fawzi” theater.

Later, over 2000 viewers attended a concert which started with a performance directed by the Egyptian musician Heshan Atwa. The concert then screened documentary that featured many artistic performances from the participating countries.

Launching of sixth edition of the Aswan International Festival of Culture - Official press release

“Art is the best language for communication between people all over the world and enriches many human values,” Awad stated during his speech in the concert.

Launching of sixth edition of the Aswan International Festival of Culture - Official press release

2/18/2018 5:29:46 PM
<![CDATA[Mohamed Metwally passes away at 73]]>
Metwally started his artistic journey through “Take Care of Zozo” film (1972). He supported his acting career through a varied assortment of work in Television, Cinema and theater.

He has some significant roles such as the prominent character of “Kholio” in “Goodbye my friend”, and several roles in drama works such “Zinzinia”, “Arabesque” and “Abo EL ElA El Beshry”. He is also well know of his comedic film “Artificial Bump”.

“Everything has an end, why not start anything in a good way to make it beneficial for others at the end. The right and the wrong is something you can control,” was the last post written by Metwally on his account on Facebook.

2/18/2018 5:10:29 PM
<![CDATA[Remembering best moments of screen legend John Travolta]]>
Born in Englewood, New Jersey on 1954, Travolta came from a large family of six, dropping out of high school at the age of 16 in order to pursue his love of acting that he inherited from Mama Travolta. He got his start on a performance of "Bye Bye Birdie", and soon after decided to move to New York City and hit it big. His next stop was TV, where he starred in commercials; though once work dried, Travolta set his sights on Hollywood and Broadway, where he starred in a performance of “Grease” when he was 18.

One of his earliest acting debuts was in 1976's “


”, which paved the way for his smash-hit success in a year later, with “Saturday Night Fever”. That was the start of a long and varied career, filled with highs and lows that ensured Travolta’s name would become widespread in every home and theater.

Here are several of his best movies:

“Saturday Night Fever” (1977)

The film that started off Travolta's career, “Saturday Night Fever” is all about dancing to escape your boring old life; 19-year-old Tony Manero (Travolta) bides his time waiting for Saturday night, the only time he can show off his wild disco moves and feel like a king. Outside of the dance floor however, Manero's got a tough life, though that's all due to change when he meets Stephanie Mangano (Karen Lynn Gorney) at the Disco, who teaches him a lot more than just how to dance.


This musical throwback to the 1950's served as a massive hit for Travolta and Hollywood, enduring as one of its most successful musicals of all time. Travolta portrays bad boy Denny, who discovers he's sharing the same high school with Sandy (Olivia Newton John), a girl he fell in love with during summer; worse still, they're part of rival groups. What's it going to take for these two love-birds to sing again?

“Urban Cowboy” (1980)

When Bud Davis (Travolta), a young cowboy from the country moves to Houston city, he finds himself a fish out of water. He does manage to strike a relationship with free-willed Sissy (Debra Winger), though his old-fashioned views on marriage conflict with her independence. When he sees her with another man, Wes (Scott Glenn), Bud finds it in himself to prove to her that he's the one for her in the upcoming bull-riding contest.

“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

Quentin Tarantino's cult masterpiece helped revive Travolta's career after a lull, once again propelling him as one of Hollywood'stop actors. Travolta stars alongside

Samuel L Jackson

, portraying hitman Vincent Vega, out to find a suitcase stolen from a mob boss. Along the way they find themselves caught up in several violent stories, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis and Tim Roth.

“Get Shorty” (1995)

Chili Palmer (Travolta) is a loan shark mobsterwho sets out to collect some gambling debt in Hollywood from low-budget film director Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). When Palmer falls in love with one of Zimm's leading ladies, he then pitches his life story as a new film idea, setting Palmer on a course to becoming a film producer; a job he discovers isn't so different from being a mobster.

“Phenomenon” (1996)

In this supernatural romantic drama, Travolta plays George, a humble mechanic in a small North Carolina town. After a mysterious incident one day, George finds himself with superhuman levels of intelligence and telekinetic abilities, though his newfound gifts only serve to push him away from the community he was once so close to, even drawing the attention of the FBI.

“Face/Off” (1997)

In this unique action flick, Travolta is FBI agent Sean Archer, who's been tracking down infamous terrorist Castor Troy (Nicolas Cage), who murdered his young sons years ago. When Troy is finally captured and put into a coma, it's discovered that he's planted a biological weapon somewhere in Los Angeles. In order to find out where it is, Archer undergoes a surgical operation that switches his face with Troy's, allowing him to infiltrate the terrorists. Things get complicated when Castor wakes up and wreaks havoc in Archer's life by assuming his identity as well.

“Primary Colors” (1998)

This political satire follows the mishaps of Jack Stanton (Travolta) as he runs for President of the United States. Based on the real-life of Bill Clinton, the film is told through the eyes of Henry Burton (Adrian Lester), who joins the Stanton's Presidential campaignand discovers just how flawed the man really is.

“Hairspray” (2007)

Travolta finally returns to the musical genre that made him so big in the first place; this time, he's playing a woman. Travolta portrays Edna Turnblad, the mother of plump teen Tracy (Nikki Blonsky), who decides to follow her dreams and get on the Corny Collins Show, wowing 1962 Baltimore with her dance moves.

2/18/2018 4:56:52 PM
<![CDATA[GUC TCS to perform two plays on Thursday]]>
“Although our two upcoming performances are comic, they’re completely based on the Egyptian youth's socio-economic situation in Egypt,” Hatem Elwy, member of GUC Theater & Cinema School (TCS) told Egypt Today.

Elwy said that “Civil War”, one of the two performances, revolves around an Egyptian young man whose dream is to become an actor. He faces the first and the biggest challenge when his father denies him the right to pursue his dream. The story turns tragic when the young man gets stuck in a series of problems and the father is the only one to help him solve it.The play is written and directed by Kamel El Shafeay, one of the troupe’s members.

The other play, entitled “Once upon A Time, A Man Lived”, revolves around the story of an Egyptian citizen who wants to live his life normally but is always bombarded by cultural and social struggles. The main character faces challenges in dealing with his family and with the whole country; these challenges urge him to leave the country in search for a better life in another place with other people. The play is directed by Tarek El Saeed.

Founded in 2011, TCS is the first club for Theater & Cinema in the GUC, where professional directors give various acting, directing, movie editing, movie shooting and script writing workshops. Their vision is based on creating an art space in the university to teach arts as the most effective form of communication between people.

In their plays, they use black comedy to discuss serious social or political problems in a sarcastic way. They used the same approach in presenting the classical play "The Bridge" that was performed in classical Arabic."The Bridge" participated in the National Theatre Festival, where it won the Best Performance Award.

TCS has previously staged the university’s theater as well as many other theaters, and received several prizes such as the Audience Award and the Creative Group Award for their play, "Tree of Bitterness", at El Sawy cultural Wheel in 2013.

2/18/2018 4:51:55 PM
<![CDATA[Stolen million-euro cello returned to French musician]]>
"I received an anonymous call late in the morning saying that my cello was inside a car in front of my house. I found it in the back seat," soloist Ophelie Gaillard told AFP.

One of the car windows was broken and the musician said she quickly grabbed the instrument, which is "in good condition", before notifying police.

An attacker had held her up at knifepoint outside her home on Thursday, forcing her to hand over the cello, as well as her mobile phone, before fleeing on foot in the northeastern suburb of Pantin.

"The theft was very violent, I have not been able to sleep for two days. I am so relieved to have found it. I'm coming out of a two-day nightmare -- it's a miracle," she said.

The police confirmed the cello had been found and a source close to the investigation by the BRB unit in charge of armed robberies said: "It's not an instrument that can be sold to a fence on the corner".

After the robbery on Thursday, Gaillard appealed for help from the public on Facebook, posting pictures of the instrument.

The cello, which was loaned to her by CIC bank and is valued at nearly 1.3 million euros ($1.6 million), was made in Udine, Italy in 1737 by luthier Francesco Goffriller, son of Venetian master cello-maker Matteo Goffriller.

The cello case also contained her bow, which she said was made by acclaimed 19th-century French bowmaker Jean Pierre Marie Persoit "around 1825 in Paris".

In 2003, Gaillard was named the best new instrumental soloist at the French classical music awards.]]>
2/18/2018 9:06:45 AM
<![CDATA[Baftas brace for 'blackout' as 'The Shape of Water' dominates]]>
The Cold War-era movie has 12 nominations, while crime drama "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri" and "Darkest Hour", about British wartime leader Winston Churchill, each have nine.

All three are up for the best film award, along with another World War II drama, Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk", and Luca Guadagnino's coming-of-age romance "Call Me By Your Name".

Del Toro, Guadagnino, Nolan and Martin McDonagh ("Three Billboards") are up for best director alongside Denis Villeneuve for "Blade Runner 2049" -- an all-male lineup that has drawn criticism, particularly this year.

With Hollywood still reeling from the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, actresses look set to wear all-black outfits at London's Albert Hall, just as they did at last month's Golden Globes.

Bafta nominees Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are among those who say they will repeat the gesture, which was a powerful statement by the A-list against a culture of sexual harassment and abuse.

It is not yet clear whether the Duchess of Cambridge will follow suit, however, when she attends with her husband Prince William, president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta).

Last year she wore a black Alexander McQueen gown with white flowers, but may be wary of being seen to breach royal protocol by aligning herself with a public protest.

Timed to fall between the Globes and the Oscars, the Baftas' choices often mirror those of its American heavyweights.

"The Shape of Water", a story of love between a mute cleaning woman and a mystery merman-like creature, is leading the pack just as it has been across the Atlantic.

Aside from the best film and best director nods, Del Toro is up for original screenplay, Sally Hawkins is nominated as leading actress and Octavia Spencer for supporting actress.

The British-produced "Three Billboards" has nominations for best film, director and original screenplay for McDonagh, while Frances McDormand is up for leading actress, and Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson for best supporting actors.

Gary Oldman's turn as Churchill in "Darkest Hour" won him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nod, and has also put him in line for a Bafta.

In the leading actor category he is up against Timothee Chalamet ("Call Me by Your Name"), Daniel Day-Lewis ("Phantom Thread"), Daniel Kaluuya ("Get Out") and Jamie Bell ("Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool").

"Darkest Hour" has also been nominated in the best film and outstanding British film categories, while Kristin Scott Thomas is up for supporting actress for her role as Churchill's wife Clementine.

Robbie is nominated for leading actress for "I, Tonya", alongside McDormand, Hawkins, Annette Bening ("Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool") and Saoirse Ronan ("Lady Bird").]]>
2/18/2018 9:04:23 AM
<![CDATA[A movie a day for 60 years: cinema sustains a Berlin love]]>
At this week's Berlin film festival, Erika and Ulrich Gregor, now in their 80s, are absolute fixtures.

Year after year, they can be spotted gingerly making their way, arm in arm, from theatre to theatre to catch as many screenings each day as they can.

"We've watched thousands and thousands of films together," Ulrich, 85, told AFP in an interview at the Arsenal cinema they helped found.

"We're curious and we want to be on the cutting edge, so to speak. So we watch five movies a day (at a festival), sometimes even six. And when we're not watching movies, we're talking about them."

It's that kind of shared passion that the Gregors say has kept their relationship thriving after nearly 60 years of marriage.

The pair met as students at West Berlin's Free University in 1957, when Ulrich was hosting a film evening.

"It was 'People on Sunday'," a 1930 German silent film, "and there was one woman who had very strong views," he said.

"Everybody loved the movie but I thought it was sexist and said so," recalled Erika, 83.

"There was a stormy debate but I wouldn't back down. When it was over I walked out and the moderator (Ulrich) ran after me and said 'Please come next time' and promised to show a film that was more humanistic. And he did, it was terrific."

- 'Polish films and vodka' -

She was immediately taken with Ulrich, who stands two heads taller than his petite wife.
"I thought he was the cleverest of all of them. And I think cleverness is something wonderful," Erika said, adding: "Especially for men, who in general are not very smart."

She ended up joining the film club's board.

Ulrich returned from the Cannes festival one year raving about Polish directors such as Andrzej Wajda and Andrzej Munk.

Erika suggested they start showcasing cinema from behind the Iron Curtain -- a controversial move with capitalist West Berlin on the front lines of geopolitical tensions.

"We hopped on a Vespa and rode to the Polish military mission in East Berlin and rang the bell," she said.

"We said 'hello, we're students and we'd like to show some Polish films'. They were quite surprised and offered us vodka. But they finally agreed and said we could come back and pick up the films."

Ulrich said that because of "strong anti-communist prejudices" they had to fight hostile administrators to show Eastern European films, but Erika's more impulsive style and his diplomatic skills "complement each other in a really special way".

"Together no one can beat us because we're always stronger."

- Eventually, children came too -

The Gregors married in 1960 -- a year before the Berlin Wall went up -- and soon started a family. But it didn't stop their nearly obsessive moviegoing.

"It wasn't easy because we had two children. We were lucky because they could have hated the cinema -- it took their parents away from them. But the kids got used to it and we raised them that way," he said.

"It was a different time, when I see how mothers parent today," Erika said.

"When I needed to go to the cinema I told them 'I trust you so be good and Mama will be home again in a few hours'. Eventually we started taking them with us to the movies."

That meant bringing the children to film festivals as well: Venice, Locarno, Moscow and the biggest of all, Cannes, which they still attend every year.

- 'What's love?' -

The Gregors collaborated on writing about film history in books and articles, founded an arthouse cinema and ran a section of the Berlin film festival showcasing avant-garde movies that is still going strong.

They were early champions of filmmakers such as Wong Kar-wai, Theo Angelopoulos, Aki Kaurismaki and Belgium's two-time Cannes winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

"Everything we did ended up being a shared project -- you couldn't draw a dividing line between my work and hers," Ulrich said.

For all their love of cinema -- and each other -- both say that it's a difficult emotion to capture on film.

"What's love? It's respect, it's affection, it's trust. But the love stories we love on screen are all tragic," Erika said, citing Michael Haneke's "Amour", "The Cry" by Michelangelo Antonioni and Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story" among their favourites.

Ulrich said as much as they both enjoy a satisfying ending, there's still nothing quite like the promise held in the start of a film.

"When the cinema goes dark and an image appears, it's a primal feeling that never fades. You're electrified every time."]]>
2/18/2018 9:01:10 AM
<![CDATA[Leila Mourad: 1st female box office star in Egyptian cinema.]]>
She was born Jewish in Cairo on February 17, 1918 to a Syrian father, Zaki Mourad, and a Polish mother, Gamilah Salmon. Her father was a composer and singer who encouraged Leila to sing in radio in the 1930s. Being the eldest daughter, she later had to financially support her family.

Her debut as a singer in the cinema was in “The Victims”, six years before starting her acting career with the “Long Live Love” film starring singer Mohamed Abdel Wahab, who also made her sign a contract for ten musical records. Director Mohamed Karim first said that she wouldn’t make a good actress due to her extremely small frame, but Abdel Wahab managed to convince him.

Producer, director, scriptwriter and actor Togo Mizraahy gave her true fame through seven films, including “Leila Bent El-Reef” (Laila From the Countryside), “Leila Bent Madares” (Laila: The School Student), and “Leila”. Out of 28 films of her career, 17 carried her real name. Mizraahy was able to work on Leila’s shyness, which was the only factor that she lacked to be a great cinematic actress. He taught her how to boldly face the camera and trained her on how to control her facial expression and voice coloring.

Mourad was in need of another director to change her skin and remove the solemnity of tragedies which was the main characteristic of Mizraahy films. She needed a director who can easily create a commercial formula while maintaining he artistic caliber, this man was simply the famous Egyptian producer, actor and director Anwar Wagdy.

wagdy and mourad
Anwar Wagdy and Leila Mourad - Egypt Today Archive

The marriage of Wagdi and Mourad in 1945 significantly contributed to the immortal booming success of this artistic duo and increasing both their credibility and popularity among viewers, especially that at that time Mourad and Wagdy were the only artistic couple who were married in real life.

Wagdy’s innovative methods led the audience to be more attached to Mourad and follow her professional and personal news as if they were members of the same family. Wagdy’s intimate method increased ticket sales.

Mourad reached with Wagdy the peak of her artistic and popular success. As a result, Mourad became more confident in other cinematic experiences with other directors.

After the end of World War II, Wagdi was smart enough to realize that the Egyptian audience's tastes shifted from tragedies to comedy and musical films or their combination, especially low classes who constituted the majority of cinema goers.

- Her film “Ghazl El Banat” (The Flirtation of Girls) is until today one of the most important films in the history of the Egyptian cinema. She co-starred with legendary actors Naguib El-Rihany and Youssef Wahby, who had introduced the film idea to Mourad.

Leila Mourad and Naguib el Rihany in a scene from Ghazal el Banat Movie - Egypt Today Archive
Leila Mourad and Naguib el Rihany in a scene from Ghazal el Banat Movie - Egypt Today Archive

- Her unforgettable role in “Qalby Daleeli” (My Heart is My Guide) film with Anwar Wagdy and the song carrying the same name has maintained wide fame for generations. The song is still featured in modern films, including the late director Mohamed Khan’s “Fi Shaqet Masr El Gedida” ( In Heliopolis’ Apartment ), who believed that “her voice is a unique classic.”

Until the mid-1940s, Egyptian cinema didn’t witness the phenomenon of the female “box office star” until Mourad appeared. Mourad was described with this expression not only because her films achieved high revenues, but because her fans were strongly attached to her to the extent that drove them to go to the cinema to watch her movies only because she was these movies’ heroine, without paying attention to any other details. Her name on any movie poster was a strong guarantee of its high quality.

- She declared her Islam in 1947, one year after she sang “Ya Hoggag El-Beit” (Oh Pilgrims) and “Ya Sett Nazra” (Lady Zeinab, Look at Me).

One day in Ramadan, she woke up to the voice of “Adhan” (Islamic call for worship) near her home at 26 Sherif Street, in Downtown Cairo. As she felt an inner peace to listen to it, keenly bringing up her spiritual inspiration, she asked her husband actor Anwar Wagdy why he did not ask her to convert to Islam, telling him that she wanted to embrace Islam immediately.

- In response to a rumor published in a Syrian magazine accusing Leila of being a spy who donated EGP 50,000 to Israel, Egypt and most Arab countries boycotted her artistic performances for some time.

- While in Europe, she asked for protection from President Mohamed Naguib. She then sang her last national song “Union, Organization, and Work” (Bel Itihad, W El-Nezam, W El-Amal), and then retired from her artistic career as a way to thank him.

- The romantic film was a successful end for her acting journey that lasted for 15 years. She insisted on retiring in 1955, until Egyptian composer Baleegh Hamdi convinced her to host a TV program in the 1960s on Abu Dhabi TV.

She decided to retire when she was only 37 years old, at the peak of her artistic maturity and cinematic glory, to keep an immortal youthful image in the minds and hearts of her fans. Despite her retirement, she maintained her stature and popularity until her death and even after.

Mourad is considered one of the most iconic singers in Egypt’s modern history. She acted in more than 20 movies and sung hundreds of songs that are deeply entrenched in Egyptians’ memory. Known for her innocent golden voice, full of emotions, Mourad would always grab attention when one heard her singing a symphony. She passed away November 21, 1995, leaving behind a large history of immortal movies and songs that will live ever after.

2/17/2018 4:58:50 PM
<![CDATA[War drama film 'Come and See' screening to screen in Cairo]]>CAIRO – 17 February 2018:The 1985 Russian war drama 'Come and See' by director Elem Klimov will be screening at ROOM Art Space & Café on February Sunday as part of its 'Film and Coffee Night' program.

Acclaimed American critic Roger Ebert dubbed this movie as "one of the most devastating films ever about anything", and it's easy to see why even from a cursory reading of its plotline.

Taking place during the outbreak of World War II in 1943, it is set in the territory of what is now Belarus, where a young year old boy named Florya (Alexi Kravchenko) forsakes his childhood innocence to join the war effort after he digs up a rifle, unaware of what is to come as the Nazis invade.

Left behind by the troops in a forest, Florya comes across a young girl named Glasha (Olga Mironova), who he accompanies back to his village where Florya discovers his entire family has been massacred. There is nothing left but despair as the once happy boy succumbs to madness, but throughout it all Florya refuses to die, his sheer powerlessness against the marching Nazis his only hope of survival.

It took eight years of attempting to get approval before the film could be released in 1985, where it quickly became a wild success through the Soviet Union, collecting around 29 million tickets. Audiences were so shocked by the ruthless psychological horror of the film that several of them needed treatment. The film inspired generations of Russian and international filmmakers, seeing it as the prime example of how the evil of war should be portrayed. 'Come and See' was selected to be a nominee at the 58th Academy Awards, but didn't get into the selection.

ROOM Art Space & Café is an 'ever-evolving' unique contemporary art space and café located in Garden City, Cairo that aims to provide a place for both performers and audiences to come together and exchange ideas freely.
2/17/2018 4:40:19 PM
<![CDATA[An 'Alien Zoo'comes to Los Angeles]]>CAIRO – 17 February 2018: A new Virtual Reality experience allowing visitors to explore an 'Alien Zoo' has come to Los Angeles, showcasing the potential of this new medium.

Located in Westfield Century City, the experience is provided by Dreamscape Interactive, a start-up funded by Stephen Spielberg and various other Hollywood giants such as 21st Century Fox, Nickelodeon, AMC Entertainment, and Warner Brothers.
The experience begins by taking participants into a Tesla Store, which is set up as a waiting room that informs visitors about what they’re expected to encounter.

In the vein of Jurassic Park, 'Alien Zoo' functions as a guided tour into a world like nothing on Earth, with a fantastic array of life-forms including the adorable Frogcats, titanic Megaraffes and even a confrontation with the Sicari, a terrifying apex predator.

The journey lasts for 12 minutes, and features several elements in the environment that add to further immersion, such as custom scents, wind, and even a unique chance to touch one of the aliens.

This sort of location-based VR marks the dawn of a new age of entertainment, combining elements of video games, Cinema and theme parks to create a wildly memorable experience.

Popular franchises such as 'Ghost Busters' and 'Star Wars' have utilized their own forms of location-based VR as well, though 'Alien Zoo' marks one of the first cases of an originals story line. The technology has been developed by Swiss researchers and successfully eliminated most of the motion success that has plagued VR technologies.

Co-founder of Dreamscape and producer of films such as 'Men in Black' Walter Parkes mentions in an interview conducted by Deadline, that "Most virtual reality companies tend to have one foot in the tech world and one foot in gaming. We have one foot in theme park attractions and one foot in big movies.”Originally running from February 7 until March 2, the popularity of 'Alien Zoo' has seen it extended up until March 14.
2/17/2018 4:36:14 PM
<![CDATA[SIFF dedicates its 2nd edition honoring late Aly Abu Shady]]>
The honorary president of the festival Egyptian star Laila Elwy suggested this dedication and the Egyptian journalist and festival head, Gamal Zayda accepted it. The festival chose the famed Egyptian actress Rania Youssef to be one of the festival’s jury members.

Expressing her pride for that choice, Youssef stated in a press release on Saturday that she is eager to cooperate with the prominent Egyptian, Arab and foreign filmmakers who will participate in the 2nd edition of the festival.

Zayda previously announced that the festival poster was designed by the great artist Essam el-Mallah. The festival management aims through this poster to highlight all the characteristics of Sharm El-Sheikh, and it’s efforts in being open to the whole world politically, economically and culturally, according to Zyada.

The poster design reflects the objectives of the festival, which seeks to establish a successful cultural event in a dazzling coastal city like Sharm El-Sheikh that shares the same features with Venice and Cannes that host two of the most prestigious festivals in the world; the Venice and Cannes film festivals. This edition will also witness the participation films produced by students of the high institute of cinema.

The Awards of the Sharm El-Sheikh Film Festival are divided into two sections:

Awards for Arab and European feature films:

1-The GOLD DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best film.

2-The SILVER DJED Pillar, the jury’s special award, will be awarded to the director.

3- The BRONZE DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best 1st film.

Awards for Arab and European short films:

1- The GOLD DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best film.

2- The SILVER DJED Pillar, the jury’s special award, will be awarded to the director.

The Djed pillar is an ancient Egyptian symbol for stability in the form of God Osiris's backbone.

Sharm El-Sheikh Film Festival is an annual event organized by Noon Foundation for Culture and Arts with the contribution of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture as well as public and private organizations in Egypt and Europe.

The festival aims to raise cinematic awareness and promote distinguished audio and visual works through the screening of nearly 60 international and Arab films, allowing filmmakers in the Arab world and Europe to establish a mutual dialogue, exchange experiences and open new markets for Arab, European and American films.

Noon Foundation aims to open channels of exchange in all cultural and artistic fields between Egypt and the world, and disseminate better knowledge of the other through the organization of cultural and cinematic events in Egypt and in different countries of the world.
2/17/2018 4:30:58 PM
<![CDATA[Argentine feminist's poignant poems reborn in music]]>
In a fresh show of interest in the poet, whose verse was both melancholic and amorous, her words have been turned into music by Bryce Dessner, the composer also known as a guitarist with indie rockers The National.

The song cycle, written by Dessner for mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor, is named after and closes with "Voy a Dormir" ("I Am Going to Sleep"), Storni's poignant final poem which she sent to a newspaper before drowning herself in the sea in 1938.

"Her words feel eternal to me; they really do. They feel as pressing and powerful now as they would have then," Dessner told AFP.

The Orchestra of St. Luke's backed O'Connor for the world premiere Thursday at Carnegie Hall in New York, with Robert Spano, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra music director and champion of contemporary fare, conducting.

Dessner was driven to write the piece after seeing O'Connor sing another musical adaptation of Spanish poetry, the late composer Peter Lieberson's "Neruda Songs." Dessner called the performance "incredibly beautiful."

Dessner, who studied Spanish as his second major at Yale University, was well versed in the so-called Generation of '27 poets -- most prominently Federico Garcia Lorca -- but noticed that women, then as now, were poorly represented.

"I was looking into Spanish poetry and I was struck by how much we hear from that era that is very masculine. Even the poetry itself has a sort of machismo to it," he said.

"Thinking of Kelley, and also just where we are in the world, I really wanted to set words by a female poet," he said.

Dessner, who previously brought to music the Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro, was drawn to Storni in part through the late Argentine star Mercedes Sosa's song "Alfonsina y el Mar" ("Alfonsina and the Sea").

While voicing modesty on how much his piece can accomplish, Dessner said there was no reason Storni should be less known internationally than Lorca.

- 'Exquisite pain' -

Storni was born in Switzerland and immigrated as a child to Argentina. A single mother who endured breast cancer, she took on a variety of jobs to support herself and her son, fueling the ardent feminist themes in her writing.

Dessner's song cycle opens ethereally with her poem "Yo en el Fondo del Mar" ("Me at the Bottom of the Sea") before the more romantic "Dulce Tortura" ("Sweet Torture") and "Faro en la Noche" ("Lighthouse in the Night"), in which horns spring forth like the poem's metaphor of stability.

Strings and percussion swell up on the closing poem, creating a hazy, aquatic air as O'Connor dolefully sings, "voy a dormir."
O'Connor, an American who has found new musical expression in Spanish, said it was "liberating" to sing from a woman's perspective.

"I responded to her personal torment and also the surrender in her poetry. There is exquisite pain and yet stunning acceptance," she said.

"Her connection with the sea throughout her poetry is also something that feels meant for music. To her, the sea was a home, a comfort and a final destination. This is a very unique view of a force that can seem so immense and ominous to some."

- New music on way -

"Voy a Dormir" is one of a slew of new works at Carnegie Hall, which has set a goal of 125 commissions between 2015 and 2020 to mark the 125th anniversary of one of New York's most storied music venues.

The Orchestra of St. Luke's, known for its commissions and work with high-profile musicians as well as concerts around New York, said it let Dessner and O'Connor decide the direction of the piece.

Calling orchestras "vehicles for civic expression," Orchestra of St. Luke's president James Roe said the ensemble's history was shaped by "curiosity about new forms of expression."

For Dessner, the premiere comes less than a month after The National -- formed in Cincinnati nearly two decades ago and known for dark walls of guitar -- won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album for "Sleep Well Beast."

Dessner, who lives in Paris, said that members of the now disparate band had returned to their studio in upstate New York where they are working on new music including a score for a play, on which he declined to give details.

Dessner, who won a Grammy two years on his own in a chamber music category, said the band appreciated but had not expected the award.

"It's funny that these career milestones usually arrive at the point where you're not really at the edge of your seat waiting for it," he said with a laugh.]]>
2/17/2018 1:28:46 PM
<![CDATA[NY City Ballet abuse claims 'not corroborated']]>
The 71-year-old was reportedly accused by two dozen dancers of verbal and physical abuse as well as using his power to extort sexual favors. He denied any such misconduct.

The nature of many of the allegations has not been made public.

But despite the outcome of the investigation, The New York Times reported that the ballet company and the School of American Ballet have unveiled new policies to make dancers "feel safe, respected and able to voice their opinions and concerns freely."

Neither the company nor the school immediately responded to AFP requests to comment. The investigation was initiated by both institutions but conducted by outside counsel.

"I have just learned that the New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet have concluded their extensive investigation of allegations of harassment and violent conduct made against me," Martins said in a statement sent to AFP on Friday by his lawyer.

"I am gratified for the conclusions reached in the investigation," he said.

"I retired to allow those glorious institutions to move past the turmoil that resulted from these charges. It is my hope that, with the investigation concluded, they can refocus, without distraction, on their roles."

The Times, which first reported that the investigation had not corroborated the allegations, quoted two former dancers as denouncing the findings. Some current and former board members have remained loyal to Martins, the newspaper said.

The Dane was first accused in an anonymous letter. A group of dancers later came forward to the Times with further allegations dating back to 1983.

A former principal dancer, Martins co-led the company in 1983 and became sole ballet master-in-chief in 1989.

He resigned on January 1, as a sexual harassment watershed in the United States claimed the careers of a litany of powerful men, prompted by revelations -- now levelled by more than 100 women -- against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

New York City Ballet has yet to name a permanent successor to Martins.]]>
2/17/2018 1:27:04 PM
<![CDATA[Berlin festival movie tells true story of Cold War rebels with a cause]]>
The true story is told in “The Silent Revolution” (“Das schweigende Klassenzimmer”), a movie that premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival that opened this week in the city that is now the capital of a unified, peaceful Germany.

With tightly controlled news media back home, two schoolboys from the East see footage of the 1956 Hungarian uprising - a key moment of Cold War history - while on a trip to the cinema in West Berlin.

They tell their classmates and after listening to western news on the radio together at a house in the countryside, they agree to hold a minute’s silence for those killed in the failed revolution.

The entire class is ultimately expelled and most flee to the West in a bid for freedom and to put their academic careers back on track.

Dietrich Garstka, who wrote the book on which the movie is based, started school in 1945 - the year Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime collapsed - so the communist East German system was all he knew.

He risked a lot by refusing to answer his history teacher’s questions during the minute’s silence, but, Garstka said: “Doing that protest was important to me, to show these scumbags that we think differently to them.”

He and his classmates realized they would have no chance of making a life for themselves if branded enemies of the state, so they decided it was better to take the risk of fleeing.

“They completely underestimated us, thinking we were little puppets who believed what the ‘great socialists’ said,” he told Reuters.

While Garstka’s rebellion was against a system that most Germans now look on as a grimly repressive regime, he says young people today remain rebellious and always will.

“I think young people are often underestimated by their parents nowadays. They’re not indifferent ... you can be sure they’ll get involved whenever there’s a campaign or something to do,” Garstka said, adding that ecological issues were often the focus of protests in today’s Germany.

“If I wanted to be ironic, I could say we had the luck of growing up in a dictatorship and we could show that (rebelliousness).”

“The Silent Revolution”, directed by Lars Kraume, premieres in Berlin on Tuesday. The festival runs until Feb. 25.]]>
2/17/2018 11:27:53 AM
<![CDATA[Nigerian cinema fans celebrate 'Black Panther' release]]>

The Walt Disney Co movie, which features a predominantly black cast, is set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda. It tells the story of the new king, T‘Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who is challenged by rival factions.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is also a cultural powerhouse that boasts the continent’s biggest film industry, known as Nollywood. Lagos is the country’s filmmaking hub.

At a screening of Black Panther on Friday in Lekki, an upmarket district of Lagos, Nollywood stars mingled with TV personalities and locals. The showing was one of a number of screenings in the city this week.

Most people were dressed in traditional Nigerian robes and gowns, with some opting to wear specially made attire in keeping with the film’s futuristic take on African garments.

“Black Panther is a film that celebrates black excellence. Bringing it to Nigeria is especially exciting,” said Bolaji Kekere-Ekun, a 33-year-old filmmaker.

“The people who made the film were very specific about the references they used in relationship to Africa. They are pulling from the best fashion and art,” he said.

The fictional African country is depicted as a verdant land with stunning waterfalls where spacecraft designed like tribal masks soar over a modern metropolis.

The portrayal of Wakanda as a futuristic, wealth-laden nation was welcomed by local actress Ijeoma Grace Agu, who used body paint and a two-piece outfit as a homage to the film’s fashion aesthetic and said she was excited to watch the film.

“For once we are not just dressed in slave clothes or doing slavery or brutality. For once we are dressed in good clothes,” said Agu.

Directed by black director Ryan Coogler and featuring actors including Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong‘o and Forest Whittaker, the film has received widespread critical acclaim after years of criticism about the under-representation of black people in Hollywood.

“Seeing us exude power and strength, seeing our culture, our high fashion sense portrays us in a different light,” said Agu.]]>
2/17/2018 11:20:23 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian artist Jasmina Metwaly holds solo exhibition in Berlin]]>CAIRO – 16 February 2018: Egyptian artist Jasmina Metwaly is hosting a solo exhibition titled 'We Are Not Worried In The Least', which runs from February 13 until February 25, 2018 at 'SAVVY Contemporary art space' in Berlin.

Born to an Egyptian father and Polish mother, Metwaly is a filmmaker and contemporary artist based in both Cairo and Berlin, and is a member of the Mosireen video collective. Her works aim at generation tension between the audience and participants and her experience lies in the field of performance art, film and theatre. Her current solo exhibition, 'We Are Not Worried In The Least', explores the unique environment of social and political tension in Egypt following the 2011 revolution.

The exhibition's official statement reads: "The title of the exhibition is a direct reference to the current permanent state of paranoia in the country, a political limbo that can only be described as a state of mundane and monotonous violence. Waiting in police stations or in courtrooms, on the phone for news from loved ones, the struggle has dramatically changed the lives of those involved."

Metwaly explores the existential boredom that has risen from the wake of great social transformation, and even posits that this boredom serves as means of keeping things together; boredom is all that is left in the wake of great change. The exhibition compiles work from Metwaly since 2011, directly in the wake of the Egyptian revolutions. It utilizes video footage, pictures and film in the form of a documentary video installation to create a unique performance and experience.

Metwaly's focus is on the nature of stories, and how they give rise to other stories. Her work has been exhibited at various local and international art venues and festivals, such as Cairo's Townhouse Gallery, the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Berlinale Forum Expanded and the Sfeir-Semler Gallery. She has also worked alongside filmmaker Philip Rizk since 2010, producing various projects together. 'We Are Not Worried In The Least' accompanies the 13th Fourm Expanded at the 68th Berlinale. The exhibition will open again between March 1 and March 11.

2/17/2018 11:14:03 AM
<![CDATA[Assistant Antiquities Minister inspected Jewish archaeological sites ]]>
He started his tour with visiting Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue to follow up ongoing restoration works carried out by the Armed Forces Engineering Authority.

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue was built in 1354. It was bombed by the French during their invasion of Egypt in 1798 and was re-built in 1850 with contributions from the Muhammad Ali dynasty. It is included on the World Monuments Fund’s 2018 list of monuments at risk.

The two-story Synagogue has three facades. its floors are decorated with marble slabs and Mosaic tiles, he said.

Also, the assistant antiquities minister toured the Menasce Synagogue, which was built by philanthropist Baron Yacoub de Menasce in 1860.

The rectangular-shaped two-story building is surrounded by a stone wall with a decorative element.

The main facade of the synagogue has two rows of windows and the interior is divided into two sections. The floors are paved with ceramic tiles, while the ceilings have domed shapes.

Moreover, he visited the three main Jewish graves, which were built on an area of 15 feddans.
2/16/2018 4:15:10 PM
<![CDATA[British TV and National Geographic filmed a documentary about Aswan]]>
The British delegation finished shooting all the scenes in Aswan. This documentary is part of a series of documentaries entitled “Discovering Ancient Egypt” which is produced by both the British Television and National Geographic. The series aims to shed the light on Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities as well as foreign and Egyptian missions’ efforts to discover and preserve the Egyptian monuments.

The British delegation photographed the Nile, the city of Aswan, the granite quarries and the missing mausoleum, in addition to portraying a model of how to make pharanoic obelisks of granite in ancient Egypt and how to move them and raise them. Gorst shot as well Karnak Temple in Luxor.

The documentary is scheduled to be screened in July 2018 in the United States, France and some European countries, where it is expected to promote the Egyptian tourism.
Luxor and Aswan are two cities in Upper Egypt known to be home of intact ancient Egyptian temples that date back almost 4,000 years ago. Luxor alone has one third of the world’s ancient monuments, and many Egyptians like to call Aswan the “Egyptian Paradise.”

The Luxor and Karnak temples in Luxor are a must-see attractions, and Aswan also has many temples, such as Kom Ombo, Philae and Abu Simbel, which is almost 300 kilometers away from the city, but there are regular trips to it from Aswan.
The temple complex of Abu Simbel is one of the most popular monumental buildings in Aswan, which is located at the second cataract of the Nile River.

The temple, carved out of a sandstone cliff on the west bank of the Nile, was discovered twice. It was initially discovered in 1813 by Swiss researcher Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, and then rediscovered in 1817 by Egyptologist Govani Battista.

At the entrance of the Abu Simbel temple, there are two seated statues of the Pharaoh, showing the ruler with a short kilt, a beautiful headdress which is a double crown with a cobra and a false beard. Next to the statues’ legs, are smaller statues of the Pharaoh’s relatives. At the top of the temple is a row of 22 squatting baboon statues. The baboon’s cry was believed to welcome the rising sun.

Inside the temple, there are images and hieroglyphics, describing Ramses II’s victory at the battle of Qadesh, in addition to empty store rooms.

According to many scholars, this great temple was created to celebrate the victory of Ramses II over the Hittites at the Battle of Qadesh in 1274 BC. This means that the temple was situated on the border of the conquered lands of Nubia after many military campaigns were carried out by the Pharaoh against Nubia.

Abu Simbel is made up of two temples. The smaller one was built for Queen Nefertari and has two statues of her and four pharaohs; each about 33 feet (10 meters) in height.

Ramses II built this temple to impress Egypt's southern neighbors, and also to reinforce the status of the Egyptian religion in the area. Abu Simbel was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia during the ruling period of Ramses II and its construction took 20 years from 1264 BC to 1244 BC .

UNESCO considers the Abu Simbel Temple one of the historical and monumental places that has to be protected against floods.

It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Antiquities announced two massive archaeological discoveries in Aswan, on Thursday, January 11.

The first discovery was made by the Egyptian-American archaeological mission of The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago during its excavation works at Tell Edfou site. The mission unearthed an administrative complex that dates back to the fifth dynasty of ancient Egypt.

The unearthed complex is considered the oldest archaeological discovery in Tell Edfou site. This area probably still hides great secrets underground.
This discovery is special because it sheds light on the history of the fifth dynasty, and how ancient Egyptians used internal architectural structures to store goods, raw material, and gemstones.

The mission found more than 200 artifacts which belonged to King Djedkare Isesi, in addition to many tools used in trade campaigns to Africa.

Regarding the second discovery the Egyptian mission uncovered, at the temple of Kom Ombo in Aswan, a statue of a man and his wife while doing some religious rituals, and a statue made of sandstone of a seated man, in addition to two statues of god Horus in the shape of a raven.
2/16/2018 3:54:02 PM
<![CDATA[Louvre Abu Dhabi launches roadside art gallery]]>CAIRO – 16 February 2018: As part of UAE Innovation Month, the Louvre Abu Dhabi launched on February 15 what is described as the world's "first and only radio-guided highway gallery" at the E11 - Sheikh Zayed road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

أطلق متحف #اللوفر_أبوظبي اليوم #معرض_الطريق_الفني وهو الأول والوحيد على الطريق في العالم الذي يترافق مع شرح عبر الراديو، والذي سيعرض مجموعة من أبرز القطع الفنيّة على الطريق السريع من #دبي إلى #أبوظبي. وشارك في حفل الإطلاق كل من معالي نورة الكعبي، وزيرة الثقافة وتنمية المعرفة، ومعالي محمد خليفة المبارك، رئيس دائرة الثقافة والسياحة – أبوظبي، وسعادة سيف سعيد غباش، مدير عام دائرة الثقافة والسياحة – أبوظبي، ومانويل راباتيه، مدير متحف #اللوفر_أبوظبي. . . The first of its kind in the world, #LouvreAbuDhabi’s #HighwayGallery is now showcasing the museum’s iconic masterpieces on the drive from #Dubai to #AbuDhabi. Launched this morning by HE @nak , Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, HE Mohammed Al Mubarak, Chairman @dctabudhabi, HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, DG @dctabudhabi and Manuel Rabaté, Director @LouvreAbuDhabi.

A post shared by Louvre Abu Dhabi (@louvreabudhabi) on

Around ten masterpieces from the Louvre Abu Dhabi's global collection have been reproduced onto giant 8x6 meter billboards which stretch along 100 kilometers of the road. As part of a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Media Company, cars tuned into the following radios; Radio 1 FM, Classic FM and Emarat FM will receive special 30 second English/Arabic commentaries on the displays, transforming the entire road into a part of the Louvre.
According to The Art Newspaper, a statement released by the Louvre writes that "drivers will have the opportunity to experience the museum’s artworks like never before. Each piece will come alive through the vehicles’ speakers."

Each of the radio blurbs are specially written by curators from the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Amongst the pieces put on roadside display include the Sarcophagus of Egyptian Princess Henuttawy, Leonardo Da Vinci's 'La Belle Ferronniere', the first of the artist's work to be exhibited in the Emirates, an ancient two-headed Neolithic statue uncovered in Jordan, the Mari-cha Lion, Vincent Van Gogh's 1887 self-portrait, a 2,000 year old coin made in the likeness of Alexander the Great discovered in the UAE, amongst others.

According to the Emirates News Agency, Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism said, "highlighting some of the museum’s iconic masterpieces through a unique, audio-visual experience, the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Highway Gallery makes art and culture accessible to people, beyond the museum’s walls. Bringing to life these few but captivating stories from the museum, we hope the Gallery stimulates imaginations and offers new ways to enjoy art."
The Gallery is expected to run for several weeks until the middle of March.

2/16/2018 3:24:43 PM
<![CDATA[Rania Youssef a jury member in SIFF]]>
Youssef expressed her happiness and pride at such a choice, adding that she is eager to cooperate with the prominent Egyptian, Arab and foreign filmmakers who will participate in the 2nd edition of the festival.

Sharm El-Sheikh Film Festival released the poster of its second edition scheduled to run from March 3 - 9.

The Egyptian journalist and festival head, Gamal Zayda, announced that the poster was designed by the great artist Essam el-Mallah. The festival management aims through this poster to highlight all the characteristics of Sharm El-Sheikh, this unique city that is open to the whole world politically, economically and culturally, according to Zyada.

The poster design reflects the objectives of the festival, which seeks to establish a successful cultural event in a dazzling coastal city like Sharm El-Sheikh that shares the same features with Venice and Cannes that host two of the most prestigious festivals in the world; the Venice and Cannes film festivals.

The Egyptian super star Laila Elwy was chosen by the the festival management to be this edition's honorary president. This edition will also witness the participation of the films of the students of the high institute of cinema.

The Awards of the Sharm El-Sheikh Film Festival are divided into two sections:

Awards for Arab and European feature films:

1-The GOLD DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best film.

2-The SILVER DJED Pillar, the jury’s special award, will be awarded to the director.

3- The BRONZE DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best 1st film.

Awards for Arab and European short films:

1- The GOLD DJED Pillar will be awarded to the director of the best film.

2- The SILVER DJED Pillar, the jury’s special award, will be awarded to the director.

The Djed pillar is an ancient Egyptian symbol for stability in the form of God Osiris's backbone.

Sharm El-Sheikh Film Festival is an annual event organized by Noon Foundation for Culture and Arts with the contribution of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture as well as public and private organizations in Egypt and Europe.

The festival aims to raise cinematic awareness and promote distinguished audio and visual works through the screening of nearly 60 international and Arab films, allowing filmmakers in the Arab world and Europe to establish a mutual dialogue, exchange experiences and open new markets for Arab, European and American films.

Noon Foundation aims to open channels of exchange in all cultural and artistic fields between Egypt and the world, and disseminate better knowledge of the other through the organization of cultural and cinematic events in Egypt and in different countries of the world.
2/16/2018 11:49:13 AM
<![CDATA[Wes Anderson's tale of deported dogs opens Berlin film festival]]>
The stop-motion feature, shown on Thursday, follows the adventures of the mayor’s 12-year-old adoptive son Atari, who flies a plane to the island to rescue his beloved pet Spots.

The mayor stops a scientist from curing the pets and a U.S. exchange pupil at the local school has her visa withdrawn when she suggests he is trying to turn people against dogs.

Anderson said his first idea was just to do a story about dogs and combine that with his love of Japan. Only later did he start developing the politics swirling around the science-fiction style Megasaki City.

“It’s our fantasy of the politics of this made-up place in Japan but then, because we’ve been working on this movie a long time, the world began to change ... and all of a sudden it seemed kind of right for the moment,” Anderson said at a post-screening news conference.

“So maybe there were tiny places along the way where we were getting new inspirations from real life that were finding their way into the movie but ... it was a story that we sort of felt could happen anywhere and it could happen at any time,” he said.

Bryan Cranston, who provides the voice for one of the dogs, said the film tapped into current concerns. “It has a lot of resonance in today’s society globally about immigration reform and fear and fearmongers,” he told Reuters.

Though filming actually started long before the debates on immigration and border walls now dominating the U.S. airwaves. “Back when we started Donald Trump was someone that we thought would just be a guy that was on TV every day,” co-star Bill Murray said.

Asked about how he managed to pull together such a star-studded cast - the voices of Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum and Scarlett Johansson all feature - Anderson said he had worked with or admired many of them for years.

“One thing about an animated movie is you can’t really say you’re not available. We can say: ‘Ok well we can do it anytime - we can do it at your house, we can do it any hour of day and it’s just no excuse’ and so that helped,” he said.

Anderson also opened the 2014 Berlinale with his eccentric movie “Grand Budapest Hotel”, which went on to win four Oscars.

“Isle of Dogs” is one of 19 films competing for the prestigious Golden and Silver Bears, which will be awarded on Feb 24.]]>
2/16/2018 10:58:21 AM
<![CDATA[Male stars at Berlin film festival say #MeToo movement is making them think]]>

Actor Bob Balaban whose voice featured in the opening movie of the Berlinale - Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” - told Reuters he was starting to think more about his own actions, such as when fans asked him for photographs with them.

“I think about things differently,” he said.

“When somebody says: ‘let’s take a selfie!', do you go like that or do you stand there like this because you’re thinking about it,” he said as he made a hugging gesture, then pulled his arm back.

Dozens of powerful men in the film industry, politics, entertainment and business have been fired or resigned in the face of allegations they abused their power.

Actor Bryan Cranston, best known for his role in the “Breaking Bad” series, said he was optimistic that the #MeToo movement would result in people being more respectful.

“I‘m very hopeful and pleased that anytime there is someone who was exposed to be an aggressor or who is behaving abhorrently is brought down because that kind of institutionalized misogyny needs to come to an end,” he said.

Cranston said he had no problem apologizing to people if he had said anything that might be offensive.

“But yes it does make me think of how have I been. Have I been contributing to this in some way? When I hear of someone behaving badly have I tried to just calm it down? Now I feel like: no, let’s get to the root of that and get that person out.”

Actor Jeff Goldblum, who starred in the “Jurassic Park” movies, said he was seeking to make sure that “every encounter and relationship I have is founded in maximum respect and sensitivity”.

Organizers of the Berlinale turned down a call to have movie stars walk a black, rather than red, carpet as a symbol of support for the campaign against sexual harassment, but are hosting discussion events.

Most of the stars wore black for the opening night of the Berlinale and festival director Dieter Kosslick eschewed his usual red scarf to show his support for victims.

“I think a festival like ours should show solidarity with this movement and with these people,” he said on the red carpet.

“We have a lot of discussion in the world and we have a lot of discussion at the Berlinale in the next week and tonight I thought a black scarf would say maybe more than a red one.”

The Berlinale, where around 400 films are being screened, runs until Feb. 25.]]>
2/16/2018 10:55:35 AM
<![CDATA[Jeffrey Tambor out of Amazon's 'Transparent' TV series]]>
Tambor, 73, said in an emailed statement he was “profoundly disappointed in Amazon’s handling of these false accusations against me.”

Tambor played the lead role of Maura Pfefferman, a divorced father who transitions to a woman late in life. He will not be returning for the upcoming fifth season of the groundbreaking series, Amazon said.

He is the latest celebrity to lose his job in the sexual misconduct scandal that has roiled Hollywood and beyond for the past five months.

The decision comes after an investigation started by Amazon in November into accusations against Tambor by two people on the show. The said Tambor had sexually harassed them and engaged in inappropriate behavior.

In his statement, Tambor said the discussions were never discussed with him directly and that he regretted if any of his actions were misinterpreted. He also called the investigation “deeply flawed and biased toward the toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set.”

Tambor won two Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance on the show, which was the first Amazon TV original series to garner such critical acclaim.

It was not clear on Thursday how the series, which was groundbreaking for its use of transgender actors and its portrayal of the transgender community, would proceed without him.

“Transparent” creator Jill Soloway said on Thursday she admired the courage of the two people who had spoken out, calling it “an example of the leadership this moment in our culture requires.”

”We are grateful to the many trans people who have supported our vision for ‘Transparent’ since its inception and remain heartbroken about the pain and mistrust their experience has generated in our community,” Soloway said in a statement.

“We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family.”]]>
2/16/2018 10:52:04 AM
<![CDATA['Migrant TripAdvisor' app helps new arrivals navigate Italy and escape abuse]]>
More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy from North Africa in the last four years, many fleeing war and poverty.

Surveys show Italians are increasingly uneasy with the influx, and immigration has become the main battleground in campaigning for the nation's March 4 parliamentary elections.

Many migrants struggle to adapt when they arrive, said Oliviero Forti of aid group Caritas, which developed the app.

"They need a travel companion," he said, adding that migrants tend to arrive with nothing apart from a phone.

"We felt the need to provide a first lifeline," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Named MigrAdvisor - in a nod to travel website TripAdvisor - the app uses geolocation to show users on a map where to find health facilities, police headquarters, embassies, consulates, kindergartens, post offices, Caritas centres and other services.

The app also provides advice and emergency numbers for unaccompanied children and migrants who can end up victims of slavery and exploitation - from forced labour to sex work.

Migrants, mainly from Africa, have been flocking to the fields of southern Italy for years to scrape a living as seasonal pickers of olives, tomatoes and oranges, often working long hours in exploitative conditions, rights groups say.

In January, a European security watchdog warned that human traffickers were capitalising on widespread chaos at migrant reception centres across southern Europe to transport their victims undetected and lure other migrants into forced labour.

A recent report by the United Nations migration agency (IOM) estimated that 80 percent of Nigerian girls arriving in Italy by sea were at risk of being forced into prostitution.

The app is available in four languages - English, Italian, French and Arabic - and has been downloaded more than 500 times since it was launched earlier this month, Forti said.

The project, which was partially funded by the U.S., is the last in a series of initiatives using the internet to aid migrants in their journeys. The Red Cross and the IOM recently launched similar pilots in Europe and Central America.]]>
2/16/2018 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Menoufia, birthplace of most leading figures]]>
Perhaps not as many people are aware of the fact that Maria al-Qibtiyya, wife of Prophet Mohamed and mother of his son Ibrahim, was from Menoufia.

Egypt Today gives an overview of the famous and leading figures from Menoufia and the secret that makes it crucially important in the Egyptian history.

A city of leaders

FILE - Abdel Aziz Fahmy

Menoufia’s name was derived from the hieroglyphic word “Nafr”, which means “The Good Land”. It was the birthplace of four Egyptian presidents, Mohammad Anwar el-Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, Adly Mansour and Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Prime ministers who were born in Menoufia include Sedki Sobhi, Mahmoud Fawzy (who served as prime minister under the rule of President Sadat), former Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzoury, and Essam Sharaf. It is also the birthplace of Ahmed Urabi’s companion Abdel Aal Helmy and Abdel Aziz Fahmy, the first leader to draft Egyptian Constitution in 1920.

Moreover, four people from Menoufia served as vice presidents including Hussein el-Shafei, Sadat, Mubarak, and Mohammed Fawzy.

More than 60 ministers originally came from Menoufia; ministers of Water Resources include: Abdel Qawy Ahmed, Abdel Khaliq al-Shennawy, Abdel Azim Abul Ata, and Mohamed Abdel Hady Rady; ministers of Agriculture include Mohamed el-Sayed abu Ali, Ahmed Abdel Ghaffar, Ahmed Nouh, and Nassif Tahoun; and ministers of Health include: Mohamed Mahmoud Nassar, Mohamed Darwish, Mohamed Sabry Zaki, and Ismail Sallam.

As for the ministers of Justice; Sabry Abu Alam was a jurist, politician, general secretary of Al Wafd Party, and he was particularly notable for passing the judicial authority independence law. Abu Alam served as minister of Justice in the cabinet of Nahhas Pasha. Others who held the post from Menoufia were Abdel Aziz Fahmy, Ahmed Hosny, Fakhry Abdel Nabi, and Ahmed Sameeh Talaat.

The ministers of Interior and Defense included Hassan Sabry, who served as the minister of finance and interior affairs in the reigns of Kings Fouad and Farouk then as prime minister from June 1940 till his death in November 1940; Field Marshal Mohamed Abdel Ghany el-Gamsy in 1974; and Shams Badran who was chosen by former President Gamal Abdel Nasser for this post. Other ministers of Defense from Menoufia were Amin Howaidy and Mohamed Fawzy.

As for ministers of Interior Affairs, Ahmed Rushdi followed by Zaki Badr and finally Mohamed Abdel Halim Moussa were all from Menoufia.

Posts at Al-Azhar Institute

Many of Menoufia’s residents had various titles as sheikhs and imams at Al-Azhar. The former grand imams and sheikhs of Al-Azhar born in Menoufia are Ahmed el-Arousy in 1778, Mohamed el-Shinwany in 1812, Mohamed Ahmed el-Arousy in 1818, Ahmed el-Damanhougy in 1829, Hassan el-Quesny in 1834, Ibrahim el-Bagoury in 1847, Mustafa Mohamed el-Arousy in 1864, and Abdel Hamid Sleim in 1950. In addition, scholars like professors Mustafa Mahmoud, Sheikh Khalid el-Guindy and Sheikh Mabrouk Atteya come from Menoufia.

Founder and reciters of the holy Quran Radio Channel

FILE - Sheikh Abdel Fattal al-Sha’sha’y

Sheikh Abdel Fatah al-Sha’sha’y from Ashmoun (a city in Menoufia) was the first to recite Quran in Prophet Mohamed’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Also, the list of famous Quran reciters include highly-esteemed names from Menoufia such as Sheikh Mohamed Mahmoud el-Tablawy from Tala, Sheikh Mohamed al-Toukhy, Sheikh Ramadan el-Sayyad and Sheikh Ramadan el-Bouhy from Ashmoun.

Prince of Poets

Many historical documents indicate that the family of Ahmed Shawky, also known as the "Prince of Poets", is originally from Menoufia. Likewise, great poet Abdel Qader el-Mazny is originally from the village of Kom Mazen in Menoufia. Also, Writer Amin el-Khouly, the husband of Aisha Abdel-Rahman, known as Daughter of the Beach, poet Ahmed Abdel Muti Hijazi who is considered one of the pioneers of the movement of renewal in contemporary Arabic poetry were from Menoufia. Hijazi’s poetry has been translated into French, English, Russian, Spanish, Italian and German; he won the Egyptian Greek Cavafy award in 1989.

Journalists, actors and singers

FILE - Actress Tawfik el Dekn

Amongst Menoufia’s people are many celebrities and journalists such as Makram Mohamed Ahmed, former president of the Syndicate of Journalists and incumbent president of the Supreme Committee for Media; Ibrahim Eissa; Hamdy Qandil; Samir Ragab; satirist Mahmoud el-Saadany; and Amin Bassiouny, former president of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union.

As for actors, Tawfik el-Deken, Sa’eed Saleh, Magda el-Khatib and Mamdouh Abdel Aleem, Farouk al-Fishawy, Hatim Thul Faqqar, Mohey Ismail, Salah el-Saadany, and Safaa’ Abul Seoud are from Menoufia. Egyptian Presenter Sabry Salam, who was the first to utter the words “Our forces have crossed the Suez Canal” during the October 6 War was also from Menoufia.

Abd el-Basit Hammouda, Egyptian folk singer, is originally from Menoufia.

Egyptian football stars

File - Abdel Wahed El Sayed

Menoufia is the birthplace of the most famous football stars such as Mohamed Abdel Monsef, goalkeeper Abdel Wahed el-Sayed, Ahmed Ali and Ahmed Jaafar.

The secret of Menoufia

Education is the pillar of Menoufia’s capability to present all these famous and leading figures throughout the centuries. Historians say that when the British occupation came to Egypt, it sought and actually managed to destroy education; yet, Menoufia was the only governorate which thwarted the attempts of the British.

Menoufia could hold on to their right of getting education thanks to the people’s donations which were used for building Al-Masai Al-Mashkoura Schools for the poor; the rates of illiteracy in Menoufia are very low until today. Education for Menoufia's people is very essential as they all dream of reaching high-ranking positions; a dream that usually comes true.

2/15/2018 5:21:37 PM
<![CDATA['Dr Seuss' is getting a biopic movie]]>
Born as Theodore Geisel in 1904, 'Dr Seuss' started from humble origins in Massachusetts, working as an illustrator and struggling to get his book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” published, continuously rejected until he finally got lucky in 1937. He would eventually go on to publish around 60 books for children, and had even worked as a political cartoonist during World War II. His whimsical art style, creative character concepts and rhyming style have made him one of the world's most beloved children's book authors.

However, not all of Seuss's legacy has been positive. His earlier works, particularly those done during WWII, have been accused of harboring racist sentiment, such as against the Japanese. His later works show a shift towards a more mature worldview, and “Horton Hears a Who”, first published in 1954, was written by Seuss as a direct apology for his anti-Japanese works, which he started to rethink after visiting Japan in 1953, witnessing the aftermath of the atomic bombing and the hopes of the schoolchildren he met.

The upcoming film is set to be written by Jonathan Stewart and Eyal Podell, according to Deadline, and will follow the author's early career during the 1920s and his struggle to establish himself as a writer and illustrator, before meeting his future wife Helen Palmer, who would inspire him to become 'Dr Seuss' years later. It is unknown if the film will address the racism controversy that his works have been a frequent target of.

Chbosky's “Wonder”, starring Julia Roberts, was a massive hit, grossing in over $285 million at the worldwide box-office. His previous credits include 2012's “Perks of Being a Wallflower” and screenwriting 2017's “Beauty and the Beast”.
2/15/2018 4:42:15 PM
<![CDATA[Today in History - Disney's 'Cinderella' Premieres]]>

World War II did Disney no favors. Animated features such as "Pinocchio", "Fantasia" and "Bambi" fared poorly at the box office, and the loss of the European market spelt bad news. Postwar, Disney was left in $4 million of debt, which the studio struggled to make even on through live-action films and short melodies. The production of another feature-length animated movie was a massive risk, but it was one that Disney just had to take.

"Cinderella" was a story Disney had his eyes on adapting for several years, and looking to his past success in "Snow White", he felt that "Cinderella" was potentially similar enough to grant him another hit. The film needed to be produced on a tight budget and schedule, with Disney not being able to afford remakes or wasted animation.

"Cinderella" would thus be first shown entirely in live action, with the animators using this footage for reference during their work. This allowed for "Cinderella" to maintain a high level of convincing realism.

Much like Cinderella, Disney was risking everything on this project; if it flopped, the entire studio was going down with it. But this time, Disney had a greater sense of confidence; if he had succeeded once, he could do it again.

The story of Cinderella as we know it dates back to the 17th century, derived from a popular European folk tale of a woman in rags who ascends to riches through magic and a handsome prince charming. In particular, Disney based his version of the tale on the French writer Charles Perrault's "Cendrillon", which featured the fairy godmother, glass slippers and magic pumpkins that Disney would bring to life in his feature.

As a personal touch, and perhaps serving as a symbolic reflection of the postwar times, Disney added a greater focus on fashion in the time; the sequence in which Cinderella's rags are magically transformed into a gorgeous ball-gown is considered to be Disney's favorite sequence in all his films, and can be seen as a shift from the ruins of the war into the richness of the future.

Production of the film began in 1948 on a budget of $2 million, but thankfully for Disney the movie proved to be a massive success, the biggest since "Snow White". It was also one of the highest grossing films of 1950, proving that Disney hadn't lost its magic. As part of its recent trend of readapting its classics, "Cinderella" would be remade into a live-action film, released in 2015, directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden and Helena Bonham-Carter.

2/15/2018 3:32:49 PM
<![CDATA['Cinderella’s secret' novel turns into play]]>
The play is based on “Cinderella’s Secret” novel for the Egyptian author Heba el-Sawah. Through satirical changes to the classic fairy tale of Cinderella, Sawah tries to break many stereotypical concepts to which many generations have been raised up.

The book points out that one of the most misleading concepts always featured in such fairy tales is that the true happiness for any girl is based only on finding prince charming. The novel shows that this is completely irrelevant to reality, according to the book description.

The novel unveils society's deception for females; it convinces them that they won’t be able to meet a special person without joining specific faculties and jobs and owning certain properties.

The play is directed by Mohammed Hafez, founder of Utopia theatrical troupe. Hafez also directed several theatrical plays such as “The Toy”, “Feminist”, “The Clown”, amongst others. It is worth mentioning that Hafez participated in many theatrical performances as an actor.

Utopia previously staged several theaters, performing acts that deliver societal and human messages. Utopia members believe that they represent the rising generation, bearing the responsibility of introducing meaningful theater to it society, according to the cast’s official Facebook page.

They chose the name Utopia, hoping to create a better reality for themselves and for the audience through art.

The troupe refuses presenting plays that merely provide the audience with light jokes, but rather prefer to merge entertainment with intellectuality.

Utopia received several awards in acting, music and directing. They also won the best stage performance in the Silver Jubilee of Zefti Festival, the second place at the Sakia Theater Festival and the second place at the Alexandria International Festival.
2/15/2018 3:10:05 PM
<![CDATA[Music Review: Hawary’s new album reshapes Egypt’s music scene]]>
The Egyptian music market usually doesn’t rely on music genre classification as a measurement unit for the level of demand and success of a music album; you can’t name a certain music genre that will always succeed or vice versa, but the potential of success in the Egyptian music market could be measured on how the tunes, compositions, music styles and lyrics can be differentiated.

In that case, there is a huge diversity of music genres, as each can surprise by making it to the pop scene top charts and mass audiences.

Compilation of music genres

Hawary has been working on her music competitive edge since she decided to play music in 2011, as she relied on her light spirit and simple, but effortlessly beautiful, singing. The diatonic accordion highlighting these two factors gives her project a twist not previously witnessed in Egypt.

The story with the album was different, as some events in Hawary's personal life and that of her band as well helped them deliver such music quality and uniqueness. Her accordion, jazz and more music studies in France led to a magical effect on the album, a road from which anyone can tell how different Hawary and her music project are, plus the improvement of quality and the musical personality.

First, Egypt is not a market that believes in music genre classification as a sole means to judge an album or an artist, neither for artists nor audiences, but it can be used through musicians, composers and music producers to put an edge to a certain project that would make it look different among remaining participants.

Hawary's album’s sound is different due to many reasons. The first reason is her Gypsy jazz style, a music genre created in the 1930s by famed French musician Jean "Django" Reinhardt. It is a subgenre from the classic music genre "Bal-musette", which depends on the accordion as a main instrument, along with the banjo.

She added some instruments that were not usually used in that genre, such as drums and bass, giving a groove to the tunes to make people dance. Also, Hawary added mandola to replace banjo, along with the addition of violin, harmonica and oriental percussions, such as the Egyptian tabla and doff, giving the genre a new twist through the mix of instruments.

Gypsy jazz is the main music genre characterizing Hawary, but fusing classical French Bal-Musette, Gypsy jazz and folk music, alongside oriental music, confirms how different and special this project is.

Words with emotional meanings

The lyrics express Hawary's personality and life experiences, but the beauty of the words in this album is apparent with the metaphors used to express them, as much as realism and sarcasm is an element.

The way the lyricists who worked on this album used figure of speech was as special as Hawary's voice when singing them. For example, in the tune dubbed “Kashkouly” (My Notebook), lyricist Salam Yousry compared a woman’s love for her man to a notebook that she lost. She also mentions his advantages and regrets after losing it without hugs or proper goodbyes. That was not the only track that had strong metaphors. “La Tesmaa Kalamy” (Don’t Listen to Me) was a strong figure of speech for treating her heart as a human being to whom she expresses her problems.

The independent young singer also used realism to discuss social issues; for example, “Kollena Hannam Belleil” (We Will All Sleep Tonight) and “Bas Kollo Yehoun” (But Everything Matters) describes the fears and corruption taking place in everyday social life. The songs’ lyrics urged people not to worry much about those problems, since they will sleep and wake up with no burden to carry on their shoulders.

Sarcasm was the primary tone utilized in her lyrics, which got Hawary to the forefront of social media feeds with her hit release of “El Soor” (The Fence), a first for the young artist at the time. In another single, “Jessica,” she describes the complexities of heterosexual romantic relationships, expressing the anger of a jealous lover with the words “God bless Jessica.”

Shining in a developing independent music scene

Hawary’s music debut was a bit different from others. When she started to believe she had something different to propose to the world, she decided to hold a trial concert in order to decide whether or not her project was worth the effort she’s willing to give. The answer became clear: the audience liked it to a level she didn’t expect.

Hawary recorded “El Soor” one month after her debut concert. Her musician friends, who later became her band, suggested it was time to take the big step and record her first track. The track’s impact was great, gaining huge viewership on YouTube. It also won the Fair Play Global Music Video award from Brazil for original songs on the theme of anti-corruption — it was shocking, unexpected and led to beautiful news that pushed Hawary to form her band and invade the Egyptian music scene.

2/15/2018 12:07:49 PM
<![CDATA[7th To Be Continued festival is here]]>
The festival aims to support young talents in the field of choreography (directors, choreographers or performers), as the festival manages to choose from three to four talents every two years to join the ongoing workshops. They are taught technical, artistic and managerial skills on stage and backstage.

The festival will host four talents from four different areas. The first show is named “Utopia”, and the show revolves around that idea and how it develops inside every person. The show is performed and directed by talented contemporary dancer Nagham Salah, as the Sudanese choreographer has been active in the dancing field since 2009 by giving workshops for various types of dancing, along with performing in many local and international festivals, such as the Independent Theater festival, which takes place in Jordan.

The second show is called “The Honeymoon”, which is a one-chapter play that is adopted from a book written by Ali Salem, “A Writer in His Honeymoon”. The play discusses the fears of all youth generations from being watched.

The third performance is by Mustapha Khalil, labeled “I”, adopted from the novel “Not I”, which was written by remarkable novelist Samuel Beckett. The show portrays, through a novel way, a woman’s mentality and the emotional struggles that overtake her.

The fourth is “Algha’eb” (The Absentee), a contemporary dance show performed, designed and directed by Ali Khamees, as the talented director expresses a certain phase of his life where he felt fear from the past, present and future.

2/15/2018 10:09:26 AM
<![CDATA[Who is the Black Panther?]]>

“Black Panther”, set for a wide release in the USA on February 16, 2018, is already proving to be breaking new records. It has outsold more pre-order movie tickets than any other superhero film, according to the website Fandango, and it has also broken their record for the most pre-ordered tickets of an MCU film.

There's certainly a lot to be excited for, given the film's all-star ensemble cast of actors, ranging from Chadwick Boseman, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Michael B. Jordan, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira of “Walking Dead” and more. Stellar pre-release reviews have only helped the film's popularity grow across social media as well, with all of them being either ecstatic or overjoyed at the film.

But just who, or what, is the Black Panther?

It all began with the 1961 Fantastic Four #52 comic book, marking the character's first ever appearance. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the Black Panther was created as an answer to the lack of superheroes of color, similar to fellow Marvel hero Luke Cage. They created the hero T’Challa, hailing from the fictional and futuristic African city of Wakanda, a unique technological metropolis hidden away from the rest of humanity.

Following the death of his father, the king of Wakanda, T'Challa takes on the throne and his role as the superpowered Black Panther. However, unlike his predecessors, T'Challa decides to protect all of humanity, leaving his kingdom to go to New York City, joining other heroes, such as the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, to fend off evil.

With the rise of the Black Power movement shortly after the character's debut, Marvel aimed to distance the character from the Black Panther civil militia group in order to make it clear they weren't directly supporting them. Thus, T'Challa became the Black Leopard for a time in 1974, though his new title wasn't used for long.

The Black Panther would see his first solo adventures in the pages of “Astonishing Tales #6”, where he battles with Fantastic Four super-villain Doctor Doom after returning to Wakanda. In 1973, he finally had his own on-going storyline in “Jungle Action”. By 1976, the character's normally fantastic adventures took a more serious and realistic turn when he confronted the Ku Klux Klan, nearly being burned on a cross.

Poor sales plagued the character's stories until 1998, when Christopher Knight brought the hero into his “Marvel Knights” series, a mature political thriller that ran until 2003 and was the Black Panther's most successful appearance. He even joined with Marvel's most popular female character of color, Storm, in marriage in his titular series that ran from 2005 until 2008, though their relationship was unfortunately short-lived, terminating in a messy divorce. Now the character seems due for his grandest role yet with the upcoming “Black Panther” movie, which is expected to be one of the biggest releases of the year. An estimate from Variety gives the film's opening weekend gross at around $170 million.

Alas, not everyone has been happy with the upcoming film, given that Facebook had just closed down a Facebook group aiming to flood the film with false negative reviews, but it's done little to curb the sheer excitement being felt for this movie.

The Black Panther's importance comes from what it represents to African-Americans – a vision of Africa as a land of technological and cultural prosperity – and the film represents a chance for young African-American children to grow up with superheroes who not only look like them, but tell them that they have the potential to grow up and do great things; that the color of their skin is something that they can truly take pride in.
2/15/2018 9:25:38 AM
<![CDATA[Karima Mansour, an open window to contemporary dance]]>
An independent space for contemporary dancers and artists, CCDC has been established in 2012, currently operating under the umbrella of MAAT for Contemporary Art. A choreographer to several dance works, Mansour emphasizes the efforts it takes to encourage rising artists through allowing them to understand their bodies, new movements, and a way of life that would pave way to their actual dreams.
Tell us briefly about yourself and the CCDC dance provision

I am a dancer, choreographer, teacher and performer, and I am the founder and artistic director of Cairo Contemporary Dance Center. I think Egypt is a big country and full of potential and talent, and I think this is the least you can expect from such a country. Culture is important, and I have a different outlook than people who think dance is not part of culture. Dance has existed since Ancient Egypt across all regions of the country and has continued to develop through time to include much later the renowned Mahmoud Reda and Ali Reda dance troupes, who have modernized traditional and folklore dance.

If we speak about when contemporary dance entered Egypt, it is an art form that still needs to be developed seriously in means of having spaces in which rising dancers can train and not always be obliged to leave the country to train and practise and come back. We have people who are trained to become dancers and future teachers, and/or choreographers; however, to do all that, you need a solid infrastructure and an environment for all of this to flourish, which is exactly CCDC’s vision and goals in creating a hub and space.

We are recognized by the UNESCO Dance Council; all our teachers are professionals and certified. The program, featuring theory and practice, in the center comprises rigorous training through three years, five days a week, five hours a day. It is also an international program — for example, we have visiting guest teachers and students from different parts of the world. The whole idea is becoming an international hub for dance through programs and artistic residencies that we offer. We have established international guest artists, who come here and teach and share their experience, but who also learn from us.

How did contemporary dance grow its roots in Egyptian society?

It is still growing its roots in Egyptian society; this is what we’re trying to do here. Dance, in all its forms, has existed since Ancient Egypt, but contemporary dance with these specifications is very young. We had an era of dance that was introduced at the Opera Modern Dance Theater, which existed in the early 1990s as another attempt to introduce this art form, but this is not enough when speaking of contemporary dance and what we try to do here. Contemporary dance will exist when there are more dance activities outside the opera, in which the independent scene and more youth can be involved to create a healthy dance scene. To apply such rhetoric, we need a place where people can research, rehearse and speak about dance and show their work. Only then can we actually say contemporary dance exists in Egypt.

Contemporary dance started in Egypt when people studied and shared their ideas and performed in other venues through individual initiatives. CCDC is a project that allows all this to happen and has witnessed the graduation of a whole generation from a dance program.

Where does Egypt stand on the contemporary dance map?

First of all, I don’t think we should be comparing ourselves to the world, because this is not a realistic comparison. Once a society understands the importance of art, it will then eventually support its upcoming generations in the process and then there would be a healthy environment that provides opportunities to these generations. Those would later graduate, some of which may become trainers or work on their choreography. This is how the whole infrastructure starts to build. Other countries built this infrastructure more than 50 years ago. Of course we’re on the way, but we can’t currently compare ourselves to countries that have already reached that phase. Despite the scene developing over the past 20 years, there are still a lot of things to do to enhance it.

CCDC founder Karima Mansour - Photo courtesy of CCDC media office

What is the difference between contemporary dance and modern dance?
Modern dance started mainly in the U.S., while post-modernism and expression dance spread throughout Europe. Contemporary dance is a term that was coined later. The difference is in the historical phases and, later on, the techniques.

Tell us more about the educational curriculum provided here

It is a three-year program, and each year we work for 10 months. We try to create variety and consistency, which is really important, because there are usually different types of dance trainings. We try as much as possible to select forms of teaching regarding the quality and relevance; however, we also introduce ballet, which is important for students to know as a technique and as a form. Our curriculum includes African dance, Dervish dance, martial arts, yoga, biomechanics (a form of understanding body movement), anatomy, dance history and theory and vernacular forms, such as hip hop, among other aspects of the curriculum. The aim is to create versatile dancers.

In your opinion, what was the most important contemporary dance piece hosted by CCDC that you deem special?

Everything we do here is important. This whole project is special to my heart.

Tell us more about the Artistic Residency program, will it be carried out in the upcoming period?

The Artistic Residency Program is dedicated to both Egyptian and international artists who lack the resources and facilities, thus, we give them, in return, that space where they can do that, and we accompany them upon request. The program also gives a chance to the international community to be exposed to a different culture.

How has living in Egypt influenced your artistic work?

Whether I live in Egypt or not, at the end of the day, I am Egyptian, which means part of the culture and society is already in me, and I don’t need to force it to make it appear. On a side note, this is another issue that needs to be discussed: some people link dance to nationalism, obliging dance to their identity. I find this behavior very limiting to creativity and thought, and it prevents them from expanding their horizons. Dance is an expression of body and human state.

When I create my works, I don’t think of the nationality of my audience; however, I am aware that there will be different understandings of the work. An artist should be able to preserve their integrity by not creating art that targets one type of audience. I believe the power of art lies in opening up imagination, respecting the intelligence of the audience and universality of the form. Contemporary art implicates the spectator or audience to work and think during the performance, thus indirectly engaging in the production.

CCDC founder Karima Mansour - Photo courtesy of CCDC media office

How would you assess the current contemporary art movement in Egypt?

It is very interesting, but there is more that needs to happen. There are so many talented people and incredible ideas, but the context is not allowing this to prevail. Egypt does not have enough logistics to support the movement in which to show their works. The country lacks space, finances and support, all of which are essential ingredients to expand the artistic platform. Development needs time and consistency that should go in parallel to proper work.

What were the choreography you created that were special to you?

I created over 20 pieces, and I worked crazy on each of them — and I see my artistic development in them; therefore, I consider all of them important to me.

Tell us about your special theater and film contributions

I participated in the creating process of these productions, which were exciting — and I am still open to more of these contributions. Sometimes, I train the actors working in the field of film because actors need to be aware of their body.

2/14/2018 6:10:46 PM
<![CDATA[Arabic calligraphy, a prolonged influence on culture worldwide ]]>
The Arabic calligraphy had a great impact in the improvement of arts all over the world, as it has influenced cultures such as Andalusia in Spain and more, plus it has been the main influence in multiple art styles such as the Baroque and Rococo art styles in Europe, and also the fusions resulted from many cultural exchanges between the Islamic art world and other ancient cultures such as the Chinese culture which helped a lot in presenting brand new styles as an output from this collaboration.

Calligraphy 5
Pyxis of al-Mughira, Madinat al-

All of these reasons have highlighted the importance of Arabic Language calligraphy, besides pushing many entities nowadays to fund and support that unique art style teaching, and encouraging many universities to make Arabic calligraphy studies a priority in any art university.

One of those universities is the Goldsmiths University of London, which is about to launch a new developing program called “Language in Art and The Work of Ali Omar Ermes”, the project is supported by the Qatar Foundation International, British Museum and the Museum of London, and it aims to add a new resource of Arabic learning that considers the development of art work at the first place and the language along with it according to an article published by the Goldsmith University of London.

Calligraphy 2
- photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The program depends on a one class session in which different styles of Arabic calligraphy are taught through the works of Ali Omar Ermes, that session will tour the United Kingdom, as for now it has been assured that this program will be applied in Edinburgh, Leeds, Sheffield and London, also the program will include a workshop to encourage student collaborations and creative engagement.

Ermes is a Libyan calligrapher that has studied in England, as he got his diploma from Plymouth School of Architecture and Design and later the Central Saint Martin College of Arts and Design. He relied on drawing Arabic letters and literature phrases and for that unique vision he’s active in many cultural institutions and he’s the chairman of the Muslim Cultural Heritage Center in London.

2/14/2018 4:59:24 PM
<![CDATA[Film about liberal movement "We Want Roses too" to screen in Cairo ]]>
Thousands of female textile workers in Massachusetts protested in 1912, chanting, “We want bread, but we want roses.” The film portrays the liberation movement in Italy between the 1960s and 1970s through archives and animation. The presented footage shows three Italian women fighting in different battles.

The first woman is Anita, whose greatest challenge was her domineering father’s strict rules. The second woman is Teresa, who was forced into a painful abortion, while Valentina is a militant feminist who gets stuck between love and commitment.

The film is written and directed by Alina Marazzi, who is known as one of the most pioneering of Italian documentary makers in the rising generation. She participated with her award-winning film in several local and international festivals. Her filmmaking career is mainly based on documenting many significant social and historical events, according to the Women Making Films website.

The film stars Anita Caprioli, known for several films, such as “The Immature” (2011); Teresa Saponangelo, known for “Come Undone” (2010); and Valentina Carnelutti, known for “The Best of Youth”.

“We Want Roses Too” participated in many international festivals, such as the International Documentary Film Festival, Amersterdam, International Film Festival di Locarno, It’s All True Int'l Doc Film Festival, Brazil and BFI London Film Festival, among others.

2/14/2018 4:48:58 PM
<![CDATA[Celebrate Valentine's Day with these Romantic films]]>
"Casablanca" (1942)

An enduring classic which is considered to be one of the greatest films ever made; Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman star as as amongst the most iconic Hollywood couples in director Michael Curtiz's romance set in the tense height of WWII.

Rick Blaine (Bogart) runs a nightclub in 1940s Casablanca which serves as a haven for refugees to escape to America. When his old flame Ilsa (Bergman) stops by with her husband, Blaine feels his heart reawakened.

"Gone with the Wind" (1939)

One of the most beloved romances of all time, director Vikor Fleming crafts an epic tale of the love life of Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), tracing her life throughout the Civil War and her relationship with men such as the handsome rogue, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and old flame Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard).

"When Harry Met Sally" (1989)

Director Rob Reiner explores the fine line between love and friendship in this endearing romantic comedy. Two close friends, Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan), have been close for years, trying and failing to find love on their own. The two consistently have each other in their lives however, and as they grow even closer, the pair confronts a question: "Can a man and woman remain friends before love gets in the way?"

"Singing in the Rain" (1952)

This romantic-comedy musical explores the transition of an early Hollywood studio from silent film to color and sound. Famous on-screen actors Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are a beloved romantic pair; though in reality Don feels nothing for Lina. After the shift to sound, Don's voice proves to be a hit, but Lina's needed to be dubbed over; enter stage actress Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), brought in to replace Lina's voice, Don begins to fall in love, much to Lina's jealously.

"Titanic" (1997)

James Cameron has directed one of the biggest romantic films of all time, telling the tragic and timeless story of poor artist Jack Dawson (Leonaro DiCaprio) and aristocrat Rose Calvert (Kate Winslet), who meet on-board the RMS Titanic as it sets sail on its doomed voyage on in 1912.

"Pretty Woman" (1990)

Director Garry Marshall pairs Richard Gere and Julia Roberts together in this romantic comedy about how love transcends social barriers. Edward (Gere) is a wealthy through cutthroat businessman who could have it all, but his ambitions prevent him from maintaining close emotional connections.

Not wanting to look bad going to social gatherings all alone, he hires prostitute Vivian Ward (Roberts) to be his 24/7 escort, paying her in return. What neither of them counted on was the seed of love to be planted. For her leading role, Roberts was nominated an Oscar award.

"The Shape of Water" (2017)

A common theme in Monster Movies is that the monster kidnaps a beautiful woman, and the leading hero must save her from its clutches. Director Guillermo del Toro turns this idea on its head, showing that even monsters deserve love.

Set in a secret research facility in the 1960s, mute Janitor Elisa (Sally Hawkins) begins to empathize with a fish-man (Doug Jones) held captive at the facility, and the two soon form a passionate connection that transcends words, proving the power of love.

"The Princess Bride" (1987)

Rob Reiner directs this whimsical fantasy romance that begins with an elderly man reading the titular story to his sick grandson, who's convinced he won't like something romantic; it is the story of farm-girl Buttercup (Robin Wright), who is chosen to be the bride of a cruel prince, but still mourns for the loss of her true love, Westley (Cary Elwes), who supposedly died at sea. However, when Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of bandits, the mysterious Dread Pirate Roberts might be the key to saving her.

"Roman Holiday" (1953)

William Wyler's romantic comedy that won leading lady Audrey Hepburn an Oscar for best Actress, "'Roman Holiday'" sees Hepburn cast into the role of runaway European Princess Ann, who is discovered by American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), who believes he's in for the story of a lifetime, but love begins to blossom between the two, leading to hilarious antics.

"The Big Sick"(2017)

This romantic comedy from director Michael Showalter explores the complications and mishaps of cross-cultural love when stand up Pakistani comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani) falls in love with Emily (Zoe Kazan). Their relationship struggles when cultural differences begin to interfere, and things get even more complicated when Emily falls into a coma and Kumail must deal with her tragic illness and two families, all while coming to terms with what he really wants in life.
]]>2/14/2018 4:41:30 PM<![CDATA[ Vibrant “Colors of Morocco” exhibition highlights Moroccan beauty]]>
This is Diab’s first photography exhibition, and is stated to be an exciting and immersive glimpse into the life and beauty of Morocco through its vibrant colors and scenes. The photographs were taken during Diab’s visit to the country last year, where she captured the “Moroccan spirit” evident in its mesmerizing colors.

Photos courtesy of Al-Shumue official Facebook page

Although Diab had been to various countries before, the photographer chose Morocco to mark the debut of her career in the field after discovering it to be enticingly full of richness and glory. Relatively inexperienced as a professional photographer, her work is stated to appeal to a wide audience for its connection to humanity and raw emotion.

Works featured in “Colors of Morocco” are categorized as “street photography”, a specific type of photography that deals with translating the action of the street into a photographic representation of the greater energy of the city.

This exhibition is the first of a series of exhibitions and shows for the photographer at the al-Shumue Center.

Photos courtesy of Al-Shumue official Facebook page

Stay tuned for our interview with Nagwa Diab on her artistic will and passion toward Morocco.]]>
2/14/2018 12:19:26 PM
<![CDATA['Black Panther': more than just another superhero movie]]>
The 18th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, opening Friday in the United States, features an almost entirely black cast led by Chadwick Boseman as the first non-white superhero to get his own standalone movie in the lucrative franchise.

The film from Disney-owned Marvel Studios is expected to break opening weekend box office records and has spawned headlines and social media buzz worldwide about its significance as a game changer for racial representation in cinema.

"We put our heart and soul into it because we knew it was a great opportunity," Boseman, 41, said during a Twitter Q&A on Monday.

"But to see how people have responded to it when they haven't even seen the movie yet, it's unlike anything I've ever seen. It's crazy."

Boseman ("Message from the King," "Marshall") plays the titular superhero in "Black Panther," also known as T'Challa, king and protector of the technologically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda.

His star-studded support cast is made up of African Americans Michael B Jordan, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker, English actors Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright -- Kaluuya is of Ugandan heritage while Wright grew up in Guyana -- and Kenyan-Mexican Lupita Nyong'o.

With two Oscar winners (Nyong'o and Whitaker) and two nominees (Kaluuya and Bassett), as well as a hatful of Golden Globes nods, the super-cast features some of the most accomplished black actors working in cinema today.

Wakanda, almost a character in itself, subverts the stereotype of Africa as victim by positing an affluent, resource-rich, never-colonized utopia doing its own soul-searching over taking in refugees from poorer nations.

- 'Breaking down barriers' -

"What this movie represents... is a story and point of view that is universal in its appeal yet very grounded in African American culture," Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for comScore, told AFP.

"Its universal themes will allow it to become a worldwide phenomenon while at the same time representing a really important moment in film, breaking down barriers and outmoded ideas about what is commercially viable."

With five million posts, "Black Panther" is the most tweeted-about movie of 2018 -- ahead even of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" -- and is outperforming "The Hunger Games" and "Beauty and the Beast" in pre-sales.

Experts are predicting a $150-165 million opening which would challenge the $152 million Presidents Day weekend record set by another Marvel Comics creation, Fox's "Deadpool" (2016).

Fred Joseph, a marketing consultant from New York, set up a GoFundMe campaign in January that aimed to raise $10,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem to watch the movie.

"Help Children See Black Panther" ended up making fives time that amount and Joseph has since encouraged hundreds of campaigns around the world to raise a total of $400,000 under the hashtag #BlackPantherChallenge.

Joseph describes the film as a "rare opportunity for young students -- primarily of color -- to see a black major cinematic and comic book character" on the big screen.

Jeff Bock, a senior box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, describes the film as a "stake in the heart of what works and what doesn't in Hollywood."

- 'Cultural zeitgeist' -

"This is a new ballgame now, one that shouldn't discriminate in any way shape or form -- with talent leading the charge, no matter what color flag they're flying," Bock told AFP.

"Black Panther" isn't the first movie featuring non-white superheroes -- around 30 ethnic characters have donned lycra for big screen appearances since the early 1990s -- but the Wakandan royal is the first black protagonist to land his own movie in the MCU.

"When Ryan and Hannah Beachler, our production designer, came on, they really made it their mission to go to real African sources for inspiration for the costumes and designs of the structures, and even how the city is laid out," said African American executive producer Nate Moore.

"All that care helped make it real for all of us."

Various analysts interviewed by AFP said they expect the film to do for ethnic diversity what last summer's Warner Bros. smash hit "Wonder Woman" did for women -- which was to persuade executives that blockbusters don't need white male leads to sell tickets.

"As an art form, film has the ability to capture the cultural zeitgeist in profound and influential ways -- whether that's via a small indie film or a big-budget blockbuster," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, told AFP.

"The impact of Black Panther's seemingly inevitable success could be far-reaching in ways that we can't fully predict yet, other than to say Marvel's universe -- and the movie world at large -- are becoming more and more inclusive for all genders and all colors of skin."]]>
2/14/2018 12:09:56 PM
<![CDATA[NY Philharmonic plays 'music of conscience' in premiere-heavy season]]>
The leading US orchestra late Tuesday announced its first season under incoming music director Jaap van Zweden, a Dutch violinist turned maestro who some observers had presumed to be most interested in leading refined performances of the classical canon.

But the 2018-19 season will take on themes of activism and immigrants' contributions to New York City -- an unspoken statement in the age of President Donald Trump and his nativist "America First" platform.

Among the world premieres will be "prisoner of the state" by leading US composer David Lang, a contemporary reinterpretation of Beethoven's sole opera, "Fidelio," about a disguised guard who rescues her husband from a political prison.

Van Zweden, speaking at an event to launch the season, said he considered the opera a "wonderful statement from us" that will close the season.

Lang's opera will be part of a series that the Philharmonic calls "Music of Conscience." Other works will include Beethoven's "Eroica," which he famously un-dedicated to Napoleon; Shostakovich's "Chamber Symphony," written as he weathered intense pressure from Soviet authorities, and US composer John Corigliano's 1988 "Symphony No. 1" that touched on the AIDS epidemic.

The Philharmonic will also put its principles into practice -- and take a new stab at classical music's eternal quest to rejuvenate audiences -- with a series of $5 concerts conduced by Van Zweden.

The one-hour concerts -- dubbed "Phil the Hall" -- will be open to teachers, first responders and others involved in public service.

Deborah Borda, the orchestra's new president and CEO who has moved quickly to shore up its financial health, said the $5 concerts aimed to bring in "people who might not normally come to the Philharmonic -- partly because they've never been invited, partly because there could be an economic barrier."

- 'City of immigrants' -

Another world premiere, "Fire in My Mouth" by composer Julia Wolfe, will be accompanied by multimedia projections as it looks back at the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

The blaze, made worse by unsafe working conditions, was the deadliest in New York City's history with 146 workers killed, most of them immigrant women.

Borda said that the piece was part of the Philharmonic's look at how immigrants "built our city."

"We all know New York is a city of immigrants, and that is our pride and our strength," she said.

Van Zweden said he was intimately aware of New York's immigrant history. As a cash-strapped student at The Julliard School, he said he lived in Spanish Harlem and would play soccer in Central Park with Mexican and Puerto Rican youngsters.

"I learned the city from the street where I'm from, I would say. And it was wonderful."

- Representing women -

The season will open with a yet-untitled world premiere by Ashley Fure, a scholar in her mid-30s who researches the forces behind sound.

Fure said that the Philharmonic's decision to throw its weight "behind the voice of a young, female composer at the start of a new era is a very rare and profound choice."

Women's lack of representation has been a topic of growing concern in the cultural world.

The other world premieres in the 2018-19 season will include a commissioned piece from 23-year-old piano prodigy Conrad Tao and "Agamemnon," a work inspired by Greek mythology by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen.]]>
2/14/2018 12:07:06 PM
<![CDATA[Afghan institute, Metallica win music's 'Nobel Prize']]>
The laureates will each receive one million Swedish kronor (101,000 euros, $125,000) at a televised gala in Stockholm on June 14 in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

The Afghan National Institute of Music was honoured along with its founder, Ahmad Sarmast, who started the school in 2010 in a rare coeducational initiative in the war-torn country.

The institute, which teaches both Afghan and Western music, helped generate the country's first all-female orchestra which performed last yar at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Sarmast, who has faced substantial risk in a country where both music and girls' education was banned under the repressive 1996-2001 Taliban regime, said he was "very excited, honoured and privileged" to win the prize.

"We believe that our two recipients, although from very contrasting worlds, exemplify the mission of the Polar Music Prize, and that is to honour musicians and music organisations whose work has made a difference to people's lives," Marie Ledin, managing director of the award, said in a statement.

"Metallica is loved and admired by millions of hard rock fans across the globe," she said.

Sarmast and the music institute, meanwhile, have worked "to restore the joy and power of music to children's lives," she said.

Metallica is one of the most influential bands in heavy metal, helping bring the angry and aggressive music to the mainstream and preserving an avid fan base for decades.

Lars Ulrich, the California band's Danish-born drummer, called the Polar Music Prize "a great validation of everything that Metallica has done over the last 35 years."

"At the same time, we feel like we're in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us," Ulrich said of the band, which released its 10th album, "Hardwired... to Self-Destruct" in late 2016.

The Polar Music Prize was established in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of Swedish pop superstars ABBA, and selects two laureates each year.

The prize's stated goal is to "break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music."

Past laureates have included Sting, Bob Dylan, Bjork, Sonny Rollins and Ravi Shankar.]]>
2/14/2018 12:05:11 PM
<![CDATA[Exhibition in Cairo to offer one reality, two imaginations]]>
The exhibition will show how both artists are inspired by the Egyptian reality, which is reflected in their artwork. Their works uniquely portray everyday social life in Egypt, each taking the role of the observers.

Mohamed Abou Elwafa is an abstract artist and his works have featured in numerous exhibitions, including the Youth Salon in 2010, the third Burullous Symposium in 2016 and the Youth of Atelier in 2015. His artistic vision is based on merging between hot and cold tones through abstraction.

Mohamed El Damarawy is a rising Egyptian artist whose art is based on presenting many traditional ideas through his own colorful fusion, which has a unique character. He is passionate about delivering the magnificence of Egyptian history through art.

Both artists started their careers with Arts-Mart Gallery as “Artists of Tomorrow” and they have been favored by collectors ever since, according to the official event’s description. ]]>
2/13/2018 3:36:52 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Opera House to launch 'Valentine’s Day Festival']]>
The festival will include three consecutive mega concerts. The first will be performed by renowned Egyptian singer Medhat Saleh on Tuesday, February 13, the second will be on Wednesday, February 14, by heartthrob singer Hany Shaker and the last will be on Thursday, February 15, by veteran singer Ali el Haggar.

hany Shaker - Egypt Today
Hany Shaker - Egypt Today

Hany Shaker

Shaker was born in Cairo in 1952. He started his musical career at a very young age in Abdel Halim Hafez choral in the song “Sora” (Photo). Later, Shaker performed the role of young Sayed Darwish in the movie “Sayed Darwish”.

He studied music in the Cairo Conservatoire. In 1972, while he was a student in the second year, he released his first breakthrough hit “Heloua Ya Donia” (It’s a wonderful life). Shaker had much support from the musical legends at that time, such as Umm Kulthum, Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez, as they believed in his talent.

Shaker's musical repertoire includes more than 461 songs such as “Ghalta” (A mistake), “El Helm El Gameel” (The beautiful dream), “ Tekhsary” ( You will lose), among others. Shaker is the current head of the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate.

ali el haggar - Egypt Today
Ali el Haggar - Egypt Today

Ali el Haggar

Haggar graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1979 and was influenced by the late Egyptian music legend Baligh Hamdy, who trained Haggar along with Mohamed Mounir and Mohamed el-Helw in a band called el-Takht that was formed in the Arabic Music Institution.

Inspired by poet, cartoonist, and painter Salah Jaheen, Haggar always wanted to sing Jahin's sonnets; he grew popular after performing them in the 1980s. Around the same time, he also began blending authentic Arabic music with modern technology and sound effects.

In addition to his prolific album releases, Haggar has also performed in several theatrical plays, movies, and TV series.

Haggar is expected to perform the songs of his recent album “Ma Takhdy Balek” (Please Take Care). He will also sing some of his classic hits such as “Hona al-Qahera” (Here is Cairo), “A’m Batata” (Uncle Batata), and “Dehket al-Masagen” (Prisoners’ laughter).

Moreover, he will sing a collection of his iconic soundtracks such as “Bawabet al-Halawany” (Halawany’s Gate), “Al-Mal wal Banon” (Money and Sons), and “Masa’let Mabdaa” (A Matter of Principle).

medhat saleh - Egypt Today
Medhat Saleh - Egypt Today

Medhat Saleh

Saleh was born in Cairo in 1960 in Shobra district. He started his musical career directly after he was graduated from Cairo University. He released his first song, entitled “Akeed” (Sure) in the 1980s. He performed his song named “Ya Greed el Nakhl el Aly” (O high palm leaves) in front of ex Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak in mid 1980s, where the song achieved a booming success, placing Saleh among the top singers at that time.

Throughout his career that extended for more than 30 years, Saleh was famous for performing the songs of the most successful movies such as "Habiby Ya Ashek" in “Short w Fanla w Cap” (Shorts, a T shirt and a Hat) movie, "El Nour Makano Fel Keloob" ( Light is in the hearts) from “Amir el Zalam” ( The Prince of Darkeness) movie, “La Hatakhod Eih” ( What Will You Take?) from the movie "Mafia", among others.

2/13/2018 3:18:34 PM
<![CDATA[Yehya Khalil to perform a concert in Cairo Opera House]]>
The Jazz pioneer is known for combining Jazz tunes with oriental rhythms; attracting many music-loving youth.

He formed the Cairo Jazz Quartet, the first jazz band in Egypt, at the age of 14. Khalil shared the stage with a big number of famous rock, country and blues bands. He participated in joint performances with Rasputin’s Stash, and has performed with Jazz music icons such as Oliver Jones, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Khalil performed with Gillespie in the opening of the Cairo Opera House in 1989, according to Khalil’s official page. He cooperated with a number of Egyptian singers such as Mohamed Mounir, and currently presents Jazz in the state-owned Egyptian channel.

It is worth mentioning that the second edition of the Afro-Chinese Art and Music festival which kicked off on October 25, 2017, honored Khalil.
2/13/2018 2:14:40 PM
<![CDATA[Angham to perform in CFC on February 22]]>
Angham is a popular Egyptian singer who started her artistic career in 1987. She is expected to present in the concert a group of her famous songs such as "Etegah Wahed" (One direction), "Toul ma enta be'ed" (as long as you are far), "Akteblak Ta3ahod" (I sign to you a pledge), "Mahzoma" (Defeated), among other popular songs.

Angham was the best-selling female pop artist in 2003. She is famous for her wide vocal range and romantic style. Angham performed recently along with the veteran Saudi singer Mohamed Abdou in a concert in Bahrain on January 25.
2/13/2018 2:06:06 PM
<![CDATA[CPF; saving cultural heritage in Arab world]]>
To raise awareness on the importance of the cultural heritage in the Arab World, the CPF provides the Arab communities with various opportunities to get more education on the value of such sites and objects.

Funds will be supporting small and big projects in Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen.
There will be a project in Egypt that aims to create a database of Nubian artifacts to avoid illegal trafficking. Moreover, the CPF will create a solid archive for contemporary Coptic intangible cultural heritage in Egypt in two years.

One of the projects carried out in Syria by the CPF is one that will reserve the domed house to offer accommodation for immigrant Syrian families. While in Jerusalem, there is a project to restore the main façade of a Mamluk building.

2/13/2018 1:45:19 PM
<![CDATA[On Valentine’s Day, Netflix asks about your first love. ]]>
This Valentine’s Day, Netflix helps fans to remember their first favorite love (show) on Netflix. For Netflix, the first show you watched on just like your first love.
The first love of the majority of Netflix members worldwide was probably with Walter White, when they binge watched the whole of “Breaking Bad” over the course of three days.

While for the shows that people fall in love with first, bad boys (and girls) came out on top. In Egypt, “Narcos” is the most popular show that people spread first, then “Breaking Bad”, “13 Reasons Why”, “House of Cards” and “Stranger Things” not far behind.
Netflix also believes that its members fall for the shows that offer them tantalizing sense of suspense, as well as, stories of bravery and heroism, like “Orange Is the New Black”, “Marvel’s Daredevil” and “The 100”. While shows that have no fears concerning breaking boundaries, like “Suits”, or re-tell a loved tale, like “Spartacus”, round out the top 10 first binges in Egypt.

Over the years, the power of Netflix love has been growing stronger as viewers are positively rushing into it, and starting their first binge within only 12 days from their first day of subscription.The network has strong beliefs that Netflix love will never fade or end, it will always remain as more than 90 percent members since Oct 2012 have binged compelling television on Netflix.

2/13/2018 12:27:11 PM
<![CDATA[Three major values attract world to ‘Aida’ opera]]>
Egypt Today breaks down this attraction into three major values – human, artistic and historical –presenting to you why the international opera community sanctifies this opera specifically.

As the Khedive of Egypt was a great lover of European culture, he decided to produce an opera commemorating the inauguration of both the Suez Canal and the Cairo Opera House. He then asked French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette to write this opera’s script based on intense research of Egypt’s ancient history.

There is a popular belief that, at the beginning, Verdi refused the Khedive’s offered commission to compose “Aida”. It is also believed that he changed his mind after knowing that the Khedive had decided to offer that commission to another composer, according to San Francisco Opera Association’s official website.

Verdi is Italian composer and wrote his first opera, “Oberto”, which premiered at La Scala in Milan and was well established. During this period known as his “galley years”, Verdi created most of his remarkable works, such as “Rigoletto” (1851), “Il Trovatore” (1853) and “La Traviata” (1853), which remain remarkable pieces of opera history today.

He ended his artistic journey by composing two plays by Shakespeare – “Otello” (1887) and “Falstaff” (1893) – which successfully premiered, leaving a significant print in international opera history.

The human value

“Aida” shows how love can be forbidden when the beautiful Ethiopian princess Aida gets stuck between her love for the Egyptian leader Radames and between her love for her father and country. The Egyptian king’s daughter, who also loves Radames, imprisons Aida to be her slave. Led by Aida’a father, Egypt’s Ethiopian enemies head to invade the country, which led to the father’s imprisonment to meet his daughter in prison. According the Aida’s father’s demand, Radames leaks a military secret, which led to his burial while still alive. Finally, he gets surprised by finding Aida in the tomb to wait for their death together.

Through a portrait of brutal war between love and duty, Verdi explores the different aspects of a work in which individuals’ destinies are being shaped. It may seem that, in this opera masterpiece, Egypt’s history is the only major target to be personified. Verdi infuses the main characters with a pitiful humanity, highlighting many human factors, such as passions, forced destinies , gods, ego and bad luck.

The artistic value

By premiering first in Milan specifically and by choosing the right voices, Verdi succeeded in exploring emotions in depth through his convincing music. Studying Egypt’s history, music and geography, Verdi composed varied Egyptian melodies harmonically, which was clear in the opening of the third act with the Nile scene. The composer had developed an extraordinarily clever ear for orchestral effects and theatrical atmosphere.

Historical and political value

Although “Aida” portrays a significant stage in Egypt’s history, Verdi was very much affected by the political change in Italy, in which nationalists were fighting to unify the country. Verdi was known for reflecting the political instabilities all over the world in his operas, becoming the “Composer of the Revolution”. Also at the time of “Aida”, Napoleon III affirmed the war on the German kingdom, which led to the loss of the regions of Alsace and Lorraine.

After premiering in Egypt and Milan, “Aida” premiered in many countries starting from 1873, such as Argentina, United States, Germany, Spain, Austria and Poland, among numerous other countries.
2/13/2018 12:22:00 PM
<![CDATA[Eastern-western fusion at Cairo Opera House]]>
Following Sharouny’s modern music vision, his skillful orchestra will be playing a varied assortment of popular, remarkable Eastern and Western compositions with exclusive distribution, according to a statement by Cairo Opera House.

It is noteworthy that Sharouny is one of the prominent music composition and distribution stars during the 1990s. He collaborated with many musicians who appeared in that period and became music icons in the history of Egyptian and Arabic songs.

These musicians are Mohamed Mounir, Medhat Saleh, Mohamed El Helou, Ali El Haggar, Mohamed Fouad and Samira Said.

2/13/2018 12:16:07 PM
<![CDATA[Psychodrama in Egypt: Using love to treat trauma]]>
Dr. Jacob Levy Moreno, a Romanian psychiatrist, developed his methodology based on ideas of theater, community self-help, therapy, philosophy and social interactions. Moreno founded psychodrama, a group-action method that involves the full and active contribution of the participants. The participants, much like in group therapy circles, become healing agents for each other, using their own personal experiences and knowledge to create solutions and possibilities.

Moreno explains that psychodrama is “the science which explores the ‘truth’ by dramatic methods,” using different and spontaneous approaches to draw out feelings and responses from the participants. Moreno believed that the lack of spontaneity in the rehearsed theater productions takes away from the value of the story and stage. His method is inspired by improvisation in theater, which allows the “actor” to find different and creative ways to approach a situation.

Let us try to think of “theater” as a community in itself. A single production is comprised of actors in all aspects of the stage – even those who do not appear onstage. Moreno’s ideology stemmed from his belief in the potential contribution of all such actors to different and new possibilities, as well as solutions for group healing.

Caption: Workshop participants – Photo Courtesy of Egyptian Association for Group Therapies and Processes official Facebook Page

Typically, one psychodrama session spans about two hours. In each session, one participant is chosen as the protagonist. Throughout the session, the protagonist's inner feelings, ideas and relationships are explored with the help of the director and fellow participants. The director guides the other participants through the performance to help the protagonist by calling upon them to engage in different activities that help the progress of the performance. The aim of these activities is to create different scenarios and situations for the protagonist to “solve”.

Psychodrama calls upon the use of different acting and theater techniques, and the progress of the session is divided into various stages that employ certain techniques. The stages are “warm up”, “action” and “sharing”. Every session ends with a discussion on their experiences and feelings about the action.

Techniques used in psychodrama include “mirroring”, in which a participant reenacts the protagonist’s scene; “doubling”, in which a participant voices out the thoughts and feelings that they feel the protagonist might be withholding during the performance, acting as a link between the protagonist’s inner world and external environment; “role playing”, in which the participant acts out the role of an object or idea that is significant to them; “soliloquy”, in which the participant voices their thoughts and feelings aloud; and “role reversal”, in which two participants act as each other in a certain scene.

The presence of psychodrama in the Middle East has increased in the 21st century. Egypt is witnessing a rise in the influence of psychodrama initiatives. In Egypt, psychodrama training and programs take place in occasional workshops, or where they may be offered as an option in group therapy solutions. Cairo University and the Egyptian Association for Group Therapies and Processes have both offered programs and workshops in psychodrama, inviting experts from around the world to conduct sessions and provide professional training for workshop participants.

Capacity building programs in Egypt have started to include psychodrama as a method for community participation and development. Studio Emad el-Din and Orient Productions are both examples of Egyptian drama organizations that have incorporated community development goals into their activities, having previously used psychodrama in a three-year training program. Noon Creative Enterprises is another organization that specializes in drama workshops, and it creates plays and performances based on workshop outcomes.

Ben Rivers is a registered drama therapist and an expert in the use of psychodrama and Playback Theater for community development and mobilization and trauma response, and he holds a doctorate in Peace Studies from the University of New England in Australia. He works mainly with communities that suffer structural oppression and violence, conducting workshops and training programs in different countries around the world, including Egypt. In an academic paper titled “Mobilizing Aesthetics in Psychodramatic Group Work” published in 2015, Rivers describes a number of situations and experiences that took place during his work in different Arab countries.

One of the stories Rivers includes in the paper occurred during a workshop in Cairo. The story intends to show the effect of spontaneously “creating” an environment during psychodrama group therapy, and the theory and concepts behind the practice, as well as its potential to address social concerns and issues in a cultural context.

During that workshop, a drama was initiated by a 27-year-old architect named Reem, who wanted to resolve and understand her tendency toward self-sacrifice and perfectionism, which are values imposed on women through socio-cultural ideas and familial norms. When asked to describe her “inner world”, Reem fashioned herself a river and used cloth and material to illustrate her image of self, explaining that she saw her inner, real self as nurturing and peaceful. After she “became” the river, she began to sing and was joined by the other workshop participants.

Later, Reem said that the activity “helped to create an atmosphere arising from [her] own self,” and that “creating the river will have a lasting impact on [her].” She explained that “whenever [she] finds [herself] immersed in a certain negative feeling, [she] will be able to invite again the image, the sounds and the feeling of strength that [she] experienced in that scene.”

Rivers discusses Reem’s account of creating her own environment by explaining that the very idea of an environment is attached to the facets of any given social role, and thus incorporating images of a specific environment allows the qualities of that role to be amplified and emphasized. Using atmosphere to generate an idea or emotion helps the participating group members to all find themselves in a common “place” with which they all have different associations, memories and ideas. At the same time, using a specific environment in the performance helps create an image in the mind of the protagonist of the play that can later be used. In Reem’s case, when she felt overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and unfulfillment, she would refer to her inner world and gain a sense of peace and reassurance by imagining the river of nurturance that she created.

salma main

Another example of a successful psychodrama program in the Middle East is the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, which created “Psychodrama Without Borders: Gaza”. The program began in 2000, working with fifteen participants originally. In 2006, the participants graduated as psychodrama specialists, equipped with the skills and experience to direct psychodrama programs in different areas. The name of the program, “Psychodrama Without Borders”, was developed by the participants themselves, who wanted to emphasize the potential for psychodrama to “transport” them beyond the artificial borders of Israel’s occupation.

“Psychodrama Without Borders” was created specifically to deal with trauma. When the program branched out with the leadership of the trained psychodramatists, the sessions worked with different traumatized groups in Palestine. Symptoms of PTSD were prevalent among many communities in Gaza, and the program directed its focus to women who suffered severe losses throughout the siege, as well as traumatized children.

The program director, Ursula Hauser, explains that the difficulty and value of psychodrama training lies in the experience of “working [one’s] own subjectivity”. Psychodramatic techniques invite the “protagonist” and participants to use their own experiences in the activities and share their vulnerabilities and feelings in the “co-therapeutic” process. Hauser emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the group-based principle of psychodramatic therapy and the community development aspect of group therapy processes. Palestinian workers in the program underline the community development process as a way of creating psychosocial support in a short documentary of the program.

Psychosocial support refers to the development and creation of solutions for psychological wounds and traumas, in addition to processes that help the community rebuild necessary social structures for group support and active participation.

Another Palestinian initiative based in Ramallah came from the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims in partnership with the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes, developing a three-year training program for psychodrama and group therapy. These Palestinian initiatives and the increased participation in psychodrama programs reflect the underlying need for creative outlet and freedom in third world countries, and especially among marginalized people who are denied options for expressive solutions and are excluded from most discussions on art and drama. Using psychodrama as a tool to help Palestinian torture victims invites consideration of the potential for spontaneous and improvisational drama to allow us to tell our stories and effectively write our true personal and collective histories.

In a different academic article on the effect of group psychotherapy in Egypt, a number of Egyptian lecturers and professors at Minya University emphasized the significance of Egypt’s socio-cultural values and behavior in encouraging healthy bonding and trust among the therapy group. The authors who contributed to the article include psychiatry lecturers at the Faculty of Medicine Mohamed: Taha, Mohamed Abd-El-Hameed, Maha Hassan, Ahmed Kamal and senior professor of psychiatry Refaat Mahfouz.

The article follows a number of arguments on group psychotherapy approaches to make the claim for the Egyptian model’s use of the transformative “power of love” in group therapy. The 2010 article, titled “Power of Love and Love of Power in Group Psychotherapy”, highlights moments in specific cases of Egyptian models of group psychotherapy that show the effect of true involvement and openness of psychotherapy patients. These cases are used to discuss the special dynamics exhibited in specifically Egyptian psychotherapy groups, where the therapist – or, in the case of psychodrama therapy, the director – attempts to draw out or “unblock” patients’ hidden healthy components of their inborn psychological structure, which the article refers to as their “fetra” (nature/instinct). The way this must be done is through means that the patient is unused to, and that correspond with the patients’ need for love, openness and trust. Psychodrama takes on the same approach, requiring a director who is similarly “present, active, encouraging, intimate, compassionate, expressive and transparent.”

Included in the article is a patient’s account of her experience with her psychotherapy group after five years. She says, “The love I feel here is a real emotion, mercy, connectedness and cohesion between people who are not my family or even my relatives. They do not ask for anything, any deal or any money to give me such love...This happens in the same time where some people who live in the same house as family do not listen to each other, do not love each other; on the contrary, they hate each other and need to get rid of each other. This is weird, isn’t it?...I have realized that love is the strongest healing power, much stronger than medicine. I found that being concerned about people, having them in my mind, accepting them and respecting them unconditionally is the best cure for all psychiatric illnesses.”

The Egyptian Association for Group Therapies and Processes held its third international conference and fourth regional African conference in January, inviting psychotherapy expert speakers from around the globe to present the latest discussions and discoveries in the field of psychiatry. The conference also held a pre-conference workshop program that included a number of sessions on group psychotherapy and different approaches to psychodrama.

The variety of topics on psychodrama and group psychotherapy that were discussed throughout the three-day conference emphasize the vastness of the field and its potential to be successfully explored and implemented further in the Egyptian context. Some exciting titles of sessions presented at the conference include “Group Psychotherapy and Dreams: Different Perspectives of Using Dreams in Groups” and “The Way of the Heart – How to Open, Listen, Protect and Heal Our Heart” by German-Spanish psychiatrist Jorge Burmeister, “Religion, Spirituality and the Arabic Culture: Historical and Group Psychotherapy Perspectives” by Saudi Arabian psychiatrist Tariq al-Habib, and “Group Therapy with Children: Play Therapy and Psychodrama” by Egyptian psychiatrists Hanan El-Mazahy and Al-Shefaa Tarek, among many other sessions and workshops offered at the intensive conference.

Although the literature on Egyptian and Middle Eastern psychodrama and group psychotherapy approaches is still somewhat limited, there is a definite increase in public recognition of the need for psychosocial support in traumatized and marginalized communities. Psychodrama works in Egypt mainly through the independent centers and organizations that foresee a future for the practice, and that take on different approaches and venues to encourage openness and invite patient involvement. What is always emphasized, however, is the undeniable need for group cohesion and therapy methods that ultimately form the basis of community healing.

2/13/2018 12:09:13 PM
<![CDATA[Sirleaf wins prestigious Ibrahim Prize for African leadership]]>
The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years.

The award comes with $5 million (4.1 million euros), which is paid over 10 years, and $200,000 annually for life from then on.

Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state, left office on January 22 after a maximum 12 years as president, served in two terms.

The 79-year-old won the 2017 Ibrahim Prize, only the second time it has been awarded in six years. In 2011, she shared the Nobel Peace Prize as a champion for women's rights.

Former African Union secretary general Salim Ahmed Salim, chairman of the prize committee, said Sirleaf had changed Liberia's fortunes.

"Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focused on building a nation and its democratic institutions," he said.

"Throughout her two terms in office, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia. Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges.

"Nevertheless, during her 12 years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build."

- First female laureate -

The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given five times in its 11-year existence.

The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership.

Ibrahim said he was delighted by Monday's decision.

"In very difficult circumstances, she helped guide her nation towards a peaceful and democratic future, paving the way for her successor to follow," he said.

"I am proud to see the first woman Ibrahim laureate, and I hope Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will continue to inspire women in Africa and beyond."

The prize's four previous laureates are: Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007); Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008); Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014).

Former South African president Nelson Mandela was made an honorary laureate in 2007.

The London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation produces an annual index of African governance, allowing citizens to measure how well their countries are being run.

Since 2006, Liberia was the only country out of 54 to improve in every category on the index. Liberia moved up 10 places in the overall African ranking to 28th since then.

Former football star George Weah, the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year, won last year's Liberian presidential elections and took over from Johnson.

The handover has been seen as a milestone in Liberia's transition from a civil war that killed around a quarter of a million people between 1989 and 2003.

Other major awards are the Fundamental Physics Prize, worth $3 million; the Templeton Foundation for spiritual contributions, worth £1.1 million ($1.53 million); and the Nobel Prize, which in 2017 was set at nine million Swedish kronor ($1.11 million) for each award.]]>
2/13/2018 6:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[IProduction Company reveals exclusive pictures for Eyar Nary ]]>
Ahmed Fahmy the managing director of the production company announced in a press release that the director Karim el-Shenawy is now working on the final cut of the movie.

“Eyar Nary” is Shenawy’s first feature film after two short films “Fardy” (Odd) and “Youm Aady” (Normal Day) for which he has claimed many awards. He also worked as a first assistant director on many feature films such as “Eshtebak” (Clash) and “Nawara”.

Shenawy’s upcoming film revolves around a murder case that connects the key characters and makes them question what they thought and believed about the concept of truth.

“Eyar Nary” is stars Ahmed el-Fishawy, Ruby, Mohamed Mamdouh, Arfa Abdel Rassoul and Asmaa Abou el-Yazeed. It has guest performances from Ahmed Malek, Hana Shiha, Bayoumi Foad, Ahmed Kamel and Safaa el-Toukhy. The crew consists of Haytham Dabour as the writer, Abdelsalam Mousa as director of photography (DOP), Nahed Nasrallah for custom designs, Ali Hussam Ali as the art director and Ahmed Youssef as the creative producer.

The iProduction company aims always to develop, produce and distribute high quality content to the Egyptian and Arab markets, it has previously produced “Hebta: the Last Lecture”, “Mawlana” and “Shiekh Jackson” along with many TV series and shows.]]>
2/13/2018 4:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[The Netflix singles Valentine’s Day survival binge]]>
This Valentine’s Day, Netflix wants to help you take your mind of the season love by releasing a complete list of the top 10 shows people have binge-watched in Egypt.

My First Binge-Egypt
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Back in 2012, it took people 20 days to complete a TV show, but now it would take around three days to complete the equivalent of five years worth of TV. Netflix has been watching their users’ behaviors and has found that it only takes 12 days after one’s subscription to start bingeing.

In Egypt, Narcos came out on top as the most popular show that people have binged first, with Breaking Bad, 13 Reasons Why, House of Cards and Stranger Things were in the runner-up positions. Shows that are filled with action and suspense, like Orange Is the New Black, Marvel’s Daredevil and The 10 have been named the Top 10 first binges in Egypt, along with Suits and Spartacus, that start a conversation and push boundaries.

So, do you remember your first binge? And what was it?
2/12/2018 4:52:07 PM
<![CDATA[Zawya to screen 'Little Eagles' documentary on February 14]]>"Little Eagles" is an Arabic documentary translated into English. The documentary is about the life of Mohamed, the son of a humble worker.
Mohamed compares the life of his father, who spent his life working hard to earn needed money to raise his children, to that of his friends' leftist parents who opposed unjust regimes and devoted their lives to public service. Such a comparison drove Mohamed to new questions linking the past and the present, under which he and his generation are now living.
"Little Eagles" is directed by Mohamed Rashad.
Misr International Films (MIF) established Zawya in March 2014 as the first art-house cinema in Egypt, located in Downtown's Cinema Odeon.

Zawya continuously displays a wide selection of films from different parts of the world, including short films, documentaries, feature films and experimental work. The cinema’s program is divided between theatrical releases and special events.

Zawya’s program relies mainly on local independent films, supporting and promoting young Egyptian and Arab filmmakers' work. Zaywa aims to eventually grow into a series of cinema screens across the country through organized screenings in multiple venues outside of Cairo. Zawya also gives special attention to the concept of Education and Cinema, developing a strong educational program in collaboration with schools and universities in Egypt.
2/12/2018 1:40:56 PM
<![CDATA[Artefacts from Saqqara storehouses to be shown in EM, GEM]]>
Waziri explained that a number of false doors, offering tables, and wooden painted coffins, as well as other distinguished artefacts were chosen from the Saqqara archaeological storehouses to be exhibited within the museum display.

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is currently working on the maintenance and restoration of Djoser Pyramid located in Saqqara.

The projects sector of the Ministry of Antiquities previously announced that it has almost completed the restoration work of the Djoser Pyramid; the pyramid will inaugurate very soon.

Renowned Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawas followed up on the restoration works carried out at the Djoser pyramid in an effort to consolidate the 4,600-year-old monument against time. The Djoser pyramid is the first stone structure in history built by King Djoser, a king from Egypt’s Third Dynasty.

The cabinet decided to allocate LE 15.3 million ($845,309) to support the restoration and maintenance of the pyramid. The process had stopped in 2011, after the UNESCO report issued in September of the same year stated that the pyramid’s exterior facades suffered from lack of maintenance over the centuries.

Additionally, the removal of the dirt blocks from the pyramid's body led to the creation of many large cavities in several areas, as well as the appearance of many blocks hanging without pillars to support them.

The report also confirmed the existence of some problems in the restoration work. Later, rumours spread that the pyramid was removed from the World Heritage List.

The restoration work on the pyramid began in 2006 and was scheduled for completion in 2009. But fears for the safety of the pyramid increased after the UNESCO’s report, which acknowledged that many irregularities occurred due to the work of the maintenance company; hence, all restoration work has stopped since then.

These irregularities were technical, particularly in the use of limestone to plug the openings that emerged in the pyramid's body, leading to the distortion of the pyramid's external shape. Also, the excessive load on the pyramid became a threat.

It is worth mentioning that an Old Kingdom tomb was discovered in the Western Cemetery located in the Pyramids area in Giza belonging to an ancient Egyptian woman named Hetpet, as announced on Saturday, February 3 by the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany.

Anany explained that the tomb dates back to the Fifth Dynasty, about 4,400 years ago. ‘’This is the first archaeological discovery in 2018 but it will not be the last, it is expected that we will announce a new archaeological discovery in the upcoming few weeks,” recounted Anany.

Hetpet was a woman with a high social position in ancient times: a top official in the royal palace during the end of the Fifth Dynasty. Hetpet has a number of cognomens, among which is the priest of the goddess Hathour.

Hathour is a Pharaonic goddess who symbolizes the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. Waziry announced that Hetpet played important roles at that time, especially in the agricultural field.
The newly discovered tomb of Hetpet has the architectural style and decorative elements of the Fifth Dynasty, with an entrance leading to an L-shaped shrine with a purification basin.

On its western rear end, there is a rectangular arcade lined with incense and offering holders. There is also a naos with a missing statue of the tomb’s owner. The tomb has very distinguished wall paintings in a well-conserved condition, depicting Hetpet standing in different hunting and fishing scenes or sitting before a large offering table receiving offerings from her children.

The tomb contains a group of dazzling inscriptions portraying rare, gripping scenes like a monkey dancing in front of a complete musical troupe, a sailors’ fight, hunting birds, and fishing, among others. All the inscriptions’ colours are very clear and bright.

Scenes of reaping fruits, melting metals and the fabrication of leather and papyri boats as well as musical and dancing performances are also shown on walls. Among the most distinguished paintings in the tomb are those depicting two monkeys in two different positions.

Monkeys were domestic animals at the time, so similar scenes are found in other tombs. The first one is painted on the wall of a 12th Dynasty tomb of Khnoum Hetep II in Beni Hassan, Minya Governorate and the second is found in an Old Kingdom tomb of Ka-Iber in Saqqara displaying a dancing monkey before an instrument as opposed to an orchestra.

2/12/2018 12:44:10 PM
<![CDATA[Dhafer L'Abidine to play the leading role in OSN campaign]]>
MAD Solution, L'Abidine’s exclusive agent, announced that he was chosen for his dazzling storytelling talent and ability to reach to people of different ages.

L’abdine is the gentle handsome Tunisian star who quickly captured the hearts of fans. For an actor, handsomeness may help to get into others hearts but to stay in it, he has to own another kind of beauty; that of talent, perseverance and hard work.

L’abdine has all these qualities, which made him a megastar within a short time period. Born in Tunis in 1972, L’abdine was a professional football player until the age of 23 before he was severely injured and could not play for two years. In those two years, he worked in the modeling field. After his recovery, he was 25 years old and could no longer play football professionally.

L’abdine loved watching movies, art and acting, and decided to take acting classes. In 2000, he traveled to the United Kingdom and settled there. He joined the Birmingham School of Acting and graduated in 2002.

At that time, he was given the opportunity to participate in a British series called "Dream Team," where he played the role of a French football player over two seasons (2002-2004). L’abdine is fluent in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Italian, which has allowed him to work in a number of international series like ‘’Wire in the blood’’ in 2004, ‘’the Bill’’ and ‘’the Doctors’’ in 2005.

In 2006, he participated in three international movies: “A Different Dish,’’ ‘’Children of Men’’ and ‘’Mercante di Pietre.’’ In the same year, he was involved in two series: ‘’Bombshell’’ and ‘’the Spooks.’’

In 2008, he had a role in the Tunisian series "Maktoob," where he played the character of Mohamed Ali and won widespread fame in Tunisia. In the same year, he hosted the Carthage International Film Festival. He started his acting career in Egypt in 2012 with the Egyptian series ‘’Vertigo’’ alongside fellow Tunisian star Hend Sabry.

2/12/2018 9:13:44 AM
<![CDATA[Hope Is a Traveller art exhibition at Art Talks Egypt]]>
Born in Beheira, 1984, Boraey currently lives and works in Alexandria. There he studied at the University of Alexandria and received a BFA in 2005, a MFA in 2011 and a PHD in Fine arts in 2015. He has also been awarded the Medal of Appreciation from the Bibliotheca Alexandria, among various other awards from Alexandria's Faculty of Fine Arts and the Ministry of Culture.

Boraey's surreal, abstract art is heavily inspired from Coptic and ancient Egyptian art, which he uses to good effect to create a rich, symbolic universe. Recurring themes include sharp figures, birds and people carrying objects. His artwork explores the borders of reality and imagination, aiming to take the mind far beyond worldly limits across a fantastical journey, and reflect the idea of crossing borders to where the 'grass is greener.'

“'Hope is A Traveller”' marks his fourth exhibition (his third solo exhibit at Art Talks) and sees him shift towards a more pleasing, cooler palette of diluted blue, greys, and black and white.

In total, the exhibition features 30 oil paintings of various sizes, which are accompanied by paper-Mache sculptures which represent and compliment the figures in the paintings, according to Ahram Online. The titles of the paintings themselves serve to add another layer of depth and meaning to the works, allowing for various interpretations to arise from the viewers.

The exhibition's statement at Art Talks Egypt's website reads:
"Through life, Adam gets estranged from Eve through distress but nevertheless holding into the “hope – life buoy” to meet someday somewhere at the unforeseen edge of time and space to embrace the long awaited union."

"Years and places do not dim the eagerness of those who want to unite when unconsumed passions fuel our train of feelings; we might repress them for the sake of peace but the inner fire never dies in dreamers. The landscape of human emotion changes but the hope for longing is a constant in the journey."

Boraey has previously contributed to over forty group exhibitions in Egypt, the UAE, Italy, Switzerland and the UK.

Art Talks Egypt, founded in 2010, is a contemporary art gallery located in Zamalek, 8 El Kamel Mohamed Street. It is as self-proclaimed "selective search engine" seeking out the best of Egypt's newest artists. The gallery also serves an educational purpose by hosting seminars and research on Egypt's art history.
2/12/2018 9:08:48 AM
<![CDATA[Cured French nun named as 70th miracle in Lourdes]]>
Sister Bernadette Moriau from northern France visited the holy spring in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in July 2008, aged 69, seeking a cure to her ailment like millions of other pilgrims each year.

Shortly after returning home, her chronic sciatica or pinched spinal nerve disappeared for the first time since she was first diagnosed at the age of 27.

Sister Bernadette had undergone four unsuccessful operations.

"She experienced an unusual feeling of relaxation and heat in the whole of her body (and) heard a voice telling her to take off her equipment, the corset and the leg brace," said a statement from her parish in Beauvais in the north of France.

After further examinations by doctors and three meetings of church figures in Lourdes, the medical committee in the town confirmed that Moriau's recovery could not be explained scientifically, the statement said.

Lourdes is one of the most revered sites for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics because the town is said to be where the Virgin Mary appeared to a peasant girl in a grotto.

A press conference has been scheduled for Tuesday in Beauvais featuring Moriau, the bishop of the local diocese Jacques Benoit-Gonnin, and the head of the Lourdes Medical Bureau, Alessandro de Franciscis.]]>
2/12/2018 4:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Troubled Rio de Janeiro stages 'greatest show' of samba parades]]>
The countdown was on to the two-night extravaganza, due to begin in the Sambodromo stadium at 9:15 pm (2315 GMT).

Under a sweltering sun, hundreds of thousands of Rio residents and tourists filled the beaches or attended dozens of dancing and costume parties, which are held in the streets every day during the weeks of carnival season.

For a city with samba in its blood the big event, though, was the parade contest to run during the cooler night and then again during the night of Monday-Tuesday.

Thirteen samba schools from the top division were facing off.

Each gets about an hour to parade through the purpose-built stadium with about 3,000 dancers, singers and drummers dressed in over-the-top costumes.

Last year, the contest ended in a draw between Mocidade and Portela.

Organizers may not be exaggerating when they claim the parades to be the world's greatest show.

With breathtakingly complex and dramatic floats, the thunder of drumming, and the heated performances of nearly naked female and male main dancers, there's something for everyone.

However, this year an undercurrent of anger will run through the fun.

Rio de Janeiro is in deep financial trouble and crime in many areas is out of control. Two children were among the dead in shootings last week and a policeman was reported shot dead Saturday in a suburb -- the 16th officer killed already this year.

So although 17,000 police have been deployed for the carnival, large parts of Rio, like Rocinha or City of God, are virtual no-go zones for both police and tourists. Locals in those areas have to survive in the crossfire of drug gangs and the security forces.

To make matters worse for the passionate carnival-going public, Mayor Marcelo Crivella, a devout evangelical Christian, has cut subsidies to the event in half.

Unusually for a mayor, he is not expected to come anywhere near the parades -- a clear sign of his distaste for the bared flesh and boozing.

If he did show up, Crivella would be confronted with a ribbing from the Mangueira school, which has promised to emblazon his name across a float in the form of a huge human backside.

Brazilian President Michel Temer -- said by polls to be the most unpopular president on record -- will not get away lightly either: the Paraiso de Tuiuti school is planning to depict him on a float as Dracula.]]>
2/12/2018 1:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Tharwat Okasha and Suheir al-Qalmawi, figures of the 50th Cairo Book Fair]]>
This took place in the presence of officials in the Ministry of Culture, ambassadors of the countries that have participated in the book fair, as well as several media experts and novelists.

During the ceremony, the Ministry of Culture saluted the brave, Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai who face terrorism for the preservation of the country. The audience reacted enthusiastically, shouting “Life for Egypt”.

With regard to next year’s 50th edition, the Arab League have been chosen as the guest of honor for the golden jubilee session, while Tharwat Okasha and Suheir al-Qalmawi have been chosen as the prominent figures.

Abdel Rahman el-Sharkawy was the figure of the book fair for this year, which was held over 15 days from January 27 to February 10.

A documentary film about writer Abdul Rahman al-Sharqawi was screened at the ceremony. Conducted by the cultural production affairs sector, the film presents his life's journey and features his most important works, which participated in creating the literary history of Egypt and the Arab world. The documentary also shows an artistic presentation, combines a selection of his most poetic creations with a collection by Ibrahim Rifai Khaled Abdel-Aziz, Khaled Abd el-Salam, Ahmed Abo Omaira and Lubna Abdel Aziz among others.

Chairman of the Egyptian General Book Organization Haitham el-Hag delivered a speech in which he stressed that the number of visitors to this year's exhibition exceeded four and a half million, while the number of publishers increased by 25 percent in comparison to last year. Books by the late, prominent Egyptian writer Taha Hussein were bestsellers in the book fair, according to an official statement by the Ministry of Culture.

President of the Arab Publishers Union Mohamed Rashad handed over the shield of the Memorial Union to the Minister of Culture. Several prizes were received by writers such as Egyptian author Hala el-Badry, Wagdy el-Komy for his short stories series “Streets of The Sky”, the poet Massoud Shouman for his book “God, I know”, amongst other winners. ]]>
2/12/2018 12:27:44 AM
<![CDATA[ECFAF honors rising artists in Closing ceremony ]]>CAIRO – 11 February 2018: Invited by The Egyptian Cinema Film Association, minister of culture Enas Abdel Dayem, actor Ezzat el-Alaili and president of the association Mahmoud Abdel Samie, honored a group of film stars and presented the awards of the 44th edition of the Film Festival under the title “Towards Egyptian cinema”, on Saturday, February 10, according to a press release.

Abdel Samie expressed his gratitude to Abdel Dayem for her role in supporting the association, which was founded in 1960. He also paid tribute to all the institutions involved that supported the Association throughout its history.

He then invited Abdel Dayem and the guest of honor, prominent actor Ezzat el-Alaili, to honor nine iconic figures from cinema. The honored figures included: legendary musician Omar Khairat, Egyptian critic and researcher Mahmoud Aly, Egyptian author, journalist and film critic Iris Nazmy, Egyptian filmmaker Mohammed Nabil and others.
2/11/2018 5:13:00 PM
<![CDATA[“Awalem Khafia” and “Tayea” soap operas will screen exculsively on CBC]]>

The Chairman of Magnoum Production Company and the producer of the two series Hesham Tahseen signed a contract with CBC channel chairman Mohamed el-Amin for the screening rights of the two shows.

Saudi TV previously signed a contract with Magnoum Production Company to screen “Awalem Khafia” and “Tayea” exclusively on its channel in other Arab countries.

“Awalem Khafia” stars mega star Adel Emam and “Tayea” stars Amr Youssef. The famous Egyptian actor Amr Youssef started shooting "Tayea" on January 20. The series takes place in Upper Egypt. "Tayea" also stars Amr Abdel Gelil, Salwa Mohamed Aly and the famous Jordanian actress Saba Moubarak, amongst others. The series is written by Mohamed Diab and directed by Amr Salama.

Amr Youssef - Egypt Today

"Tayea" is the first soap opera for Salama who directed a group of successful movies, such as "Sheikh Jackson", "Asmaa" and "La Mo’akhza" (Excuse Me), amongst others. "Tayea" is expected to be a high quality soap opera and is highluy anticipated by Arab audiences, who are eager to watch the collaboration between Salama, Diab and Youssef as the three are famous for their creative work.

Regarding “Awalem Khafia”, “Adel Emam’s series has been the focus of attention of a large number of satellite channels, because of the huge fan base Emam has across the Arab world,’’ recounted producer Hisham Tahseen, during a press conference held on December 8 that witnessed the contract signing with Saudi TV.

Khaled Ahmed Madkhaly, the head of Saudi TV, expressed his happiness during the press conference that Saudi TV will air these two important soap operas during Ramadan 2018.

The 77 year-old actor Adel Emam who is considered the most popular actor, not only in Egypt but the entire Arab World received on September 22, the Creative Achievement Award during the opening ceremony of the first El-Gouna Film Festival (GFF) entitled, “Cinema for Humanity” for his esteemed reputation as the most outstanding star in Arab films and for his distinguished humanitarian efforts.

Emam has won many awards from many film festivals such as the Best Actor Award in 1995 at the Cairo International Film Festival for his film “The Terrorist”, the Artistic Achievement Award in 2005 at the Dubai International Film Festival, the Golden Star in 2014 at the Marrakech International Film Festival and the Golden Tanit in 2016 at the Carthage Film Festival.

2/11/2018 4:46:10 PM
<![CDATA[Cult Sci-fi 80's series 'V' to become big-budget movie trilogy]]>

Released in 1983, the original "V" was a two-part miniseries that aired on NBC, and told a story of supposedly peaceful reptilian aliens who come to earth asking for help. At first, humanity welcomed these visitors from the stars, but after the aliens take over the planet by force, it becomes apparent that their intentions are far from benevolent.

An underground resistance movement forms to fight back and restore Earth to humanity; however, things are complicated by the fact that these aliens are masters of disguise, capable of blending in with humanity. It is a war both against an external and internal threat. The miniseries starred Jane Badler, Michael Durrell, Faye Grant and Marc Singer, and was nominated for two primetime Emmy Awards; 'Outstanding Achievement in Makeup' and 'Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Limited Series or a Special (Dramatic Underscore)'.

The next installment would be "V: The Final Battle", a three-part miniseries released on NBC in 1984, which was also well-received. The miniseries would mark the departure of creator Johnson following creative differences with NBC.

This would not bode well for the full-fledged "V" TV series sequel that aired from 1984-1985. Starring much of the original cast, it directly continued from the events of "The Final Battle", but without the involvement of the original writer/creator. It received poorer reviews compared to the first two miniseries. "V" would be remade by ABC into a TV series which aired from 2009 until 2011 across 23 episodes. Johnson was once again not involved.

The first installment of the new film series is simply called "V The Movie", with an undetermined release date and casting. According to Deadline in a released statement, Johnson said that he was "delighted to team up with Desilu to bring the timeless — and timely — story of resistance against tyranny into the 21st century.'V' will be the first of a cinematic trilogy which will tell the full epic tale in the manner I always envisioned."

2/11/2018 4:23:57 PM
<![CDATA[The 3rd Zawya Short Film Festival awards]]>
The Best Film Award worth LE 15,000 went to “Major Tom”, a short film directed by Khaled Medhat Moeit and sponsored by Red Star Films. The film was also screened at the Copper Coast Short Film Festival.

The festival granted the Misr International Films Best Director Award worth LE 15,000 to the Egyptian director Muhammed Taymour for his short film “From the Remains of the Dead”.

“Marchedaire” (Into Reverse) directed by Noha Adel won the Film Clinic Jury Prize, worth LE 10,000. The film has been previously screened at the 15th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

The Birthmark Films Best Script award went to” Something Cold” by Amrosh Badr. The award grants Badr a scriptwriting mentorship. The film was screened at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival last year.

The jury Special Mention was given to the animated film “The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller” by Roshdy Ahmed. The film is set in the days of the revolution telling the story of an Egyptian artist who seeks justice, and a sweet young potato seller who was shot dead in the street.

“The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller” stars Khaled Abo el-Naga and Tara Emad. It also won an award for Best Animated Film at the Miami International Short Film Festival.
On February 2 Zawya posted an apology statement to its audience on its Facebook page because it was not able to screen “The Unknown Sweet Potato Seller” stating that the film was not given the censors’ permit, affirming that it is still part of the selection and is eligible for the awards.

A similar situation happened at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival, where the film was first premiered. DIFF issued a statement 24 hours prior to the screening time, cancelling the film’s screening due to special circumstances.The Zawya festival jury was formed of three prominent Egyptian filmmakers: Ayten Amin, Marouan Omara, and Sherif el-Bendary.

2/11/2018 2:41:08 PM
<![CDATA[Tensions between 'Sex and the City' stars burst into the open]]>
The star of the popular HBO series, Sarah Jessica Parker, had long been known to have a difficult relationship with one of her three co-stars, Kim Cattrall.

There were reports, regularly denied by Cattrall, that she was the one holding up plans for a possible second sequel to the original movie version of "Sex and the City."

When the TV series began in 1998, Parker was already friends with Cynthia Nixon, who played one of her three "best friends" as they bounced through their Manhattan adventures. She later drew close to the fourth star, Kristin Davis.

Relations with Cattrall were another matter.

Early Saturday, Cattrall posted on Instagram: "I don't need your love or support at this tragic time @sarahjeessicaparker."

"My Mom asked me today, 'When will that @sarahjessicaparker, that hypocrite, leave you alone?' Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now," Cattrall added.

She included a link to a New York Post article titled "Inside the mean-girls culture that destroyed 'Sex and the City.'"

In the reference to tragedy, Cattrall appeared to be reacting to a social media post from Parker in which she expressed her "love and condolences" to Cattrall over the death of her brother Chris Cattrall, who was found dead at his property in Canada last week.

Cattrall's Instagram post continued: "You are not my friend. So I'm writing to tell you one last time to stop exploiting our tragedy in order to restore your 'nice girl' persona."

2/11/2018 1:49:10 PM
<![CDATA[Abused S. Korea actress slams 'hypocritical' Berlin filmfest]]>
The actress, who has refused to be publicly identified, last year accused renowned Seoul director Kim Ki-duk of physical and sexual abuse, saying he beat her and forced her into unscripted, unwanted sex and nude scenes while shooting his 2013 film "Moebius".

Kim, 57, is one of South Korea's top directors whose awards include Berlin's Silver Bear for "Samaritan Girl" in 2004 and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for "Pieta" in 2012.

His latest work "Human, Space, Time and Human" will have its world premiere in the Panorama Special section of this year's Berlinale, which begins Thursday.

"I find the decision to invite Kim deeply sad and extremely hypocritical," the actress told AFP, adding she had been left "devastated" by the experience.

"Kim admitted and was found guilty of physically assaulting me on the film set. Yet the Berlinale rolled out a red carpet to him while boasting about their support for the #Metoo movement," she said.

Berlinale chief Dieter Kosslick said last week that this year's festival would shine a light on sexual misconduct and serve as a "forum" to bring "concrete changes" to the treatment of women in the film industry.

Some of the most high-profile cases revealed by the global #MeToo phenomenon have involved top entertainment figures, such as movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor-director Kevin Spacey.

Kosslick said Tuesday he had disqualified some productions from the festival because a director, screenwriter or star was facing credible sexual misconduct allegations.

- 'Acting lesson' -

The actress spoke out in December about the abuse she suffered at Kim's hands on the set of the 2013 film, where she was eventually replaced by another actress.

Her allegation is a rarity in the South's lucrative, male-dominated film industry.

But she still spoke behind a white screen during her press conference for fear of online bullying and shaming in a nation that remains patriarchal despite its economic and technological advances.

"One day, Kim said 'I'll set your emotion' and suddenly slapped my face really hard three times in a row in front of everybody, before turning the camera towards me and filming," she said then.

"I was so shocked... but had to start acting right away," she went on, adding that none of the crew said "a single word to stop him".

Seoul prosecutors dropped sexual abuse charges citing a lack of evidence but fined Kim 5 million won ($4,600) under a procedure where minor cases can be handled without going to court.

Kim admitted slapping the actress for the purposes of an "acting lesson" but denied the other allegations of wrongdoing.

Women in the South's tight-knit movie business, both on screen and behind the camera, fear making public accusations against prominent figures, said Hong Tae-Hwa, secretariat director of the Federation of Korea Movie Workers' Union.

"They are so afraid of having their career practically terminated in this industry, from which you can be banned for life for speaking out about the slightest abuse by directors or producers," he said.

- 'Obscure, powerless' -

Kosslick told AFP that the Berlinale was aware of the accusations against Kim, and that he had been convicted and fined, but that the sexual harassment allegations had been dismissed for lack of evidence.

It was seeking more information about an appeal in the case, he added.

"Obviously the Berlinale condemns and opposes any form of violence or sexual misconduct," he said.

Kim has kept a low profile and refused to talk to the media in South Korea since the scandal sparked nationwide fury last year.

But his return to the Berlinale -- one of Europe's top three film festivals -- has been widely reported in the country as something of a status restoration, with headlines such as the Ilgan Sports tabloid's reading: "Troubled at home, loved overseas".

It took four years for the actress to come forward after being told by industry figures that she had "no chance" of winning a legal case against Kim, whose career would "hardly suffer a dent" even if she spoke out.

"And the Berlin film festival proved that those people were right," she told AFP, urging the festival organisers to pay more attention to "obscure, powerless" members of the industry.

"Unlike the famous Hollywood actresses who spoke out for #Metoo campaign, I'm just an obscure actress in a small Asian country," she said.

"But that does not mean that my suffering is something that can be ignored and forgotten."]]>
2/11/2018 12:24:39 PM
<![CDATA[Johann Johannsson, composer of haunting film scores, dead at 48]]>
Johannsson was found dead Friday at his apartment in Berlin, where authorities were investigating the cause of death, said Tim Husom, his Los Angeles-based manager.

"I'm so very sad. Today, I lost my friend who was one of the most talented musicians and intelligent people I knew," Husom said in a statement.

Johannsson, who blended classical form and electronic instrumentation, had become an increasingly in-demand musician for directors whose films probed more theoretical ideas.

He won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score for "The Theory of Everything," about physicist Stephen Hawking.

Johannsson was nominated again for "Arrival," for which he altered human voices to create amorphous, otherworldly sounds to dramatize the story of a linguist seeking to communicate with an extraterrestrial visitor.

He scored several films out in 2018, including "Mary Magdalene," a biblical drama about the much-debated female follower of Jesus.

While Johannsson won acclaim outside of the film world as an avant-garde composer, he was careful never to make his music needlessly convoluted or overbearing.

He kept strong, repeated melodies and said that many movies had far too much music, not allowing silences that were also crucial.

"I think my music is a way of communicating very directly with people and with people's emotions. I try to make music that doesn't need layers of complexity or obfuscation to speak to people," he told the online interview magazine The Talks in 2015.

- 'Always pushing boundaries' -

Daniel Pemberton, the composer for films including Danny Boyle's biopic "Steve Jobs," said he sat transfixed when he heard Johannsson's music for "Sicario," which showed "you could still do something radically new in mainstream film music."

"He was always pushing the boundaries, creating works of art so unique and exciting it becomes hard to imagine they didn't exist before," Pemberton wrote on Twitter.

The experimental DJ Flying Lotus tweeted that he was in "disbelief" over his death, calling Johannsson a major influence and hailing his score for the new thriller "Mandy."

Growing up in Reykjavik, Johannsson said he listened to everything from John Philip Sousa marches to deafening shoegaze rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain, but was transformed when he discovered ambient music pioneer Brian Eno.

Largely self-taught as a musician, Johannsson studied literature and took inspiration from the French Oulipo school of writers such as Georges Perec who aimed to stir up fresh ideas by imposing constraining rules on their compositions.

Johannsson co-founded Kitchen Motors, the influential Icelandic artist collective that also helped launch experimental rockers Sigur Ros, and in 2002 released his first album, "Englaborn," set to a theatrical piece.

His most ambitious albums included "IBM 1401, A User's Manual," inspired by the early mass-manufactured computer.

Johannsson's father, a programmer in 1960s Iceland, had playfully transformed the computer into a musical instrument by making reel-to-reel recordings.

Turning the concept of computerized music on its head, Johannsson made his ode to the clunky old computer fully human by writing for a 60-piece string orchestra.

He again brought in strings for the mournful melodies of his 2008 album "Fordlandia," inspired by Henry Ford's disastrous project to build a city for rubber plant workers in Brazil.

Johannsson in 2016 signed a record deal with leading classical label Deutsche Grammophon and released "Orphee," an exploration of portrayals of Orpheus, the legendary bard of music, from ancient Greece onward.

Johannsson had little sign of slowing down and was recently announced on the lineup of Barcelona's Primavera Sounds festival.

"Arrival" was Johannsson's third film collaboration with Denis Villeneuve, although the French Canadian director surprisingly replaced him for last year's anticipated sci-fi sequel "Blade Runner 2049."]]>
2/11/2018 12:20:13 PM
<![CDATA[Mennel Ibtissem leaves 'The Voice' following online controversy]]>
Ibtissem, a 22 year old student, became an online sensation on following her performance on the France’s version of the TV show "The Voice", where she performed dual-language covers in English and Arabic of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" on Saturday, February 3. She had been one of the top contestants for the show and had impressed the judges. Her performance has been viewed over a million times.

However, her time in the spotlight would be brief. Shortly after her performance, Ibtissem was criticized over tweets she made regarding the 2016 Bastille attack, wherein she expressed skepticism on how the case was reported.

According to the BBC, French media reported that her now deleted tweet said: "It's become a routine, one attack a week! And to remain always faithful the 'terrorist' took his identity papers with him. It's true that, when you're planning a dirty move, you always take your papers with you!"

Several older tweets had been dug up that showed Ibtissem was critical of Israel's 2014 attack on Gaza, which left well over 2,000 Palestinians dead. Her posts called on the UK to "#StopArming Israel", and she called on Israel to stop "slaughtering innocent citizens", according to the BBC.

Ibtissem also made a post shortly after the 2016 French Saint Etienne du Rouvray Church Attack, where an elderly priest was killed by armed men. She posted that the real terrorists were the government.

On Facebook, an association of victims for the 2016 Bastille attack remarked that Ibtissem's statements were "unacceptable." “The Voice's” producers, TF1, were urged by online comments to have her removed from the show.

Ibtissem posted a video on Facebook expressing her regret, stating that her comments had been taken "out of context", but that she would no longer compete in “The Voice”. She remarked that she "obviously condemned terrorism." Though backlash on social media was fierce, several users came to her defense, stating that she was being harshly criticized on the basis of being a Muslim.

In her apology video, Ibtissem stated that:
"I have faith in the future of humanity; I have faith in a future full of love, peace, and tolerance. I have faith in my country, France… But these last days have been very difficult for me, a lot of tension; I've hidden my desire to spread love, peace and tolerance."
"I've never meant to hurt anyone, and the idea that I would do so on purpose pains me a lot."
2/11/2018 10:24:54 AM
<![CDATA[49th Cairo International Book Fair closing ceremony today]]>
The Egyptian Minister of Culture Ines Abdel Dayem will attend the fair’s closing ceremony. During the ceremony the winners of the fair will be announced in addition to featuring a play produced by the cultural production sector.

Some of the work of the late great veteran writer Abdel Rahaman el-Sharkawy will be read during the closing ceremony. El-Sharkawy was chosen to be the fair’s “person of the year” because of his work on the renewal of religious discourse and his renowned theatrical writing.

The 49th Cairo International Book Fair witnessed the attendance of a large number of people. The fair was launched on Saturday January 27 with the participation of 17 Arab countries and 10 other countries from around the world.

The Ministry of Education coordinated the first week of the second semester in tandem with the book fair’s second week as a “Reading Week”.

The art camp of this edition was given the name of the late great Egyptian artist Shadia. The 49th edition poster was designed by the book fair’s permanent committee in collaboration with the Egyptian Fine Arts Sector.

Farid Dahman, the deputy Algerian ambassador previously announced that about 10 percent of the participating publishing houses were Algerian. Algeria has been chosen as a guest of honor in this year’s fair, after Egypt was chosen as guest of honor for a similar fair in Algeria last year.

Haitham el-Hag, Head of the Egyptian General Authority for Books previously announced that the number of publishing houses participating in the Cairo International Book Fair has significantly increased this year in comparison to last year. “The increase in publishing houses’ participation in the 49th edition is 120 percent in comparison to last year,” el-Hag stated.

El-Hag added that about 144 new publishing houses are participating in the book fair this year for the first time.

“The Fair’s Authority suggested launching a second round of the book fair in October. From our side as the Egyptian General Authority for Books, we are ready to cooperate in the launching of any book fair. We are currently discussing this proposal,” el-Hag said.

The 49th edition hosted a berth of new activities for the first time, such as theater events, cinema halls and fine arts halls, in addition to increasing the number of books dedicated to children.

Al-Azhar also took part in the fair for the second year running. Its participation aims to communicate with the members of society to inform them about the efforts made to achieve peace and combat extremism and terrorism and also to brief them on the issue of Jerusalem. ]]>
2/10/2018 6:43:29 PM
<![CDATA[“Balash Tebosny” will screen in Egyptian cinemas February 28]]>
The film revolves around a director, Tamer, who struggles to deal with an actress, who refuses to partake in a kissing scene and quits the whole film industry after she decides to wear a veil (hijab). The film stars Yasmine Raies; award-winning directors Khairy Beshara, Sawsan Badr; and honorary cameos from late renowned directors Mohammed Khan and Mohamed Mahan. “Balash Tebosny” is directed by Egyptian-American writer and director Ahmed Amer.

The movie’s first screening was at the Dubai International Film Festival in December, 2017. Raies was a previous winner of the outstanding performance award for her leading role in Mohamed Khan’s “Factory Girl” in the festival’s 2013 edition, which was a milestone in her career.

Raies made her name through films such as “X-Large”, “Wahed Saheh” (The Whole One), “Taraf Talet” (Third Side) and “Al Maslaha” (The Benefit).
2/10/2018 3:41:23 PM
<![CDATA[Remembering iconic child star Shirley Temple]]>

Her life started on April 23, 1928 in Santa Monica, California. The daughter of a banker, her housewife mother was the one who encouraged Temple to act. She began as soon as she turned 3 years old, when she starred in “Baby Burlesks” – short, one-reel comedy films about children acting like adults. Seeing a potential star in their grasp, Shirley's parents seized the chance to capitalize on her skills, with her father becoming her agent.

Soon enough, little Temple eventually landed a breakthrough role in 1934 with "Stand Up and Cheer!", a musical comedy film released during the height of the Great Depression. In a time when the country was at its most hopeless, Temple was a ray of light and hope. She quickly landed numerous roles throughout that busy year, such as the smash hit "Little Miss Marker" and "Carolina", but it was "Bright Eyes" that transformed her into a superstar.

It was a role made specifically for the young actress. She sang one of her most famous songs, "On the Good Ship Lollypop", and her role was so critically praised that she was even awarded her own special Oscar award the following year. Some of her other more popular performances included 1937's "Heidi", an adaptation of the beloved 1880's children's book.

A little girl had managed to become one of Hollywood's most famous actors and had reportedly saved an early 20th Century Fox from going bankrupt. She was Hollywood's biggest attraction – her joyful youth and radiant charm being a necessary escape from the harshness of the era. President Franklin D. Roosevelt even dubbed her "Little Miss Miracle" for helping to lift the nation's spirit.

Temple was such a phenomenon that she even became one of the earliest actors to have merchandising made of them. Her face could be found everywhere – from photographs, hats, mugs, clothes and dolls made in her likeness. She'd even given the King of Hollywood some fierce competition too.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to last; Temple couldn't be a child forever.

By 1940, Shirley had just begun puberty, and it was clear that her childish charms were soon going to fade. She still attempted acting and starred in 1940's "Blue Bird", a commercial failure. Her contract with Fox had ended, and Temple's future in Hollywood was bleak. She found a bit of success in television and even got her own show, "Shirley Temple’s Storybook", which ran for two years from 1957 until 1959. It was followed up by the "Shirley Temple Show" in 1960, but it failed to attract an audience.

Temple retired from films when she was only 21.

She sought to reinvent her image and decided to pursue her life in the direction of politics. She unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives during 1967, and from 1969-1970 was a delegate for the U.N. General Assembly. After publically coming out about her breast cancer diagnosis in 1972 – the first celebrity to ever do so – she then became the U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 until 1976. In 1988, she was the only person to achieve the honorary rank for U.S. foreign service officer, and from 1989-1992 once again served as an ambassador, this time for Czechoslovakia.

Temple's achievements as an actress would not be forgotten, however. She was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the Screenwriter's Guild in 2005.

2/10/2018 2:37:54 PM
<![CDATA[Turab al-Mass’ will screen in Egyptian cinemas during Eid el-Fitr]]>
The film's star Asser Yassin previously explained that working with a director like Marwan Hamed and a scriptwriter like Ahmed Mourad in a movie based on a novel is a difficult challenge that requires significant effort. He expressed his enthusiasm in partaking in such an important film featuring a notable cast.

"Turab al-Mass" is based on the novel of the same name by Ahmed Mourad. The plot revolves around Taha, who works for a pharmaceutical company and lives an extremely boring life with his disabled father. Taha’s life is turned upside down after a mysterious murder reveals many secrets, dragging Taha into the world of crime and corruption.

Alongside Yassin, the cast includes: Menna Shalaby, Maged el-Kidwany, Ezzat al-Alayly, Mohamed Mamdouh, Khaled al-Sawy and Sawsan Badr. "Turab al-Mass” is directed by Marwan Hamed.

Yassin started as an engineering student at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and became involved in the university’s theatre department, where he was spotted by director Khairy Beshara.

He has come a long way from AUC productions, and has since become one of the leading Egyptian actors on both the small and the big screens.Through a diverse portfolio, Asser Yassin proved he’s an artist of many talents; one of his first challenging roles was in Zay el-Naharda (Like Today) in 2008, where he a drug addict antihero who made audiences both love and hate him. His latest series 30 Youm (30 Days), where he expertly showed the drastic changes his character undergoes.

He also perfected a stutter for his role in Rasayel el-Bahr (Messages from the Sea) in 2010 and showed us his comic abilities in Bebo wa Bashir (Bebo and Bashir) in 2011.

Always a hard worker seeking new challenges, Yassin has also been in the director’s chair, working first in 2016 on the music video for Abu’s Ahwak (I Love You) song, featuring a retro vibe evoking the old Agamy days on the beaches of the North Coast’s Marassi, and more recently on the music video for the latest Wust el-Balad song El-Ekhtelaf El-Motalef (Our Familiar Differences). His latest work as a director has created quite the social media buzz; featuring an unconventional storyline and a rather quirky vibe.
2/10/2018 2:20:40 PM
<![CDATA[Three Egyptian films by Film Clinic triumph 10 new Awards ]]>
Bendary’s Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim has won the Samy Al Salamouny Award for Renewal and Creation, the Best Actress award dedicated to Salwa Mohamed Aly, and a Certificate of Appreciation dedicated to Amr Farouk for his Cinematography.

Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim revolves around a young named Ali who believes his late girlfriend’s soul is inside a goat, so he loves this goat, naming her Nada and talking to her. Many people criticize him for this behavior, until his mother forces him to go to a psychological and spiritual healer, where he meets Ibrahim.

Ibrahim suffers from depression and listens to sounds from another world, yet he is incapable of understanding what those messages mean. Together, they embark on a journey of self-discovery and friendship across Egypt. The movie stars Ali Sobhy, Ahmed Magdy and Salwa Mohamed Aly, among others. “Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim” was directed by Sherif el Bendary and written by Ahmed Amer and Ibrahim El-Batout.

Two awards were dedicated to Salam’s film Sheikh Jackson including an Acting Award given to Egyptian actor Maged El Kedwany and the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Award given to young actor Ahmed Malek.

Sheikh Jackson revolves around Hany, a teen in 2009, is very passionate about pop legend Michael Jackson and Salama uses the death of Hany’s beloved pop idol as a trigger to reveal the human contradictions, struggles and even the crises of faith that exist deep inside the young sheikh. Jackson’s death is a turning point in Hany’s life because it makes him realize that his old passion for the pop singer still exists—and that it violates his principles as a Salafist, Egypt Today previously reported.

Withered Green was provided the Special Jury Award, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing all distributed respectively to Mohammed Hammad, Mohammed El Sharqawy, and Best Sound to Sarah Qadoury.

Hammad, was the first Egyptian to win the Muhr Award for Best Director in the Narrative Feature Competition at the Dubai International Film Festival. He also won a Golden Palm Award for Best Director in the Narrative Feature Competition at the Mexico International Film Festival, Egypt Today.

The movie focuses on a woman, Iman, living in an oriental society; she tries to convince her uncles to meet her sister’s suitor in place of their deceased father. The protagonist is very traditional and strict. However, Iman receives medical news that causes her to rethink her life and question her beliefs. The film participated in 45 international film festivals including the Hamburg International Film Festival, Festival de Cannes, and Stockholm International Film Festival.
2/10/2018 11:52:49 AM
<![CDATA[Rio's carnival by the numbers]]>
6 million participants:

They include some 1.5 million tourists from Brazil and abroad. Many attend the "bloco" street parties, while 72,000 can fit into the Sambodromo parade stadium.

13 Samba schools:

These schools compete in the top division contest at the Sambodromo, each of them with about 3,000 dancers, musicians and float operators. Watching them are 54 judges -- and huge crowds of passionate fans.

17,110 police:

Rio's going through a crime wave and some 17,110 officers are deployed during the festivities. Just around the Sambodromo there are 794.

$1.06 billion in revenues:

The mayor's office estimates that the city pulls in 3.5 billion reais ($1.06 billion) in tourism revenues. That's partly thanks to an 86 percent hotel occupancy rate during the period.

106 million condoms:

Brazilians know these as "camisinhas," or little shirts, but the number distributed free of charge is enormous.

1.8 million gallons of beer:

Carnival means music, costumes and... beer. Drinks giant AMBEV aims to sell 1.8 million gallons (seven million liters) during carnival.

32,560 toilets:

That may sound like a lot. But at the biggest "bloco," which takes place Saturday with an estimated one million or more people, the proportion will be just one toilet per 2,600 people.]]>
2/10/2018 9:59:52 AM
<![CDATA[4 Performances at 2B Continued Festival and Lab]]>
'2B Continued' is a biannual festival supporting young directors and choreographers. It includes workshops to help improve artistic and management skills behind the set. These workshops conclude in performances that are featured within the festival. For the first time in its run, '2B Continued' will tour Alexandria and Luxor to celebrate 10 years.

The four performances are:

Ali Khamees' "The Absentee"

A dance exploring themes of loss, love, death, and those moments that lead to people becoming "the absentee".

Ali Samar's "The Honeymoon"

A one-act play expanding on the writer's earlier work, "Writer in his Honeymoon". It focuses on the psychology of a writer dealing with his internal conflict, and how that extends to his worldly issues as well as those of his generation.

Moustafa Khalil's "I"
2/9/2018 4:58:25 PM
<![CDATA["Zahret al-Sabar" and “El Bahes an Umm Kulthum” to participate in AIWFF]]>
“El Bahes An Umm Kulthum” movie tells the story of the most prominent singer in the Middle East. The movie highlights how she managed, as an Egyptian woman, to break down and penetrate all social, religious, political and national barriers existing in society at the time.

Famed and talented Egyptian actress Yasmine Raees played Umm Kulthum in the movie. “The Search for Umm Kulthum” participated in a number of prominent international film festivals, such as the 74th edition of the Venice International Film Festival held from August 30 to September 9.

“The Search for Umm Kulthum” also participated in the 42nd Toronto International Film Festival held from September 7 to September 17 and the 61st London Film Festival, which kicked off from October 4 to October 15. The movie is directed by Shereen Nishat.


"Zahret al-Sabar" revolves around an Egyptian actress named Aida, who has provincial roots and is struggling to make it to the top. Aida suddenly finds herself kicked out of her house, along with her old, reclusive bourgeois neighbor, Samiha.

With no money and nowhere to go, the two women meet a young man, Yassin, while roaming the streets of Cairo. The three of them attempt to find shelter for the night. Their journey is full of tough moments and challenges, but is unraveled as a journey of self-discovery for all three of them.

An extraordinary friendship unexpectedly grows between Aida, Samiha and Yassin like a dazzling flower blooming from a thorny cactus. The movie was directed by Hala al-Khoussy and stars Menha al-Batraoui, Salma Samy and Marwan al-Azab.

Egyptian actress Menha al-Batraoui won the Muhr Feature award for best actress at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) for her role in the movie. "Zahret al-Sabar" was the only film representing Egypt in the Muhr Feature competition at the 14th DIFF ceremony.

The 2nd Aswan International Woman Film festival announced that this year’s edition will bear the name of famed Algerian militant Djamila Bouhired. The festival will kick off on February 20.

The festival’s 2nd edition poster, designed by Tamer Ragab, is a white rectangular space dominated by the face of a girl inside a large vacuum.
This face, which is representative of women, is comprised of pictures taken in Aswan. The images were mixed in a way that depicts the imagination and charm of cinema and the dreams of the Egyptian women. Accompanying the text at the bottom is a portrait of sculptor Djamila Bouhired.

The festival is currently receiving applications for the following workshops:

• Script Workshop supervised by scriptwriter Naser Abdel Rahman
• Documentary Film Workshop supervised by director Aida El Kashef
• Cartoon Workshop supervised by Dr. Ashraf Mahdy
• Film Workshop supervised by Dutch director Rosh Abdel Fatah
• Cinema picture Workshop supervised by director Marieke Van Der Lippe

The 2nd Aswan Women International Film Festival is held with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism, under the sponsorship of the National Council for Women.

The festival's rules stipulate that long films (feature - documentary - motion) must not be less than 60 minutes, while short films (feature - documentary - motion) are not to be more than 30 minutes long.

Accordingly, films that do not meet these conditions will screen in the official section outside the competition. The 2nd edition will honour famed Egyptian star Mona Zaki, Egyptian director Attiat el-Abnoudy, director and producer Marian Khoury as well as costume designer Nahed Nasrallah.

2/9/2018 4:46:44 PM
<![CDATA[What you need to know about the 7th edition of D-CAF]]>

CAIRO – 9 February 2018: The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) 2018 will take place from March 8th to March 29th 2018.

The festival’s 7th edition will contain a group of unique, new and vivid shows. D-CAF events which occur every year in downtown will feature artists from Egypt, the Middle East and various other countries from across the world, performing different artistic work which ranges from plays, films, visual arts and music.

“D-CAF's Art and Disability” program in this year’s edition will host several performances, events and workshops.

The “Performing Arts program” this year includes 14 shows from theatre performances to dance collaborations. Actress Clémentine Baert will enthrall audience members with her theatre piece “So, Is it There?”.

Clémentine Baert
Actress Clémentine Baert in So, Is it There? - Photo Courtesy of D-CAF press office

D-CAF once again presents the latest edition of “Arab Arts Focus” program; after its major success in “Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017”. AAF comes back to Cairo with more than 15 new performances, featuring talents from six Arab countries; Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Iraq, Palestine, and Tunisia.

“Before the Revolution” play directed by Ahmed el-Attar will be featured in Egypt for the first time after touring Europe over the past four months. This play promises a unique performance, with actor Ramsi Lehner and actress Nanda Mohammad.

Artists Ramsi Lehner and Nanda Mohammad in Before the Revolution - Photo Courtesy of D-CAF press office

D-CAF's most unique program, “Urban Visions” will present six public space dance pieces on Cairo's streets. The Australian show, “Trolleys” will feature five exceptional dancers and physical theatre artists, using supermarket trolleys. D-CAF's Urban Visions program will contain four more dance performances.

This year’s Music program will contain plenty of concerts. The festival’s opening music concert coincides with International Women's Day, both of which celebrate women. The concert will feature a diverse and outstanding all-female line up of talented and rising local, regional, and International musicians from different genres.

This festival’s newest program is the “New Media Arts” which will offer seven stunning alternative, experimental and interactive performances with projections, music, and light installations. The Hungarian “Noise Box by Glowing bulbs” comes to downtown along with different other stunning performances.

D-CAF's “Visual Arts” program has been revamped into a mentorship In Collaboration with “Medrar” program. This year the program will be slightly different, introducing a “Meet the Artist” Open Studio.

The “Film and Literature” program this year explores the link between text and image-based storytelling, through a series of award-winning international films that have been adapted from books. Through a master class and a round-table discussion, audience members will get a behind the scenes look into how graphic novels get to the big screen.

Meanwhile, the festival's “Special Events” program offers a series of theoretical and practical workshops for professional and amateur artists.

Artistic Director and Performing Arts Curator, Ahmed el-Attar, leads this year’s programs. The independent Egyptian theater director and playwright is the artistic director of D-CAF and Falaki Theatre as well as the founder and manager of “Orient Productiona”, “Temple Independent Theatre Company”, and “Studio Emad Eddin”. El-Attar manages to move the festival outside of downtown this year by holding the festival’s opening concert being performed in Al-Azhar Park.

The Music Program Curator the talented Mahmoud Refaat joins this year’s festivities by compiling a stunning line-up of innovative and renowned musicians. The skillful sound artist, producer, and musician has collaborated with local and international artists from the theatre and film scenes, composing music of all genres for well over 10 years.

The innovative Isabelle Fauvel curated this edition’s “Film and Literature” program. After having worked at “Flach Film”. Fauvel created Initiative Film in 1993. Since then, she has had the privilege of collaborating up with writers, directors and producers for all types of projects, as well as talent development, talent scouting, subject research in literature, consulting, story editing and insightful advising during the whole project development period.

This year’s performance raises the bar for the upcoming editions, but D-CAF’s curation team will never cease to amaze us with their top-notch artistic, alternative, and experimental selections. The 7th edition of D-CAF will be held in several locations across Cairo from March 8 until March 29, 2018. It is worth mentioning that last year’s edition was a remarkable one which attracted thousands of attendees.

2/9/2018 2:24:41 PM
<![CDATA[Hollywood producer Jill Messick commits suicide]]>As the former manager of Rose McGowan in 1997, Messick had recently found herself dragged into the on-going Hollywood sexual harassment case after Harvey Weinstein leaked a private email Messick wrote, which he had quoted as means of defending himself.

The email stated that Messick thought that McGowan's relationship with Weinstein was consensual. Messick had gone to work for Miramax, Weinstein's studio, as a production executive, following her work as McGowan's manager, though she suspected something illegal may have occurred but otherwise assumed the matter had been settled.

McGowan had accused her of siding with Weinstein and not supporting her cause.
Messick's family released a statement on February 8th confirming her death, which they called "collateral damage" in the on-going McGowan/Weinstein battle.

They also claimed that McGowan had slandered her good name, sullying her reputation. The statement also added that Messick had been suffering from depression and had only recently sought help before she had been dragged into the affair against her will, which Messick's family claims was far too much for her to bear.

"Jill was victimized by our new culture of unlimited information sharing and a willingness to accept statement as fact," their statement read. "The speed of disseminating information has carried mistruths about Jill as a person, which she was unable and unwilling to challenge. She became collateral damage in an already horrific story."
Messick had worked as a producer for films and Television since 1999.

Amongst the works she produced include, most notably, Tina Fey's "Mean Girls", released in 2004 and starring Lindsey Lohan. She also co-produced Freddie Prinze Jr.’s “She’s All That.”, the biopic "Frida", "Friday","Baby Daddy" and more.

In the statement, Messick's family stated that she was a supporter of the #MeToo movement, and refused to speak out against McGowan's accusations so that the movement's reputation would not be affected. Neither McGowan nor Weinstein have commented on the suicide.
2/9/2018 1:23:59 PM
<![CDATA[Omar Khairat will perform two concerts celebrating Valentine’s Day]]>The renowned composer and pianist was born in Alexandria and raised in a family of musicians. He began his career in 1959 as a pianist.

Khairat was a member of the Egyptian band Les Petits Chats, founded in 1967. They specialised in Italian, French and English songs. The band was immensely popular in the late 1960s and the early 1970s.

Khairat is influenced by different genres of music such as Arabic, European classical, Egyptian, African, Jazz, Pop, and Blues. He won the Best Musician award in 1989 from the Egyptian Society for Cinema.

Khairat is a composer that can blend the style of international symphonies with Egyptian music masterfully. He has composed many successful music pieces, such as “Dameer Abla Hikmat” (Abla Hikmat’s Conscience), “Wagh el-kamar” (The Moon's Face) and “Leilet el-Kabd ala Fatma” (The Night Fatma was Arrested), among others.

It is worth mentioning that Khairat performed his first concert in London at the Concert hall in St. John’s, Smith Square on December 1, 2017. This concert aimed to collect donations for charity and raise public awareness about street kids and orphans in Egypt.
2/9/2018 12:35:17 PM
<![CDATA[DiCaprio film 'The Revenant' to screen at Room Art Space]]>

Marking the first time DiCaprio won an Oscar award, 'The Revenant' was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and is an adaptation of the 2002 biographical novel of the same name by United States World Trade Organization Ambassador Michael Punke, on the life of American frontiersman Hugh Glass.

Set in the 1820s, Glass (DiCaprio) and his half-Indian son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) make a living as fur-trappers out in the harsh American wilderness. The crew is attacked by a tribe of native Americans and later on Glass is severely injured in a bear attack. The crew debates what to do with them.

One of them, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), decides to try and get rid of Glass for his own selfish reasons, but when Hawk intervenes, Glass can only watch as Fitzgerald murders his son.

Fitzgerald reports to the others that Glass is dead, leaving him to die out in the wilderness. However, Glass's thirst for vengeance keeps him going, and he seeks to track Fitzgerald down. Despite the fact that the movie is supposed to be based on a true story, the film takes some liberties with events. For example, there is little evidence that Glass had a son.

Shot in 80 days, principal photography for the film extended to nine months due to sensitive environmental conditions. Director Iñárritu's vision for the film was one of painstaking accuracy.In order to shoot under the right weather conditions, filming had to take place within a few selected hours. To further complicate matters, the shooting of the film had to be relocated to Argentina once summer came and melted the snow. In total, the film was shot in 12 different locations across Canada, the U.S. and Argentina.
The delays and the intense work behind-the-scenes would eventually pay off.

"The Revenant" won 32 different awards, including three Oscars, one of which was the first one that Leonardo DiCaprio ever earned, the Academy Award for Best Actor. It was for the role he described as the hardest throughout his career, taking the most out of him both physically and mentally, as he worked under harsh, freezing conditions.

Room Art Space & Café is an ever-evolving café, art space and dance room located in Cairo's Garden City. It is a place created where performers, artists and audiences can all come together for a cup of coffee to exchange ideas and share inspirations.

2/9/2018 10:34:57 AM
<![CDATA[Today in History – ‘The Birth of a Nation’ premieres]]>CAIRO – 8 February 2018: On this day in history, one of the most controversial films yet technically important, was released; 1915's silent historical American epic ”The Birth of a Nation” by director D.W Griffith.

It is a horrifically racist movie, glorifying the Klu Klux Klan and encouraging real-life hate crimes. Yet it is also a groundbreaking work, the first of its kind ever to have been filmed with a cast of nearly 20,000 people and meticulously recreated events of American history, including the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and its aftermath and the founding of the Klu Klux Klan, erroneously portrayed as noble heroes. Nothing on this scale has ever been produced before.

Originally titled ”The Clansman”, it was renamed to fit the grander scope at its March 3 premiere in New York. The movie was an adaptation of a stage play/novel of the same name, written by North Carolina Reverend Thomas Dixon Jr. in 1905. The film continued the play's hideously bigoted, anti-black message, but this time eventually reaching an audience of well over five million people by the time the film premiered.

It was known as the first blockbuster, and indeed, America's first feature-length motion picture. Its storyline follows two white families, one from the North and one from the South. The families were on friendly terms but find themselves at odds with the outbreak of the Civil War. It is, at its core, an interpersonal story that weaves into the epic.
Griffith originally aspired to be an actor or novelist, but found his true calling in the director's seat. He was the son of an ex-confederate soldier, and thus the subject matter of the film was somewhat familiar to him.

The budget for “The Clansman” originally started off at $40,000, but eventually grew to a monstrous cost of $100,000. At the time, tickets for the film were also highly priced, a whopping $2 each, when film tickets were usually sold for less than a dime. Yet the three-hour behemoth of a film was clearly seen as worth the money, given that it would earn an unbelievable $18 million in its first few years. Most of the African-American actors in the film were portrayed by white actors in blackface, further cementing the racist heart of the movie.

“The Birth of a Nation” could aptly be retitled ”The Birth of Cinema”; no other film in the history of the medium had managed to pioneer so many important techniques. In the film's six years of production, Griffith had managed to single-handily transform films from mostly static affairs, shot like stage plays, into something energetic and dynamic. His camera followed the actors; Griffith had pioneered the close-up, he weaved shots into sequences.

It even utilized color at the very end. Above all, Griffith transformed the medium of film into something that could tell a powerful, sprawling narrative.According to TIME, critic James Agee remarks that, in his own words, Griffith had aspired to "Above all… Make audiences see."

They saw his lies as well. Perhaps the greatest sin of “The Birth of a Nation” lies in how technically developed it is. Its historical inaccuracies, the glorification of the Klan and negative portrayal of slaves fighting back flew over the heads of audiences, who were mostly unaware of the real facts behind the events of the Civil War's aftermath. All too eager to swallow the lies of a pretty picture, hate crimes against African-Americans rose. The Klu Klux Klan used the film as a recruitment tool, a practice reportedly still in use to this day.

Backlash against the film's racist content was immediate. Riots had broken out at several locations of the film's premieres in the North, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had attempted to get the film banned or at least censored. These efforts failed simply because racism, at the time, was not seen by Hollywood as an issue worth considering.

”The Birth of a Nation” would be remade a century later in 2016 by director Nate Parker, an African-American, this time telling the story from the perspective of the slaves that had been so maligned in the original. Unfortunately, the film was a failure commercially, and controversy over director Parker's previous sexual assault allegations did not help its reputation.

Nowadays, the debate over the original film continues. Questions such as if the movie's racist message can or even should be divorced from its incredible achievements are still discussed, with no easy answer to be seen.

2/9/2018 10:28:25 AM
<![CDATA[Lagos art lovers get chance to bid for long-lost masterpiece found in London]]>
“Tutu”, by Nigeria’s best-known modern artist Ben Enwonwu, was painted in 1974 and appeared at an art show in Lagos the following year but its whereabouts after that were unknown until it re-surfaced in north London.

“It was his greatest masterpiece and people have been asking ‘where is Tutu?’ So to have this image turn up is extraordinary,” said Giles Peppiatt, an expert in modern and contemporary African art at London auction house Bonhams, who identified the painting.

The portrait of Adetutu Ademiluyi, who was a grand-daughter of a revered traditional ruler from the Yoruba ethnic group, holds special significance in Nigeria as a symbol of national reconciliation after the 1967-1970 Biafran War.

Enwonwu belonged to the Igbo ethnic group, the largest in the southeastern region of Nigeria that had tried to secede under the name of Biafra. The Yoruba people, whose homeland is in the southwest, were mostly on the opposing side in the war.

Enwonwu painted three versions of the portrait. The other two remain lost, although prints first made in the 1970s have been in circulation ever since and the images are familiar to many Nigerians. Enwonwu died in 1994.

Oliver Enwonwu, the artist’s son, is president of the Society of Nigerian Artists.

“This is a very significant discovery, given my father’s contribution to Nigerian art and African art, more broadly,” he told Reuters in Lagos.

Peppiatt said it had come as a shock to him to find the painting hanging in a north London home where he was called to examine it, because he had been on several wild goose chases in the past in search of the originals.

The owners did not wish to be identified, he said.

The work will be sold on Feb. 28 in an auction at Bonhams in London that will be shown live at the Wheatbaker, a boutique hotel popular with artists in Ikoyi, a wealthy neighborhood of Lagos.

The price estimate is between 200,000 and 300,000 pounds ($277,600-$416,400).

“We are quite hopeful about it because the market for Nigerian modern art is really strong at the moment. I’ve been in the market for 12 years and it’s as strong as I’ve ever known it,” Peppiatt told Reuters.

One of the challenges in organising a live auction connecting London and Lagos could be the Nigerian city’s unreliable power supplies. Despite the widespread use of back-up generators, electricity blackouts are a frequent feature of Lagos life, often affecting internet connections.

“It’s the first time anyone has done it so that will be rather exciting,” said Peppiatt. “Assuming the IT works.”

Writing by Estelle Shirbon, Alexis Akwagyiram, editing by Stephen Addison.]]>
2/9/2018 5:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Maspero to relaunch iconic Masr Al-Nahrda TV show on Al-Oula]]>
Maspero – the operator of the state-run broadcast – announced in January that it will relaunch its Al-Oula under the slogan “Egypt’s First Channel” after conducting comprehensive development operations to the channel and its programs.

Masr Al-Nahrda (Egypt Today), first aired in 2011, is one of the most successful live talk shows based in Cairo. The show descended from the now defunct Al-Beit Beitak (Your Home) show.

According to sources, Maspero allocated one of its major locations “Studio 10” for shooting most of the channel’s shows, including Masr Al-Nahrda, while "Studio 27", overlooking the Nile, will host Al-Oula’s archetypal show "Good Morning Egypt".

Rasha Nabil expressed her pleasure to co-host Masr Al-Nahrda and return to the Egyptian state-run television, saying "Maspero is my home and I am very proud to work there again.”

Nabil is an Egyptian TV anchor who hosted several successful TV shows, most notably Kalam Tany (Different Talk) on Dream channel where she presented many important television investigations and interviewed major public figures.

Khairy Ramadan and Rasha Nabil
Khairy Ramadan and Rasha Nabil
2/9/2018 3:44:23 AM
<![CDATA['Rarest white diamond ever' to be auctioned in London]]>
Weighing just over 102 carats, the round, brilliant white stone is smaller than a 163-carat oval diamond sold in Hong Kong in 2013, which currently holds the record price per carat.

But Sotheby‘s, which also handled that Hong Kong sale, expects the smaller stone’s rarity and high quality will see it attract an even higher price.

“That (stone sold in Hong Kong) fetched $260,000 a carat, currently the world record for any colorless diamond. This one being a round brilliant cut - the asking price will be north of that,” Patti Wong, chairman of Sotheby’s Diamonds told Reuters.

The diamond is the only stone over 100 carats to have been given the highest grades in every criteria by the Gemological Institute of America, which judges a precious stone’s quality, Sotheby’s said.

It has not disclosed the asking price for the stone, which will be sold in a private sale.

Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Susan Fenton.]]>
2/9/2018 3:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[China's terracotta warriors march to Liverpool museum]]>
The highlights of the exhibition are 10 life-size figures - including a terracotta cavalry horse - which form part of the 2,000-year-old army that guarded the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi.

A member of the museum staff walks past a display of Terracotta Warriors which guarded the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, on loan from China in The World Museum, Liverpool, Britain February 6, 2017.REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Held in Liverpool’s World Museum, the exhibit also features a collection of more than 180 Chinese artefacts, from a period in Chinese history spanning almost 1,000 years.

Built as part of emperor Qin Shihuangdi’s 56 sq km (21 square mile) tomb complex, the warriors were discovered by villagers in 1974, and excavations have been taking place at the site ever since.

So far, three pits filled with over 2,000 statues, each with its own unique design, have been unearthed. There are estimated to be between 7,000 - 8,000 figures in total.

Qin Shihuangdi is regarded as having laid the foundations for Chinese society. Between 221 BC and his death in 210 BC he imposed the Qin penal code, created a single currency, standardized weights and measures and imposed a single written language and bureaucracy in China.

A Terracotta Warrior which guarded the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, on loan from China is displayed in The World Museum, Liverpool, Britain February 6, 2017.REUTERS/Andrew Yates

The warriors’ first visit to Britain, for a 2007-2008 exhibition in the British Museum, proved highly popular: It drew 850,000 visitors, making it the second most-visited exhibition in the museum’s history after a 1972 Tutankhamun showcase.

The exhibit opens on Feb. 9 and runs until Oct. 28 at Liverpool’s World Museum.]]>
2/9/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Remembering actor James Dean, a rebel for the ages]]>
Dean was born on 1931 in Indiana, USA, though his family moved to California shortly after his birth. Dean's mother died of cancer when he was nine years old, and his father, a dentist, had him move back to Indiana to live on his aunt and uncle's ranch. Dean's father was absent from his life from that point on, which lead to Dean greatly resenting him.

Seeking guidance, a young Dean grew close to the Reverend James DeWeerd, who inspired his lifelong passions of car racing and acting; however, a recent claim by late actress Elizabeth Taylor, in an interview with Kevin Sessums, revealed that Dean had confessed to her that he was molested by DeWeerd, leading to lasting intimacy issues.

By 1949, Dean graduated High School and moved to California once again, this time in order to pursue theatrical studies at the University of California. His first acting role came in a Pepsi Cola advertisement, which was enough to land him a role as John the Baptist in the 1951 Easter Holiday special “Hill Number One”, his debut film.

Dean quickly began to land more roles, though mostly small ones, across films such as war drama “Fixed Bayonets!” (1951) and the musical comedy “Sailor Beware” (1952). Following actor James Whitmore's advice to move to New York, Dean caught his big break thanks to his performance in a theatrical play, “The Immoralist”, where he portrayed a homosexual houseboy.

This proved to be his ticket to Hollywood, after director Elia Kadzen noticed his performance in the play and sought him out as the lead role in “East of Eden” (1955). Although Dean was difficult to work with behind the scenes, he proved to be a remarkable talent; his performance in “East of Eden” was mostly unscripted and improvised, and earned him an academy award nomination after his death, the first acting Oscar to ever be nominated posthumously.

Dean's ascent to acting legend had just begun. His next role came that same year in 1955's “Rebel Without a Cause”, Dean's most enduring and iconic film. Here he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark, desperately seeking somewhere to belong, who ignored conventional wisdom to carve out his own purpose in life. It was a film that defined a generation, speaking to all the lost teenagers of the time, giving them someone they could look up to.

His final role was “Giant”. A sprawling, generational epic, the film told the story of a family of Texas cattle ranchers and their lives throughout the years. Dean's role was supporting yet strong, where he played Jett Rink, a cowboy opposed to the cattle rancher family who eventually rises to become an Oil Tycoon. Alas, Dean would not live to see the film released in 1956.

On September 30, 1955, Dean, an avid car racer alongside his acting career, got into his shiny new Porsche shortly after he finished filming on “Giant”. He competed in a Sports Car Rally in Salinas, California, where he collided with another car and died instantly. For his performance in “Giant”, Dean earned yet another Oscar nomination; he is the first actor to ever receive two posthumous acting nominations.
2/8/2018 3:19:04 PM
<![CDATA[Iranian artist brings personal memories back to life]]>
Shahbazi composes her artistic work as she is inspired by her personal stories and the forgotten items that have been recently rediscovered .Shahbazi’s works have been exhibited in Iran, Lebanon, Germany, Italy and France.

As for her most recent project, it presents a series of photomontages that are based on hundreds of roughly scanned family photographs. Highlighting her family’s life experience at the time of the Iranian revolution, Shahbazi investigates the loaded history of her family’s deportation at that time. Like the rest of her work, which is built on the logic of free association, these images portray her interests, life story, thoughts and inspirations.

Relying on digital manipulation, she breaks down images into separate visual components and flawlessly rearranges them, producing a whole new product that sometimes surprises the artist herself.

Shahbazi believes that featuring ancient, classical and modernist structures such as birds and family members activate our imagination, according to her interview with Dubai Art.

In addition to Shahbazi’s diverse international collaborations, her solo exhibitions were held at Hamburg and Montgomery, Berlin (2006); Contemporary Arts Forum, St. Barbara (2008) and 98weeks Project Space and Beirut (2010), amongst others. She has also released a book, “Spectral Days” (2011).

2/8/2018 3:18:58 PM
<![CDATA[Atbane Youness to take part in D-CAF festival’s 7th edition]]>
Youness will be presenting an intelligent performance that holds layers of research, ideas and sarcasm on political facts. He aims that this performance remains in the audience mind until 2045. The performance will make you think deeper of many more messages than what those which were presented directly, according to the event’s main message.

His art revolves around a critical and satirical relationship between art, its actors and its geopolitics. Youness’ art is currently focused on contemporary dance and visual arts, trying to expand his artistic knowledge as much as possible to perform varied assembly. He is constantly digging deeper in the world of contemporary art, especially in France, Morocco, Belgium, Spain and Tunisia.

Youness displayed his installations and performances in many international exhibitions, in numerous cities such as Madrid, Rome, Paris, London and San Francisco.

D-CAF is Egypt’s first international multi-disciplinary contemporary arts festival, according to the festival’s website. The festival will be setting up an artistic program for three weeks from March 8 to March 29 in Downtown Cairo.

D-CAF presents different kinds of local and international arts, such as music, theater, dance, visual arts and film, highlight many rising artists from Egypt and the entire Arab world. The festival’s vision is to create a cultural and artistic bridge between Arab artists and international programs.
2/8/2018 3:18:54 PM
<![CDATA[Streaming platform Hulu could be wild card in Fox-Disney megadeal]]>
The proposed $52 billion deal has drawn attention for potentially turning over to Disney another major Hollywood studio and key television operations in the US and overseas.

But if streaming video represents the future, Hulu could be the key.

Created in 2008, Hulu has garnered comparatively little attention as the number three streaming platform in the US market, behind Netflix and Amazon.

Hulu was created by the major broadcast operators to counter the growing influence of Netflix. But Hulu's structure has been a handicap. Disney Fox and Comcast's NBCUniversal each own 30 percent, with Time Warner holding the remaining 10 percent.

The deal announced in December would give Disney a 60 percent stake and, according to analysts, greater ability to build a winning platform.

"Hulu never made sense to begin with," said analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.

"The concept that the networks needed to come together to form this consortium probably held it back more than anything else. They're probably better not working in a consortium-like model."

Disney's firm control of Hulu would probably lead to the exit of Comcast's NBCUniversal to establish its own platform, according to Wieser.

Hulu has an estimated 17 million subscribers -- up from 12 million a year earlier -- compared with over 100 million for Netflix.

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The Emmy-winning show "The Handmaid's Tale" starring actress Elisabeth Moss has helped raise the profile of streaming television service Hulu

- New directions -

But Hulu has made gains in the past year as it ramps up original content, including "The Handmaid's Tale," a winner of eight Emmy awards. Hulu has also indicated it may start expanding to international markets to step up its challenge to Netflix.

Daniel Ives of the research firm GBH Insights said allowing Disney to take a controlling share in Hulu "significantly changes the strategic direction" for the platform.

Ives noted that Hulu could complement the streaming services which Disney expects to launch in the coming years -- one for general content and another for sports.

"From a content perspective having the Disney machine and (chief executive Bob) Iger behind Hulu makes it a much more competitive platform over the coming years as this will be a two-head monster with Disney's streaming service slated for 2019 and Hulu as a standalone," Ives said.

"While the Netflix machine remains the clear leader and poised to increase its market share both domestically as well as internationally we believe Disney will invest a billion-plus in Hulu over the next three years with its live programming being a potential difference maker."

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Disney CEO chief Bob Iger -- shown here with Mickey Mouse preparing to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in November 2017 -- has said he wants to launch a streaming service which is a "destination" for children's programming

- Triple threat -

Iger said in December that he wants to launch a streaming service which is a "destination" for children's programming which will come from Disney itself as well as its ABC television unit and the Fox television entities.

During Disney's earnings call this week, Iger said the regulatory review for the Fox deal was underway in various jurisdictions and said the tie up would offer a boost to the media-entertainment group.

Adding the Fox assets, Iger said, will deliver more content and the production capabilities and talent to produce even more. It will enhance our direct-to-consumer initiatives with platforms, technologies, brands and existing customer relationships to build on."

Hulu would complement that with programming for a more general audience and with its ESPN sports service, Disney could offer a "triple threat" to rivals.

Wieser said it remains unclear if Disney's strategy of streaming services targeted at specific audiences will work. It will also face competition from streaming services offered by broadcast group CBS and Time Warner's premium video channel HBO.

"Maybe customers ultimately prefer services that are tailored somewhat rather than broad," Wieser said. "And by taking so many kicks at the can they'll figure out what works and what doesn't."

Hulu is also promoting its "Live TV" option which offers a bundle of channels as slimmed down option for viewers not seeking a large cable or satellite package.

"This is going to be a heavyweight fight over the coming years with Hulu playing a central role in Disney's ability to gain market and mind share versus the iron fortress and empire of streaming, Netflix," Ives said.]]>
2/8/2018 2:44:08 PM
<![CDATA[You are hereHome News 'African Mona Lisa' mesmerises after surprise rediscovery]]>
Ben Enwonwu's 1974 painting of Adetutu "Tutu" Ademiluyi, daughter of a Yoruba king, has taken on almost mythical status in the painter's native Nigeria.

It was last seen in 1975 but is now up for sale after its surprise rediscovery.

"It has been a legendary painting for 40 years, everybody keeps talking about Tutu, saying 'where is Tutu?'," the Booker Prize-winning writer Okri told AFP.

As a prominent Nigerian cultural figure on the world stage, Okri viewed the painting at prestigious London auction house Bonhams, where the work will be sold on February 28.

"He wasn't just painting the girl, he was painting the whole tradition. It's a symbol of hope and regeneration to Nigeria, it's a symbol of the phoenix rising," he said.

"I spent hours looking at it, making up for the time that we hadn't seen it. It's been a work of rumour, but here it is, crystallised."

African mona lisa 2
Writer Ben Okri called Ben Enwonwu's "Tutu" painting "a symbol of hope and regeneration" for Nigeria

- Missing masterpiece -

The work was uncovered by Giles Peppiatt, director of Modern African Art at Bonhams, after a north London family contacted him following lucrative recent sales of Nigerian artworks.

"It was quite remarkable when I walked into this flat in north London and saw it hanging on the wall, it was about the last thing I expected to see," he explained.

"As soon as I saw it I knew it was authentic, but I couldn't say that at the time to the owners because you can't just blurt that out."

After confirming the search for "Tutu" was over, the family "were, not surprisingly, pretty astounded," he revealed. "It's a missing masterpiece."

African mona lisa 3
Writer Ben Okri called Ben Enwonwu's "Tutu" painting "a symbol of hope and regeneration" for Nigeria

- 'Prize work' -

Enwonwu, who died in 1994, is considered the father of Nigerian modernism. He made three paintings of "Tutu", the locations of all of which had been a mystery until the recent discovery.

The works became symbols of peace following the clash of ethnic groups in the Nigerian–Biafran conflict of the late 1960s.

"The sitter is Yoruba and Ben Enwonwu was Ibo, so they were of different ethnic tribes," said Eliza Sawyer, specialist in Bonhams' African Art department.

"It was an important symbol of reconciliation."

Enwonwu was from a politically-connected Ibo family and his father was a traditional sculptor. The painter stumbled upon his most famous muse by accident.

"He would go around local villages and sketch local scenes and figures, and he encountered this young woman whom he thought was just entrancing and requested to paint her, not knowing her stature," explained Sawyer.

"She was a little taken back by the request," she added.

"It is the peak of the artist's career, there's also the sitter's status as a princess and thirdly the painting had been lost. That all creates an awful lot of mystery."

The rediscovered painting was last displayed at the Italian embassy in Lagos in 1975, and was bought by the father of the north London family during a business trip.

"It was pretty much regarded as his prize work," explained Peppiatt.

"I think he was secretly in love with the sitter. She is a very pretty lady.

"It's pretty audacious, with the light under the chin, which focuses you on the head. As a bit of painting it stands on its own anyway, without any of the other stories," he added.

The painting is expected to sell for around £250,000 ($347,000, 282,000 euros) when it goes on sale jointly in London and Lagos on February 28, but Okri argued that its worth was more than financial.

"It gives us a glimpse of an important African reconfiguration of the art of portraiture," he said.

"It's going to start a fire, start a debate. Never have they given proper due to African painters. This is the perfect work to start" to ask why, he added.
2/8/2018 2:36:18 PM
<![CDATA[Belgium's 'MolenGeek' transforms terror-tarnished neighbourhood]]>
But the story here is different. For the past two years it has been opening up computer skills and digital entrepreneurship to young people in one of the Belgian capital's most deprived areas.

It has also shown another side to Molenbeek, the largely immigrant district that since the terror attacks on Paris and Brussels has been more likely to be associated with Islamic extremism.

The idea has been so successful that it has attracted investment from hi-tech giants like Google and Samsung.

"There are a lot of qualities here in Molenbeek. We are the proof," says Tawfiq El Ouazzani, 22, who credits MolenGeek with helping him and his friend Ismael Mahaj launch a website.

"I thought I was going to go to be a postman or a cleaner," after dropping out of high school, said Mahaj, 20. "But after I found MolenGeek I said 'right, I am going to be an entrepreneur, I am going to be my own boss and get clients for myself."

A play on the name of the district and the "geeks" involved in the tech industry, MolenGeek's offices are in a business centre just on the other side of the canal from the rest of the city of Brussels.

The project was launched in early 2015 by Ibrahim Ouassari, a Molenbeek local who dropped out of high school and later became a community leader for troubled adolescents.

The aim was to give young people a chance at building a future in a district long linked with unemployment and crime.

- 'Open up this world' -

"If things don't go well and if kids aren't adapted to the school system or the school system isn't adapted to them, there is always a way to make a career," Ouassari said.

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"There are a lot of qualities here in Molenbeek. We are the proof," says Tawfiq El Ouazzani

Between MolenGeek's launch and the time it opened its doors on March 1, 2016, Molenbeek hit world headlines as a supposed hotbed of extremism.

First it emerged that several of the jihadists behind the November 13, 2015 attacks on Paris came from there. Then Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam was arrested there in March 2016, near his family home.

Days after that the Brussels attacks brought the unwelcome attention back a third time.

Abdeslam is on trial this week over a shootout in Brussels that led to his arrest.

While Ouassari and his French co-founder Julie Foulon say that they're glad MolenGeek is helping to lift the stigma from those events, their core aims are the ones they had originally -- to help local youths.

Foulon said the tech industry was generally "pretty elitist" and with "very few people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and very few women. So it's important to be able to open up this world."

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For two years, the MolenGeek centre has enabled young people to develop their computer skills, helping them become digital entrepreneurs

Now, every day around a sixth of its 600 members visits the not-for-profit centre to brush up their computing skills, share ideas and learn business start-up techniques.

The centre has already incubated more than a dozen start-ups.

Young people from diverse backgrounds -- from Molenbeek's largely ethnic Moroccan population but also white, black and Asian ethnic groups -- sit at long open plan tables with funky wall paintings in the background.

- Google and Samsung invested -

The idea is so successful that it has already attracted investment from the likes of hi-tech giants Google and Samsung.

"We realised in fact that the problems are similar throughout Europe, even the world," said Oussari, the 39-year-old Belgian son of Moroccan parents.

A similar venture is planned in Padua, Italy and the EU wants to use it as a template for the whole continent.

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The EU wants to use MolenGeek as a template for the whole continent

"If you are from another country, if you are another religion and you have the same idea of entrepreneur, MolenGeek is the perfect place," Italian entrepreneur Francesco Zanchin told AFP.

The 28-nation European Union, always on the lookout for ways to tackle persistent youth unemployment, is also interested.

"In other parts of the European Union we will have to copy this," said Andrus Ansip, the EU digital commissioner and Estonia's former prime minister.

Google executive Lie Junius said during a recent visit that the US giant had invested in MolenGeek to give "access to opportunities" and help Europe close the digital skills gap.

Michiel Dijkman, an executive for South Korea's Samsung, said the firm is supporting MolenGeek with "a sense of urgency".

For Ouassari, MolenGeek's success is satisfying after more than two decades of difficult efforts to help his neighbourhood.

"It was like Don Quixote, tilting at windmills," Ouassari said. "You have to bring guarantees to these young people so that they have a future."
2/8/2018 2:12:58 PM
<![CDATA[El-Hawary to host new series “Room Grand Experience” in Cairo]]>
The series at Room Art Space will be offering a one of its kind experience by featuring a lineup of creative and inspiring artists from Egypt and from around the world every Friday.

Dokkan is a Cairo-based experimental musical project consisting of Tarek El Azhary on oud, guitarist Omar Magdy, drummer Nayer Osama, and Mohamed El Mallawany on bass guitar.

The project explores a wide-range of contemporary musical elements and blending them with traditional Egyptian sounds through advanced instrumental melodies, and magnificent musical grooves, according to the event’s official invitation.

El-Hawary is an Egyptian accordionist, composer, songwriter, and singer. She will be joined by her band playing tunes from their latest album No'oum Nasyeen.

El-Haawary has been composing her own songs since 2010, which present sarcastically a socio-political mix. In her early stages of her career, she was known for taking to the stage only with her accordion, giving a unique musical performance to her audience.

The young artist’s constant thirst for progress and renewal helped her quickly to rise to fame and establish her own seven-member band. Since then, the band has been performing in Egypt and abroad, after winning a travel grant from the regional nonprofit organization Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy (Cultural Resource) to help cover their travel expenses and present their work across the Arab world.
2/8/2018 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Acclaimed Egyptian photographer integrates philosophical value in art]]>current on-going exhibition that runs until February 15, Soody laid down the basis of his artistic motivations:

"The expression of the human being with his body and his movements, whether it’s artistic or not, is only the reflection of his soul, his life, his experience, and his most profound being. No matter the time, the place or the cadre, these movements show his urgent need to express a rebellious freedom, an inner revolution, and a profound evolution, the search for appeasement, the cry of despair or a love song.

Photo by Medhat - Photo courtesy of Medhat Soody

These are inner movements essential to any external movement in the life of a human being and in his contact with others.Moments haunted by a humanity that search for itself but also that gives itself completely. These moments, in my opinion, are the basis and the real essence of "Performing Arts" that I tried to capture with my photographer's eye."

Born in 1981, Soody was interested in pursuing a career in the visual arts "since I was a kid", especially interested in painting and photography. In his own words, he considered a painting or photograph as a "reflection of life, and the human soul."Soody graduated from Cairo University, and immediately dove into creating his own films and photographs.

Photo by Medhat - Photo courtesy of Medhat Soody

In particular, Soody is captivated by dance and the ways the human body flows, capturing a moment forever within his photography.

"Light, movements, shapes and different human expressions," are what the photographer considers to be the most inspiring things to him. Life in Egypt has also been another major inspiration to the artist; to Soody, Egypt has offered colorful, rich experiences like nowhere else in the world. And to an artist, "life experiences are the most important thing."

Photo by Medhat Soody - Photo courtesy of Medhat Soody

To Soody, he believes that the purpose of art "must be the main source to help elevate and enrich human beings and societies. It should be an important part of every country’s history and prosperity." He believes his work hits this goal, as it captures both Beauty and Truth, values he considers "the essence of life and humanity".

Through his work, Soody's themes are varied and intriguing, ranging from topics such as the human body, performing arts, experimental theatre, dancing, faces and expressions; a desire to explore the natural in a way only Soody can. His hopes are that he can also tackle themes "influenced by great painters in different styles and eras."

Photo by Medhat Soody - Photo courtesy of Medhat Soody

Soody's photography is predominantly black and white, though while he states that he does use color on occasion to him he feels his ideas come across better through B&W.
The single most important element is light, something that he "depends on in all his works", thus all his techniques revolve around utilizing light in the most creative manner.

In the future, he's open to collaboration with more artists, and he is currently working until May 2018 with "a dance company in a French project called 'Artistes en residence dans les colleges' or Artists in residences in colleges where we do workshops with students, make performances and create photo exhibitions. And I’m currently preparing for a new exhibition under the patronage of the French Ministry of culture on the theme of expatriates and refugees in Paris."

Photo by Medhat Soody - Photo courtesy of Medhat Soody

Looking back to his home country, Soody believes that Egypt's visual arts scene is full of diverse young talent in need of encouragement, through more activities, workshops and exhibitions. His words of encouragement to young, upcoming artists are to"To believe in your dreams and follow them even when the conditions don’t help or encourage you."
"You must always persevere."

Photo by Medhat Soody - Photo courtesy of Medhat Soody

2/7/2018 4:10:31 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to be guest of honor in 24th International Moroccan Book Fair ]]>
Abdel-Dayem mentioned in a statement that Morocco’s choice to announce Egypt as a guest of honor in the International Book Fair highlights the stable relations between the two countries.

The veteran flutist and Culture Minister will be leading the Egyptian delegation of writers, artists and researchers including Anwar Moughith, Egyptian writer and translator, Mohamed Afifi sarcastic Egyptian writer, Hassan Khadairy Egyptian health media expert, and others.

The Ministry of Culture prepared a rich program that highlights an important part of the great Egyptian civilization and also the history of Moroccan-Egyptian relations. The program consists of several literary seminars, poetry readings, and a variety of artistic performances that reflect the colors of the Egyptian arts.

It is noteworthy that the 24th edition of the International Book Publishing and Book Fair will be attended by more than 700 exhibitors representing 45 countries from all over the world, along with 350 researchers and creators of various nationalities. It will also be witnessing 40 activities within the children's program throughout the period.
2/7/2018 3:50:29 PM
<![CDATA[Acclaimed Japanese performance to stage in Alexandria]]>
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“Kodo” – photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House Media office

The performance is stated to showcase a number of traditional Japanese musical pieces as well as more contemporary works that express the depth of Japanese culture and arts.

The name of the troupe, “Kodo”, is the Japanese word for “heartbeat”. It was chosen as a reference to the overpowering nature of music, which represents the “essence” of human life, as well as the inspiring role of music in people’s lives. “Kodo” also refers to the sound of the drums, which can be compared to a human heartbeat.

“Kodo” – photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House Media office

“Kodo” have performed over six thousand concerts in forty nine countries across the world, as well as participated in a number of music tours around Japan, gaining a well-established international fanbase.

2/7/2018 2:13:20 PM
<![CDATA[China's terracotta warriors march to Liverpool museum]]>
The highlights of the exhibition are 10 life-size figures - including a terracotta cavalry horse - which form part of the 2,000-year-old army that guarded the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi.

Held in Liverpool’s World Museum, the exhibit also features a collection of more than 180 Chinese artefacts, from a period in Chinese history spanning almost 1,000 years.

Built as part of emperor Qin Shihuangdi’s 56 sq km (21 square mile) tomb complex, the warriors were discovered by villagers in 1974, and excavations have been taking place at the site ever since.

So far, three pits filled with over 2,000 statues, each with its own unique design, have been unearthed. There are estimated to be between 7,000 - 8,000 figures in total.

Qin Shihuangdi is regarded as having laid the foundations for Chinese society. Between 221 BC and his death in 210 BC he imposed the Qin penal code, created a single currency, standardized weights and measures and imposed a single written language and bureaucracy in China.

The warriors’ first visit to Britain, for a 2007-2008 exhibition in the British Museum, proved highly popular: It drew 850,000 visitors, making it the second most-visited exhibition in the museum’s history after a 1972 Tutankhamun showcase.

The exhibit opens on Feb. 9 and runs until Oct. 28 at Liverpool’s World Museum.]]>
2/7/2018 12:04:54 PM
<![CDATA[ESPN to launch streaming service]]>
Facing lower ad revenue and lagging membership, ESPN will launch in the coming months a paying streaming service, Disney CEO Bob Iger said Tuesday.

ESPN Plus will be available as part of a revamped ESPN mobile app, Iger said, without providing a precise launch date.

With a single app, users will be able to bypass their television provider to view some 10,000 sport events a year whose rights were purchased by Disney, ESPN's parent company.

"The scores and highlights will be improved with better audio, better video quality, better user interface, as well as basically more customization and personalization," Iger told CNBC.

"In addition to that, you'll be able to watch on the same app streamed live ESPN networks, provided you are a subscriber to one of the services -- traditional or non-traditional."

And via ESPN Plus, users will have access to "an array of live programming that is not available... on the current channels, and that's by the thousands. In addition to that, a lot of other programming like the 30 for 30 series," Iger said.

The Disney chief said the service would cost $4.99 a month, confirming that Disney intends to launch its own separate streaming service for non-sports programming next year in order to keep its market share in the face of competition from Amazon and Netflix.

ESPN is hoping to stem its losses from dropping membership in recent months by directly competing against the old model of pay television channel bundles.]]>
2/7/2018 12:01:30 PM
<![CDATA[All-star cast to cover Bowie on US radio]]>
The 25-song show, to be co-hosted by Bowie's longtime producer Tony Visconti, amounts to a surprise forum for a tribute to the music legend who wanted no formal memorial.

Stern made his name as a shock jock on New York radio in the 1980s but has gradually built a radio empire and mainstream respectability.

Stern, who will broadcast the retrospective Friday on his channel on satellite radio provider SiriusXM, said that Bowie was one of his first musical loves.

"I want to make sure that people remember David Bowie," Stern, one of the most successful radio hosts in the United States, said in a statement.

Corgan, the frontman and main force behind Smashing Pumpkins, will perform Bowie's breakthrough 1969 song "Space Oddity" while electronic rockers Garbage will cover another classic track, "Starman."

Bowie's contemporary Peter Frampton will sing "Rebel Rebel," while Daryl Hall -- one half of chart-topping pop duo Hall and Oates -- will take on "Fame," an emblematic song of the ever-transforming Bowie's 1970s funk phase.

Other artists on the show will include pop star Lisa Loeb, retro pop act Bleachers, folk rockers Dawes and prominent indie rockers Car Seat Headrest and Spoon's Britt Daniel.

Bowie stunned fans when he died in January 2016 from an undisclosed battle with cancer at age 69. While his family did not authorize any memorial, previously planned charity concerts several months later in Bowie's adopted home of New York turned into tributes, drawing prominent artists including Blondie, the Pixies, The Flaming Lips and Michael Stipe of R.E.M. fame.

Forbes magazine has ranked Stern as the world's seventh highest-paid celebrity on its last annual list with earnings of $90 million over the previous year.]]>
2/7/2018 11:58:17 AM
<![CDATA['Game of Thrones' creators to make new 'Star Wars' films]]>
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the creators of the smash-hit, Emmy Award-winning television series, will write and produce new films that are separate from the main Skywalker saga and the trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson, writer-director of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

"David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today," Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement.

"Their command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push 'Star Wars' in ways I find incredibly exciting."

Benioff and Weiss released a joint statement saying they had been dreaming of traveling to "a galaxy far, far away" since seeing the original movie in 1977.

"We are honored by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of 'Game of Thrones' is complete," they said.

Lucasfilm did not say how many movies would comprise the new series or announce release dates.

Disney boss Bob Iger said when Johnson's trilogy was announced in November the "Star Wars" franchise had been "exceeding expectations" since the entertainment giant acquired Lucasfilm in 2012.

The two films from the main series under Disney's charge -- "The Force Awakens" (2015) and "The Last Jedi" (2017) -- are among the top ten highest grossing movies of all time, with $2 billion and $1.3 billion respectively.

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (2016), the first of three scheduled spin-off movies, also made more than $1 billion, raising hopes for the success of the next, "Solo: A Star Wars Story," which opens in May.

- Good and evil -

Californian filmmaker George Lucas was 33 when he prepared to release his third feature -- a far-fetched, slightly corny intergalactic saga of good and evil starring a sulky farm boy with daddy issues.

"Star Wars" has since grown into the most lucrative and influential movie franchise of all time, ingrained in a geek culture that gave rise to Silicon Valley and disruptive technologies.

The announcement sparked excitement -- and some grumbling -- among fans of "Game of Thrones," one of the most popular and talked-about cable shows in history, which begins its final, six-episode season in 2019.

"I can't wait for a graphic C-3PO/R2-D2 sex scene in a galaxy far, far away," joked one Twitter user, a reference to the frequent racy love scenes and nudity for which "Thrones" has become infamous.

But not everyone was thrilled by the announcement, which once again underscored the lack of female or ethnic minority directors in the "Star Wars" universe, a marked contrast to the diversity Lucasfilm has promoted in front of camera.

"Still no sign of ever seeing any part of a galaxy long time ago and far, far away as conceived of by a woman or person of color," tweeted film executive Franklin Leonard, who founded The Black List, a yearly publication featuring Hollywood's most popular unproduced screenplays.

The announcement came as the Walt Disney Company issued its first earnings report since announcing six weeks ago that it would buy much of rival studio Fox's film and television assets in a $52 billion deal.

The California-based entertainment giant reported first-quarter earnings -- up to December 30 -- of $1.89 per share, a 22 percent on-year rise, and revenue of $15.4 billion, just shy of the $15.5 billion analysts had been predicting.

"We're excited about what lies ahead, with a robust film slate, the launch of our ESPN direct-to-consumer business, new investments in our theme parks, and our pending acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox," said Iger.]]>
2/7/2018 11:54:47 AM
<![CDATA[Eastwood's train attack heroes film takes a beating from critics]]>
But the three childhood friends who play themselves in Clint Eastwood's Hollywood reconstruction of the drama took a battering from critics when the film opened in France on Wednesday.

"We thought the projectionist had put on the wrong film for the first quarter of an hour," said the Parisien newspaper, which bemoaned how the veteran director took an hour and 15 minutes to recount the friends' "tedious" childhoods as devout Catholics in California.

Only in the final "incredible, hyper-tense 10 minutes" does "The 15:17 to Paris" take off, said critic Renaud Baronian when Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler overpower a Moroccan jihadist armed with an AK-47 on the Paris-bound train from Amsterdam carrying more than 500 passengers.

Others were slightly less damning, with one critic lamenting that "an incredible story does not make a good film" and that "the movie gets stuck in the station," while Culturebox said with biting irony that "it was not going to revolutionise cinema."

The Figaro newspaper, however, praised it, although it admitted it "does not play the suspense card".

Warner Brothers had not shown the film to critics in advance, as is the usual practice, "which is generally a sign that it is a bad film," Nick James, editor of Britain's Sight & Sound magazine, told AFP.

- 'We wanted to be exact' -

The movie's trio of friends were reunited with members of the emergency services crews who tended the injured after the attack at a special screening in Paris last week.

Some of them were also recruited by Eastwood, 84, to play themselves in the drama.

"I hope you like the film. We wanted to be exact about what happened," said Skarlatos, 25, an Oregon National Guardsman who served in Afghanistan.

US Air Force Airman Spencer Stone charged at Ayoub El Khazzan after he wounded another passenger and managed to disarm him of the AK-47 and of a pistol which jammed as El Khazzan tried to shoot him.

Stone was slashed with a bolt cutter around the neck as Skarlatos and Sadler knocked the attacker unconscious and then "hog-tied" him.

The three were hailed as heroes both in the United States and in France, where they were awarded the Legion of Honour, the country's highest decoration.

But the film has raised the hackles of El Khazzan's lawyers, with judges yet to deliver their verdict.

"That Hollywood has delivered its 'truth' before the judges is at the very least worrying," Sarah Mauger-Poliak told French radio.

The film -- which opens in cinemas in the US and the UK on Friday -- follows the course of the friends' lives, from their childhood struggles to the series of unlikely events leading up to the thwarted attack.

- 'We could all be dead' -

Hollywood legend Eastwood's last two films -- "Sully" and "American Sniper" -- were also about real-life heroes, but this is the first time he has used the real protagonists to play themselves.

A former Republican politician, who makes no apology for his gung-ho patriotism, Eastwood said he wanted to "make people aware that they have the strength to do (extraordinary) things themselves.

"There could have been a lot of people killed, (the attacker) had a lot of ammunition, he had a very reliable gun," he said in a filmed interview with the cast released to promote the movie.

"Eastwood has always been interested in Average Joes who find themselves at the centre of great events," said James. "As far as he is concerned there is no need to make America great again, because America has always been great."

Skarlatos, who appeared on the "Dancing With the Stars" US television show after the attack, said that "knowing each other since we were very young, it was the icing on the cake that we got to play ourselves.

However, "if anything went differently we would probably all have been dead," he added]]>
2/7/2018 10:40:00 AM
<![CDATA['Frasier' dad John Mahoney dies at 77]]>
Mahoney played the iconic role of Martin Crane for all 11 seasons of the popular sitcom until 2004. He won numerous acting accolades including nominations for Emmys and Golden Globes.

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago said Mahoney, who was a member of the ensemble for 39 years, died Sunday due to complications from cancer while in hospice care.

The character actor was born in England, but moved to the United States at the age of 19 to teach English at a college in Illinois, according to Variety.

Chicago was his longtime home, and he had said he felt happiest when in the Windy City.

"John Mahoney was a fixture on the Chicago stage," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in remembrance. "Even as his fame grew through his fantastic work in movies and television, John stayed connected to his artistic home here in Chicago.

"Though he will be missed, his work and impact will endure for generations to come."

Mahoney got his acting start in Chicago relatively lately, when he was 40 in the late 1970s, after fellow actors John Malkovich and Gary Sinise invited him to join the then-nascent Steppenwolf, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"So many wonderful plays together over the years," Sinise reminisced on Twitter. "A wonderful actor I'll never forget his 1985 performance in Orphans (Chicago and New York)."

Mahoney appeared in more than 30 productions at the prestigious theater, including "The Rembrandt" in September.

"John was a beloved member of our Steppenwolf family who was known for his extraordinary kindness, generosity of spirit and quick smile," Steppenwolf spokeswoman Madeline Long said in a statement.

"John's impact on this institution, on Chicago theater, and the world of arts and entertainment is great and will endure."

Mahoney appeared in numerous films and TV shows, and continued to appear on television as recently as 2015 in the TV series "Foyle's War."

His more than three decades-long career in film saw him appear in movies such as "The American President," "Moonstruck" and "Say Anything."

"Rest In Peace, John Mahoney. 'Say Anything' is one of my favorite films of all time," said actor Ken Jeong.

Mahoney won a number of acting awards, including Tony and Screen Actors Guild trophies.]]>
2/6/2018 7:42:57 PM
<![CDATA[Main line-up at Berlin film festival]]>
Nineteen pictures will vie for the Golden Bear top prize at the event which runs to February 25, with a jury led by German director Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run", "Babylon Berlin") selecting the best film.

Twenty-two of the 24 features in the main showcase are world premieres and two are directors' feature debuts. Four of the movies in competition are by women.

The Berlinale Special sidebar section features other notable films that will have gala screenings.

Here is the complete list including details on the high-profile productions:

- Main showcase -

"3 Days in Quiberon", Emily Atef, Germany/Austria/France (about Franco-German screen siren Romy Schneider's last interview before her tragic death aged 45)

"7 Days in Entebbe", Jose Padilha, winner of the 2008 Golden Bear top prize, and starring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruehl, US/Britain (based on the true story of the daring Israeli rescue mission following 1976 PLO hijacking of an Air France jet, out of competition)

"Aga", Milko Lazarov, Bulgaria/Germany/France (out of competition)

"Ang Panahon ng Halimaw" (Season of the Devil), Lav Diaz, Philippines

"Black 47", Lance Daly and starring Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and Stephen Rea, Ireland/Luxembourg (period thriller set during Ireland's Great Famine, out of competition)

"Damsel", David and Nathan Zellner and starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska, US (comic Western with a feminist twist)

"Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot", Gus Van Sant and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill, US (based on the memoir by John Callahan, who became a cartoonist after losing the use of his limbs in a drink driving crash)

"Dovlatov", Alexey German Jr., Russia/Poland/Serbia

"Eldorado", Markus Imhoof,Switzerland/Germany, (documentary on how various countries treat refugees, out of competition)

"Eva", Benoit Jacquot and starring Isabelle Huppert, France/Belgium (Huppert plays a femme fatale in a thriller adaptation of a 1945 novel)

"Figlia mia" (Daughter of Mine), Laura Bispuri, Italy/Germany/Switzerland

"Las herederas" (The Heiresses), Marcelo Martinessi,Paraguay/Germany/Uruguay/Norway/ Brazil/France (debut film)

"In den Gaengen" (In the Aisles), Thomas Stuber and starring Sandra Hueller of "Toni Erdmann", Germany

"Isle of Dogs", animated feature by Wes Anderson and voiced by stars including Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig and Liev Schreiber, Britain/Germany (opening film)

"Khook" (The Pig), Mani Haghighi, Iran

"Mein Bruder heisst Robert und ist ein Idiot" (My Brother's Name Is Robert and He Is an Idiot), Philip Groening, Germany/France/Switzerland

"Museum", Alonso Ruizpalacios and starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Mexico (heist movie based on the real-life theft of priceless ancient artifacts)

"La priere" (The Prayer), Cedric Kahn, France

"Toppen av ingenting" (The Real Estate), Mans Mansson and Axel Petersen, Sweden/Britain

"Touch Me Not", Adina Pintilie,Romania/Germany/Czech Republic/ Bulgaria/France (debut film)

"Transit", Christian Petzold, Germany/France

"Twarz" (Mug), Malgorzata Szumowska, Poland

"Unsane", Steven Soderbergh and starring Claire Foy of "The Crown", US (psychological thriller about digital stalking filmed on an iPhone, out of competition)

"Utoya 22. juli" (U - July 22), Erik Poppe, Norway (drama based on the massacre committed by Anders Behring Breivik, told from the perspective of the 77 victims)

- Berlinale Special -

"AMERICA Land of the FreeKS", Ulli Lommel, Germany

"The Bookshop", Isabel Coixet and starring Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson and Bill Nighy, Spain/Britain/Germany

"Gurrumul", Paul Williams, Australia (documentary about the late Aboriginal musician)

"The Happy Prince", Rupert Everett and starring Everett, Colin Firth and Emily Watson, Germany/Belgium/Italy (Oscar Wilde biopic)

"The Interpreter", Martin Sulik,Slovakia/Czech Republic/Austria

"Monster Hunt 2", Raman Hui, China

"RYUICHI SAKAMOTO: async AT THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY", Stephen Nomura Schible, US/Japan (concert film)

"Das schweigende Klassenzimmer" (The Silent Revolution), Lars Kraume,Germany

"Songwriter", Murray Cummings, Britain (documentary about British pop superstar Ed Sheeran)

"Becoming Astrid", Pernille Fischer Christensen, Sweden/Germany/Denmark (biopic about Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren)

"Usedom – Der freie Blick aufs Meer", Heinz Brinkmann, Germany

"A Journey to the Fumigated Towns", Fernando Solanas, Argentina]]>
2/6/2018 7:37:18 PM
<![CDATA[Rocker Josh Homme finds fresh voice with 'In the Fade']]>
The German movie about neo-Nazi violence, which won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, is named after a 2000 song by Queens of the Stone Age. Director Fatih Akin is a fan of the California rockers and approached Homme to tell him that he had been listening to the band as he wrote the script.

Homme, who at the time was mixing the band's last album "Villains," was surprised by the proposal but agreed -- and wound up delighted with the chance to release more experimental music.

The rocker said he had pulled out of projects in the past when too many people got involved. But on "In the Fade," he realised that Akin was giving him full control, even telling him, "'I am not worried about the music. I know it is going to be great.'"

"I was very relieved," Homme told AFP. "I felt that it was a movie made passionately and under the control of Fatih."

Diane Kruger, who won the best actress award at Cannes for the movie, had made the original suggestion that Akin contact Homme. Kruger in the film plays a native German who seeks answers about the killings of her Turkish-born husband and son.

"I was so pleased it wasn't an American-style blockbuster movie because in America everything ends on everyone living happily ever after. It took a very honest look at one woman's pain, and also Diane Kruger was so good," Homme said.

"I am not sure if Fatih realised how contemporary this could be. It is almost a shame that the subject is so contemporary."

- Son's heartbeats become music -

Rocker 2
Homme is also a member of Eagles of Death Metal, but wasn't there when the group's concert was attacked in Paris in 2015

Homme was obliged to write the score in less than a week. He maintains a hectic schedule and frequently works as a producer and collaborator, notably for punk legend Iggy Pop. Homme is also a member of Eagles of Death Metal, although he was not present when the group's concert was attacked in the bloody 2015 siege of Paris.

Working out of the celebrated Rancho de la Luna studio in the California desert, Homme spoke remotely with Akin and felt he had a green light to pursue fresh directions.

"You know, people believe, 'Well, you play rock 'n' roll -- that's all you can do.' I've heard this before, you know. This was a chance because Fatih said you can create whatever you think is right," Homme said.

Homme decided to use "instruments that are not really instruments." Among them is a 50-gallon (200-litre) oil drum outside the studio and heartbeats from his son's sonogram -- which dramatised the journey of Kruger's character Katja.

"It's all inside her, so I tried to use biorhythms, heartbeats and things that represent stress inside the body so all the music in the movie represents the all-internal struggle," he said.

The score, while also bringing in Queens of the Stone Age rock, relies heavily on strings which create an ominous feeling to match the plot.

Homme doubted he would have enjoyed so much freedom with a major movie.

"In a way, the bigger the budget, the worse off I would be," he said.

He met Akin only after "In the Fade" was completed -- because the director presented it at the film festival in Palm Springs, California, where Homme's family lives. He invited Akin for a drink afterwards in Los Angeles, where Homme spends most of his time.

"It was very strange because it was a really full circle and my family went to the screening," he said.

2/6/2018 7:32:51 PM
<![CDATA[Rio carnival parties attract crowds, but little funding]]>
That's the odd situation facing Rio de Janeiro's informal carnival street parties called "blocos," which take over the Brazilian city every year at this time and have grown far beyond their humble roots.

Although much less known abroad than the colorful, organized parades at the Sambodromo, the "blocos" are an equally important part of the carnival that turns Rio into the world's biggest party before the start of the Catholic period of Lent.

A total of 473 "blocos" will have danced their way through Rio de Janeiro's streets over January and February, some of them performing twice, so that the total number of parties is expected to hit 600.

Bands playing mainly samba music, costumes and drinking are the main constants.

But otherwise each "bloco" has its own identity, ranging from one for dogs in fancy dress to the mammoth Cordao da Bola Preta, which attracts more than a million revelers, scheduled for February 10.

To watch the extravaganza at the Sambodromo, you need to pay anything between 10 and 500 reais ($3-$155).

Want to go to a "bloco"? Just show up.

However, the fact that "blocos" don't charge for entry means these laid-back events are increasingly struggling to pay the simplest bills.

- Friends' get-together -

Despite being annual fixtures -- and, some would argue, the real soul of carnival season -- "most 'blocos' began with no more than a group of friends," said Tiago Rodrigues.

He's from a "bloco" called Orquestra Voadora, or Flying Orchestra, which launched in 2009 and now draws crowds of more than 100,000 to its parade.

"We were just 15 amateur musicians who played in various parades and we decided to create our own band," Rodrigues said. "We've had crazy growth."

Success, though, means ever higher costs, especially for sound systems and the extra security needed to deal with large crowds.

rio carnival 2
A reveller from the "Ceu Na Terra" (Heaven on Earth) group performs at the "bloco" in Rio's Santa Teresa neighborhood -- most groups look for private sponsors to fund their activities

Organizers raise money mostly by taking their bands around the country for fee-paying concerts outside of carnival season. They also look for private sponsors, a goal that has become harder at a time of economic slump in Brazil.

"Everyone is a volunteer here. We share the tasks," said Rodrigues, who estimates the costs at around 70,000 reais ($21,700).

"Last year was the first time we didn't have to pay from our own pockets."

Another popular "bloco," Quizomba, which was started in 2001 by five friends, holds paying classes for drumming, with about 2,000 students so far, said director Andre Schmidt.

"People have no idea how the carnival is financed. We're the ones who take the party into the streets but this year we won't have any sponsors," said the founder of Multibloco, Thais Bezerra.

At the Terreirada Cearense "bloco," Igor Conde said they had borrowed 13,000 reais ($4,036) to cover last year's budget shortfall.

- Tourism boost -

Carnival brings a splurge of spending on hotels, restaurants and other tourism staples in Rio. City hall says it expects about 3.5 billion reais ($1.1 billion) this year, up from three billion in 2017.

According to tourism officials at Riotur, 6.5 million people take part in the festivities, including 1.5 million tourists.

The city spends around 16 million reais ($4.9 million) on increased security and sanitation. However it cannot legally subsidize the "blocos."

While this year, it did manage to get two million reais ($620,900) from a private sponsor, that has to be spread between all the "blocos."

rio carnival 3
Revellers on the ferry boat to Paqueta Island in Rio's Guanabara Bay celebrate -- there will be about 600 "blocos" this year

Riotur director Rodrigo Paiva says "we have no way of giving the 473 'blocos' what they need."

The giant Cordao da Bola Preta, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, says it gets logistical but not financial aid from city hall.

"We hold events that fund our headquarters and employees but not for the carnival," said Pedro Ernesto, the event's president. "Without sponsorship, we have our hands tied."

2/6/2018 7:24:41 PM
<![CDATA[New Netflix features for February]]>
Netflix has been considerate in emphasizing the importance of parental control through offering an additional account for kids that is set automatically out of violence and other characteristics that would harm a child’s mentality. This month its all about binge-watching the special recommendations for Valentine’s Day.

February line-up

The new series, films and talk shows that will be on Netflix starting this month; some of them are brand new and some are important classics. A number of new series are going to be added this month.

Netflix is about to release its newest series production, “Altered Carbon: Season 1”, which stars Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman. The story takes place 300 years in the future and is about a consciousness that has been digitized, stored and set on another living body, and that mind can earn it’s freedom only through solving a complicated murder case.

Another new entry for Netflix TV series is “Coach Snoop”. It is the first TV series starring famous rapper Snoop Dogg. The story is about Snoop teaching children to take a path that does not include the mistakes he made in his life since childhood.

Football lovers were not forgotten this month, as Netflix will offer them the series “First Team: Juventus”, which will reveal the famous football club’s interiors, highlighting soccer stars and the upcoming potentials.

Also, Netflix will witness the debut of many more series, such as “Everything Sucks” and “Seven Seconds”, plus the sixth season of “Suits” and the fourth season of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.


Netflix has announced that Al Pacino’s masterpiece “Scarface” will be available starting February as well, alongside “8 Mile”, the only movie starring legendary rapper Eminem, for which he won the Academy Award for the movie’s original song. Netflix originals will be represented through “When We First Met”, which stars Adam Devine and is specially dedicated to Netflix users for Valentine’s Day, along with many other Netflix originals, such as “The Ritual”, “Mute” and much more.
]]>2/6/2018 5:06:18 PM<![CDATA[Spanish culture night at Cairo Opera House]]>
The performance will be led by Spanish dancer Alvaro Guarnido and pianist Yekaterina Lebedeva. The program for the evening includes a live performance as well as a screening of various scenes of flamenco performance in Spain, showcasing the variety and intensity of the cultural art. Scenes included are stated to be street shots, games, girls in a garden, oriental dance, Andalusian dance, impressions, pantomime and fantasia.

The art of flamenco originated in southern Spain and was developed by the Romani people who came from northern India in the fifth century. Modern flamenco, on the other hand, began in the eighteenth century, and was influenced by Romani, Muslim and Jewish music, whose songs were characterized by expressions of sadness and improvisational techniques that were meant to display feelings of great difficulty.

These emotional performances developed as a result of ethnic oppression at the hands of the Spanish monarchy. When some ethnic groups were granted rights in the eighth century by King Carlos, flamenco music grew popular in Spain and eventually became widespread across the world.
2/6/2018 5:06:08 PM
<![CDATA[Ministers of culture, irrigation award children’s art prizes]]>
The competition was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation to increase awareness of water and Nile issues in Egypt, as well as to encourage the participation of Egyptian children in national events. The event took place at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation theater.

The event began with an exhibition showcasing the winning children’s artworks that portrayed their view of the Nile River and their ideas for its preservation and maintenance. The exhibition was followed by a musical performance from the children of the Sayyeda Zeinab Cultural Park for Children choir. Concluding the event was the official awarding and certification of the competition winners.

Minister of Culture Inas Abdel-Dayem emphasized the need to celebrate and nurture young artists that show promising potential for the future of Egyptian visual art. She also stated that an awareness program for problems pertaining to the Nile River in the various governorates is currently underway at the Ministry of Culture.

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aty shared his view that this event promises more chances for project collaborations between the two ministries.

Attending the ceremony were Hatem Rabie, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Culture, and Mervat Morsi, the sector director. Also included in the awards ceremony was Egyptian editor and journalist Nadia Mabrouk, who was also awarded for her efforts in increasing awareness of the importance of preserving and maintaining the water of the Nile River.

2/6/2018 4:32:12 PM
<![CDATA[Islamic Art Museum hosts exhibition for Indian culture]]>
This exhibition is part of a program to promote the work of the Museum of Islamic Art and corresponds with the Museums Sector’s plans to increase promotion of Egyptian museums.

Attending the opening of the exhibition was Indian Ambassador Sanjay Bhattacharya, Ministry of Antiquities representative Mohamed Abdel-Latif, Museums Sector Director Elham Salah and Museum of Islamic Art Director Mamdouh Osman.

Mamdouh Osman stated that this is the exhibition’s third run so far, with the first taking place in October 2017 at the museum itself, and the second taking place in mid-January at the Port Said Cultural Center. He also stated that the exhibition has been met with enthusiastic reception from both visitors and participants.

The exhibition is planned to take place in different Egyptian governorates, with the next stop being in Ismailia in March, followed by Alexandria.
2/6/2018 4:16:26 PM
<![CDATA[Sony's "Jumanji" in rare return to top box office in N.America]]>
Taking in $10.9 million for the three-day weekend -- as competition with football's Super Bowl depressed ticket sales -- "Jumanji" became the first film since "Titanic," in 1998, to win a February weekend following a nationwide release in December.

After holding top spot for three consecutive weekends, the film closed out January in second place.

The family flick, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart, follows a group of teens who find themselves transported inside the video game world of Jumanji. Its domestic cumulative take of almost $338 million makes it only the third Sony film to reach that mark.

Last weekend's North American leader, Fox's "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," slipped to second place with a take of $10.5 million, according to industry tracker Exhibitor Relations. The dystopian sci-fi film follows the harrowing adventures of three teens who have survived a destructive virus infecting the world.

In third spot was a new release, "Winchester" from Lionsgate, with takings of $9.3 million despite abysmal reviews.

The movie, a gothic thriller, was inspired by the real-life story of Sarah Winchester, the 19th-century heiress to the Winchester gun-making fortune, who built an enormous, spookily elaborate mansion in California to appease the spirits of people killed by her family's firearms.

Despite the draw of Helen Mirren in the title role, the film scored a paltry nine percent on the Rotten Tomatoes website. Even she could not "class up... this super-silly feature," The New York Times said.

Fox's "The Greatest Showman," with Hugh Jackman as larger-than-life circus impresario P.T. Barnum, clung to fourth spot, taking in $7.7 million.

Fox's "The Post," starring Meryl Streep as newspaper publisher Katharine Graham, spent a second weekend at fifth place grossing $5.2 million.]]>
2/6/2018 11:35:25 AM
<![CDATA[“The Reports on Saleem and Sarah” premiers at the International Film Festival Rotterdam]]>
The film and the director have been nominated for two of the 2018 awards at the (IFFR), including the Hivos Tiger film award awarded to upcoming talents in film direction. The film was nominated for the latter along with other seven movies that the jury believed worth the nomination.

The second award that the film has been nominated to is the KNF award, which is given by The Circle of Dutch Film Journalists to a Dutch production or Dutch co-production. “The Reports on Saleem and Sarah” has also been nominated for that award for the existence of the KEYFilm Dutch production company as a co-producer of the film, along with two other companies from Germany and Mexico.

The storyline centers on an affair taking place between a married Palestinian man and another Israeli woman who has been caught in the wrong place and at the wrong time, which resulted in more than an ordinary family issue for both, but its political angle took the case way beyond their expectations.

Murad Alayan is a Palestinian director who was born in Kuwait. After studying filmmaking in San Francisco, he returned to his home to expose his vision and launched filming projects about and by Palestinians and their struggles. Alyan’s movies were written by his brother, Rami Musa Alayan. The pair have produced, written and directed six films including full, short and documentary movies. Previously, they made it to nomination in many important festival such as the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) and Berlin International Film Festival.

The International Film Festival Rotterdam started in 1972, and is considered one of the largest audience base and industry-driven festival in the world. It targets the encouragement and support of young talents in filmmaking field for fiction and documentary movies whether it is featured, short films and media arts.
2/5/2018 5:02:19 PM
<![CDATA[The 2nd annual AIWFF to honor Djamila Bouhired]]>
The festival released its 2nd edition poster designed by Tamer Ragab. The poster is a white rectangular space dominated by the face of a girl inside a large vacuum.
This face, which is representative of women in general, is made up of pictures of Aswan. The images were mixed in a way to show the imagination and charm of cinema and the dreams of the Egyptian women. Accompanying the text at the bottom is a portrait of the sculptor Dgamila Bouhired.

The festival is currently receiving applications for the following workshops:

• Script Workshop supervised by scriptwriter, Naser Abdel Rahman.
• Documentary Film Workshop supervised by director, Aida El Kashef.
• Cartoon Workshop supervised by Dr. Ashraf Mahdy.
• Film Workshop supervised by Dutch director, Rosh Abdel Fatah.
• Cinema picture Workshop supervised by director, Marieke Van Der Lippe.

The 2nd Aswan Women International Film Festival will be held with the support of the Ministries of Culture and Tourism and the sponsorship of the National Council for Women.
The festival's rules stipulate that long films (feature - documentary - motion) must not be less than 60 minutes, while short films (feature - documentary - motion) are not to be more than 30 minutes long.

Accordingly, films that do not meet these conditions will be screened in the official section outside the competition. The 2nd edition will honour the famous Egyptian star Mona Zaki, the Egyptian director Attiat el-Abnoudy, the director, the producer Marian Khoury and the costume designer Nahed Nasrallah.
2/5/2018 4:58:44 PM
<![CDATA[The Egyptian Cinema Film Association Festival awards]]>The famous actress Shereen Reda was awarded the best actress on her role in “Photocopy”, while the well-known actor Mohamed Saad won the best actor award on his role in “El Kenz” (The treasure) movie.
The veteran director Sherif Arafa won the best director award for “El Kenz” that also won the best film award. “Photocopy” director Tamer Ashry won the best first work award.

The plot of “El Kenz” spans the Pharaonic, Abbasid, Ottoman and modern eras, ending in the 1970s. The movie revolves around corruption and the mixing of religion with politics. It portrays religious figures using their authority as a means to gain political power.

The movie boasts a dazzling cast of Egyptian stars, including Mohamed Ramadan, Amina Khalil, Sawsan Badr, Mohy Ismail, Mohamed Saad, Hend Sabry and Ahmed Rezk. “El Kenz” was written by Abdel Reheem Kamal.

“Photocopy” tells the story of an elderly man who, upon his retirement, decides to open a photocopying shop. He begins to re-discover life, his love for his neighbour and the people around him.

The movie stars Mahmoud Hemeida, Sherine Reda, Farah Youssef, Aly Tayeb and Ahmed Dash, amongst others. It was written by Haitham Dabbour and directed by Tamer Ashry.

Egyptian journalist and “Photocopy” scriptwriter, Haitham Dabbour, previously stated in an interview with Egypt Today that he chose to present a love story between an elderly couple because these types of love stories, “have not been well-presented in Egyptian cinema.”

The script was nominated for the Sawiris Cultural Awards. Dabbour explained that he worked a lot on the script to develop it before reaching the final version. He began writing it in 2013 and finished it a year later.

The movie tackles issues and problems facing the elderly, topics that are rarely addressed in Egyptian cinema. “Photocopy” premiered at the first edition of the GFF, and won the Gouna Golden Star Award for Best Arabic Feature Narrative Film. The movie was also screened at the fifth International Arab Cinema Meetings in Marseille on November 22.

“Photocopy” was shown as the closing film at the Arabian Cinema Week in New York City on November 23. The Arabian Cinema Week was organized by Moviepigs, an online platform tailor-made to screen Middle Eastern films. The film was screened in the Cairo International Film Festival on Friday, November 24. “Photocopy” screened for the first time in Egyptian cinemas on December 20. The movie made LE 57,000 on its opening day and LE 79,000 the following day.

2/5/2018 4:55:38 PM
<![CDATA[Playback workshop to be held in Cairo ]]>
The workshop aims to explore the colorful forms of ‘Playback Theatre’, which is a theatrical technique used to deepen actors’ connection with their roles through connecting them with their inner selves. This enriches the actors’ improvisational skills, according to the event’s description.

The organizers of the workshop believe that various playback practices enhance the actor’s creativity and self-confidence. Playback Theater personifies a kind of art of being active and “awake” physically and especially emotionally on stage.

This kind of theater is an original form of improvisational theatre based on interaction and spontaneous reactions through which actors share stories from their real lives on spot. It draws people together honoring their stories which offer fresh perspectives to the audience.

“Drama for Life” is an art space that offers workshops to all people, helping them experience all the different forms of drama especially creative drama, improvisation, playback, psychodrama and forum theatre, according to their official page on Facebook. They also believe that these techniques help people access their “inner actors” and explore the richness and creativity of their ideas.

Bardo Clubhouse offers workshops and classes for all levels of movement, Art, Design and multimedia according to their official page on Facebook.

2/5/2018 4:50:57 PM
<![CDATA[Photo story: Balleto Del Sud 's performance of classical Sleeping Beauty]]>
Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

Balleto Del Sud have worked alongside the Italian Ministry of Culture and Heritage since 1999. Over the years they have built a great reputation because of their consistently successful performances and talented team. They have also organized and participated in many activities and artistic projects including a theater school, which aims to train 3000 students annually.

Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

“Sleeping Beauty” is one of the most famous classical works that revolves around a little princess who a wicked witch manages to kill at the age of sixteen through an enchanted sewing needle. Despite the precautions of her father, the king, the trick succeeds and the girl dies immediately. However, some fairies transform her death into a long sleep, which lasts until the young prince defeats the witch and saves her.

Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

Balleto Del Sud - Photo courtesy of Cairo Opera House media office

2/5/2018 3:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[3 facts to know about the excavated ancient Egyptian tomb “Hetpet”]]>
A senior official at the royal palace during the end of the fifth Dynasty, Hetpet was buried in a tomb that was recently discovered at a western cemetery located in Giza earlier last week by an Egyptian archeological mission led by the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa El Waziri.

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Painting throughout the walls of Hetpet's tomb – photo courtesy of Ministry of Antiquities

1- The tomb speaks about the Fifth Dynasty

Hetpet was buried in a tomb featuring several architectural styles and decorative elements that were common among burial chambers and tombs of the fifth Dynasty. Beyond the entrance of the tomb, an “L” shape shrine with purification basin is found where at its western rare end a rectangular arcade is found lining with incense.

2-Hetpet a passionate mother in heart, a dominant icon in society

A priestess to the goddess of fertility Hathor who was known for helping women during birth, Hetpet is portrayed in some of the paintings throughout the tomb standing in different scenarios in her life where she is hunting, fishing, or sitting with her children on a large table.

a painting of Hetpet sitting on a table as her children provide her offerings

Hathor is depicted on the walls as a cow however stands as a strong symbol of motherhood and love which links to Hetpet where she is painting on the walls sitting with her children on a large table engaging in a conversation and receiving offerings from them. A prestigious icon in society at the time, Hetpet had strong connections with many members of the royal family.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El Anani overlooking tomb – photo courtesy of Ministry of Antiquities

3-The tomb’s paintings speak 1,000 words

Hetpet’s tomb significantly features vivid paintings of her life and other scenarios of the fifth dynasty including one painting featuring people reaping fruits, working in creating metals and fabrication of leather and papyri boats, and enjoying entertaining nights that included musicals and dancing performances.

Painting throughout the walls of Hetpet's tomb – photo courtesy of Ministry of Antiquities

Other paintings include one featuring two monkeys sitting in different positions, one eating fruits while the other is dancing in front of an orchestra. Monkeys at the time were not only raised as a pet but also as a guard to its owner.

Other tombs have featured similar paintings including one painted on the wall of a tomb dating back to the 12th Dynasty of “Khanoum Hetep II” that was excavated in Minya governorate; while another similar painting was found in a tomb dating back to the Old Kingdom, depicting a monkey dancing in front of a guitarist.

Giza western cemetery is known for housing tombs of senior officials of the Old Kingdom that have been discovered since 1842.

Paintings throughout the wall - Photo courtesy of Ministry of Antiquities
]]>2/5/2018 2:50:33 PM<![CDATA[New artistic projects to launch, celebrating 55 years of Egy-Vietnamese ties]]>
The meeting took place in the Ministry of Culture, in the presence of Fu Tian, deputy head of the Vietnamese diplomatic mission in Cairo, and Tran Tam An, the first secretary of the embassy. Hisham Murad, head of the Foreign Cultural Relations Department at the Ministry of Culture also attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed a plan to celebrate the 55 years of bilateral relations between the two countries. Egypt’s contribution in documenting the visit of the late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh to Egypt during the 1960s was another topic of discussion. Vietnamese participation in a number of cultural and artistic events to be organized by Egypt in the near future were also talked about.

Enes Abdel Dayem has previously told Egypt Today about the importance of expanding cultural projects. Abdel dayem confirmed that Egypt is still culturally the most important country in the region. Despite the growing cultural projects in various Arab countries such as UAE that include expanding the number of opera houses and theaters, Egypt remains the number one country leading the scene in the MENA region. Egypt’s cultural output remains stable because of its ability to generate local artists and invite foreign talents.

2/5/2018 1:52:25 PM
<![CDATA[Paris atelier provides safe haven for exiled artists]]>
Lina Aljijakli, a 35-year-old Syrian born in the now war-ravaged city of Hama, is one of a record number of immigrants seeking asylum in France. Her art is being exhibited at the grand Palais Royal along with works by 14 other exiled artists.

She said freedom of expression was compromised in Syria, where a seven-year civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions from their homes.

“You never knew what could happen. You could get arrested, get killed,” Aljijakli told Reuters TV.

A large studio in Paris’ 18th arrondissement has become a dedicated workspace for some 150 exiled artists from countries such as Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Iran. It has provided Aljijakli with a sanctuary from where she can express her emotions on canvas.

One of her works on display in the former royal palace shows faces of women and children outlined against a blue background.

The painting represents the suffering of Syrian women imprisoned and separated from their children, she says, of women hurt by aerial bombardments and of women who make the perilous sea-crossing in search of safety.

Judith Depaule, who runs the atelier, sees the artists as the latest chapter in the artistic history of a city that gave rise to Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Cubism, and is synonymous with artists from Picasso and Van Gogh to Hemingway and Beckett.

“So it’s about time that tradition is renewed,” Depaule said. “Art and French culture have a lot to learn from this melting pot, from this contribution from other cultures.”

Another artist is Syrian filmmaker Mohammad Hijazi. Aged 29, he applauded the opportunity Paris has provided but wants to be known for more than just his portrayal of war.

“My hope is ... to tell the world that we are able to produce work not simply because we have a war or a revolt or a conflict or fighting.”]]>
2/5/2018 1:40:33 PM
<![CDATA[‘The Insult’: Oscar nominee accused of Israeli normalization ]]>
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Egypt movement launched an online campaign directly after the screening which called for the banning of the film in Egypt. The BDS stance comes because of Doueiri’s alleged history of Israeli normalization. Doueiri shot his previous movie “The Attack” in Israel.

Zawya cinema defended the screening by declaring that “The Insult” was not made with any financial support from Israel, nor directly engaged in Israeli propaganda. The banning campaign has steadily gained momentum throughout the past week.

The prominent Egyptian cinema critic Tarek el-Shenawy explained to Egypt Today that he watched the movie when it was screened at the first edition of El Gouna Film Festival; it was praised by both the audience and filmmakers and won an award at the festival.

As soon as Douieri flew back to Beirut after participating with his movie at the Valencia International Film Festival the Lebanese authorities stopped him at the airport and ordered him to appear before a military court to answer charges of treason. The reason was that he had shot his movie “The Attack” in Israel.

“Douieri confirmed previously that shooting “The Attack” in Israel was not a direct or indirect breach of the decisions of the boycott, and I wonder: if this is not normalization, then what is normalization?! I fully support the ban of “The Attack” in the entire Arab world because of the Israeli participation in its implementation,” El-Shenawy recounted.

Despite this El-Shenawy questions about why “The Insult” is controversial, he added that is anyone heading to Ramallah will be considered normalizing with Israel because he or she will pass by an Israeli checkpoint? True, there is nothing official about the passport, but there is a paper from the Israeli security authorities that gives the holder the right to pass. “The normalization with Israel’s dress is full of holes, but definitely “The Insult” is not one of them,” El-Shenawy admitted.

“I regard boycotting Zawya cinema for its film screening "The Insult" as the silliest thing I have heard in a long time, because Zawya is the only cinema that screen respectable and high quality movies,” the veteran Egyptian director Dawoud Abdel Sayed wrote on his official Facebook account.

Abdel Sayed said that this ban will not at all harm Israel and it is much easier for anyone who is against the movie or its director to simply not to watch the movie, leaving the rest who want to watch the movie to just watch and judge.

“The Insult” was nominated for a Foreign Language Film Oscar. The nomination was considered a huge achievement; not only for the Lebanese cinema but for the Arab Cinema as a whole.

"It was such good news when we got it, because this is the first time Lebanon arrives at the Oscars and you know you offer a little bit of hope,” Doueiri previously told Reuters. "It's like winning a medal, it’s like going to the Olympics and your team for the first time wins the bronze medal or the silver medal."

“The Insult” revolves around the character of Tony played by Lebanese actor Adel Karam and Palestinian refugee Yasser played by Yasser el-Basha who exchanged harsh words after Yasser tries to fix a drainpipe on Tony's balcony. The clash between them leads to violence, courtroom confrontations and national attention.

The media circus surrounding the case puts Lebanon in a critical social situation, pushing Tony and Yasser to reconsider their lives, prejudices and points of views.

“The Insult” also stars Rita Hayek, Camille Salameh, Diamand Bou Abboud, Talal Jurdi, amongst others. The movie is written by Ziad Doueiri and Joelle Touma and directed by Ziad Doueiri.

"The Insult" was screened in Lebanon despite the controversy surrounding the movie . The other nominees for Best Foreign Language Film in 2018 include "A Fantastic Woman" from Germany, "Loveless" from Russia, "On Body and Soul" from Hungary and "The Square" from Sweden.
2/5/2018 11:05:13 AM
<![CDATA[MAD Solutions sends ‘Egyptian Jeanne d’Arc’ to Sudan Film Fest.]]>
The MAD lineup at the festival includes; two feature films, “Only Men Go to the Grave” by director Abdulla Al Kaabi and “The Journey” by director Mohamed al-Daradji; two short films, “A Drowning Man” by director Mahdi Fleifel and “300 KM” by director Mohammed Alholayyil; and the documentary film “Egyptian Jeanne d'Arc” by director Iman Kamel, according to MAD Solutions.

MAD Solutions is the first independent Pan-Arab studio that fully integrates marketing and creative consulting in order to bolster the best of new talent in the Arab film industry.

The Sudan Independent Film Festival (SIFF) is one of the top cultural events in Sudan that sheds light on the independent portrayal of African culture. The festival screens various short films and documentaries from different countries.

Under the supervision of the festival, many experts with well established backgrounds in the global film industry will give workshops and seminars enriching Sudanese filmmakers with news directing skills.

“Egyptian Jeanne d'Arc” was nominated for the 2013 Arab-German Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation in Germany. The film was presented at pitching and co-production forums such as Africa Produce (Spain), and the Amiens Screenplay Development Fund (France).

The documentary discusses the experiences of Egyptian women following the January 2011 revolution through their defiant art forms. In the film, the director, Iman Kamel, is shown to find the diary of a fictional young Bedouin girl named Jehanne in the western deserts of Egypt. In the diary, Jehanne writes of wanting to break free of the restricting male-dominated world and become a dancer. Kamel sets out to find Jehanne by connecting with seven other female Egyptian artists.

“Only Men Go to the Grave” revolves around a woman who was about to tell her daughters a secret but died suddenly while revealing it. So they start to uncover the hidden story in the mother’s funeral with the help of a strange guest who delivers a shocking surprise. It is written and directed by Abdulla al-Kaabi as his debut feature film, starring Saleema Yaqoub and Heba Sabah amongst others.

“The Journey” is a drama film, revolves around the story of Sara who commits an absurd act that gives her the opportunity to reflect on the potential consequences of her action. Sara goes to Baghdad’s central train station with an evil plan in mind. Yet, her plan backfires and things get complicated in an extraordinary way.

The film is Directed by Mohamed Al Daradji, who also co-wrote and co-produced it with Isabelle Stead. It stars Zahraa Ghandour and Ameer Jbara amongst others . The film received grants from the Doha Film Institute and AFAC - The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, as well as other remarkable international festivals.

“A Drowning Man” ,a comedy film that tells the story of a lonely kid who decides to explore a strange city and looks for ways to survive his daily life. He becomes Surrounded by predators which forced the child to make compromises he didn’t expect merely just to survive. It is Written and directed by Mahdi Fleifel and stars Atef Alshafei, Jalal Qaniry, among others.

As for “300 KM”, it is a short film that presents a conservative community where a man, woman and child are forced to travel together in a small car in a journey over a 300 kilometer long stretch of road. The film is written, directed and produced by Mohammed Alholayyil and stars Khaled Alsaqr, Zara Albalushi, and Ibrahim Alhajjaj. It won the Jury Award at Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

2/5/2018 9:43:19 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook fights back against anti-Black Panther group]]>
Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and Forest Whitaker, “Black Panther” adapts another Marvel hero for the big screen. This time, bringing to life the titular superhero, who is King of the fictional, high-tech African city of Wakanda. After the death of his father, T’Challa (Boseman) must take his place as the king of Wakanda and don the mask of Black Panther to challenge those who want his throne, which could lead the peaceful city to war.

“Black Panther” will release in U.S. cinemas on February 16, 2018.

The Facebook group planning to bombard the film with negative reviews was called “Down with Disney's Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys” as it was originally founded to combat Disney’s revival of Star Wars. Upon hosting an event called “Give Black Panther a Rotten Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes,” which saw 3,700 people sign up to give the film false negative reviews in order to help it fail, and was set to begin on February 15 until February 24, the first week of the film’s release.

A statement released from Rotten Tomatoes to CNN wrote that their security network would work to ensure these false reviewers would be banned, according to The Verge. Shortly after their statement was released, Facebook took action and deleted the group. Facebook also released a statement decrying what they saw as an act of “hate speech and bullying.”

The upcoming “Black Panther” film is estimated to become a blockbuster hit, and is already having a positive influence on black communities, particularly with the youth. The film portrays an Africa city as a place of great technological progress, with a predominately African cast. According to Fandango, “Black Panther” has already outsold every other superhero movie in pre-order ticket sales, and broke the record for the website’s pre-sale tickets for a Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
2/5/2018 9:33:17 AM
<![CDATA[Shakira’s biggest hits]]>CAIRO – 3 February 2018: Yesterday, February 2 was the birthday of world famous singer and beauty icon, Shakira. Married to Barcelona football star Gerard Pique, she is possibly the only footballer’s wife more famous than their spouse.

Hailing from Colombia, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll was born to a Colombian mother and Lebanese father in 1977, and honors this dual-heritage in her music by fusing Latin and Arab visuals and sounds, creating the look that everyone knows as “Shakira”. This has gone some ways in explaining her massive international appeal.

Music was what Shakira was born to do; she wrote her first song when she was only eight years old, by the time she was 13 had already signed her first record deal. Unfortunately, her first two albums didn’t sell too well, prompting Shakira to step in and do things how she wanted; this turned out to be just what she needed, as her next release, 1996’s “Pies Descalzos” (Bare feet) sold over 3 million copies. Shakira was on her way to becoming a world superstar.

Here’s a look at some of her all-time biggest songs:
Hips Don’t Lie ft. Wyclef Jean

Released in 2006, Shakira’s most iconic and recognizable song originally began as part of another song; Wyclef Jean’s 2004 hit “Dance Like This”. Shakira then extended her segments, adding new parts, with the result being an unbelievable world-wide hit that took the charts by storm, becoming the singer’s first #1 track in the UK and U.S.. With its catchy lyrics, fusion of reggae and salsa and Shakira’s hypnotic dance moves, no song defines the singer better than this one.

Whenever, Wherever

This was the song that launched Shakira into stardom. Released in 2001 as the first track from her first English language album, “Laundry Service’, the song transformed Shakira into an immediate success, reaching the #2 spot in the UK and U.S. charts. The English speaking world had just fallen in love with Shakira.
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)

The 2010 FIFA World Cup, hosted by South Africa, saw its official song sung by none other than Shakira, who worked her musical magic to create an unforgettable hit fitting the joyful atmosphere of the time and celebrating an entire continent’s worth of culture. The song proved to be more than just a hit in Africa however, as it became the #1 in Europe. Shakira performed the song live at the World Cup’s opening and closing ceremonies; it remains the most successful World Cup song of all time.

Can’t Remember to Forget You ft. Rihanna

Teaming up with fellow superstar Rihanna, Shakira released this single as the first taste of her 10th studio album in 2014, the self-titled “Shakira”. Mixing rock and reggae, the song became another massive success for Shakira, helped in part by the draw of the two superstars joining forces. The music video drew some criticism for its sexual themes, which Shakira fiercely shot down, affirming that the song was all about empowerment.

She Wolf

The title song from Shakira’s third studio album in 2009, it tapped into the more sexual elements in Shakira’s work to portray a woman’s sexuality as a fierce, powerful, independent beast, able to stand on its own as more than just a pretty object. It reached the #4 spot on the official charts and was her 5th best selling song in the UK.
Beautiful Liar ft. Beyonce

As if Shakira herself wasn’t enough, in 2007 for “Beautiful Liar” she decided to join forces with the Queen B of pop, Beyonce. Together, these two titans of music, who had always been interested in working together, rose to the #1 spot, dominating the top of the charts while being nominated for a Grammy Award and an MTV Video Music Award.

2/4/2018 3:57:14 PM
<![CDATA[Zamfir masters legendary Umm Kulthum’s music in Cairo ]]>
Zamfir is the renowned author of many iconic movie soundtracks like “Once Upon A Time in America”, “Kill Bill” and “The Karate Kid” amongst others. His 160 International albums sold worldwide over 120 million copies and won 120 gold and platinum records.

Zamfir’s rose to stardom in the Western European countries through soloing in the original music for the western movie “Le Grand Blond Avec Une Chasseur Noire”.

He is known for playing an extended developed version of the traditional Romanian-style pan flute (nai) of 20 pipes to 22, 25, 28 and 30 pipes in order to increase its range, giving diverse tones from each pipe by changing the embouchure. Through loosening and contracting his embouchure, Zambia can produce nine tones from each pipe, according to Zambia’s biography on IMDb.

The living legend has been teaching pan flute in Bucharest for more than 10 years now. He also wrote an instructional book for the pan flute: "Traité Du Naï Roumain: Méthode de flûte de pan".

This performance is considered to be a world premier as it is an international honoring from the master of the pan flute Zamfir to the Middle East’s cultural icon Umm Kulthum, according to the official event’s description.

Umm Kulthum was not just an ordinary Egyptian singer who is known of her astonishing vocals, but she was one of the most illustrious Arab singers and public personalities in the 20th century due to her intellectuality and strong character.

She made the Arab world wait for her monthly concerts for many years. In these concerts she performed plentiful remarkable pieces which were also collaborations with the most prominent Arab musicians at that time such as the revered composer Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Wahhab.

It is worth mentioning that Zamfir has been to Cairo for two days last December to perform a concert under the title “Music against Cancer” in support of cancer patients, according to Zambia’s official page on Facebook.
2/4/2018 3:52:24 PM
<![CDATA[Queen Khentkaus: The Second Queen to rule Egypt independently ]]>
Considered the second Egyptian queen to rule Egypt independently, Queen Khentkaus I lived during the Fourth Dynasty, the Old Kingdom, according to researcher and author Ismail Hamed.

She was King Menkaure’s daughter, and she inherited the throne from her husband and half brother King Shepseskaf, according to prominent historian Selim Hassan.
During her reign, she carried a number of royal titles such as The Queen of Upper and Lower Egypt, God’s Daughter, and Royal Mother.

Queen Khentkaus from her tomb in Giza – Wikipedia/Jon Bodsworth

She later married one of the priests called Userkaf, who became the first king of the Fifth Dynasty. She delivered two sons to King Userkaf: Sahure and Neferirkare Kakai.

Following the tradition of Fourth Dynasty kings, Queen Khentkaus established a 35-meter tall pyramid for herself in Giza. She changed the architectural style of the pyramid though, according to Hassan.

Nearby the pyramid, Queen Khentkaus established a city for priests; in addition, she built a fence around the pyramid and its attachments.

2/4/2018 3:36:26 PM
<![CDATA[Uma Thurman details Weinstein 'attack']]>
Dozens of Hollywood women -– including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale and Salma Hayek -- have accused Weinstein of acts ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

The scandal touched off a deluge of allegations against powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media, forcing many industries to re-examine workplace policies.

Thurman, 47, told The New York Times in an interview published Saturday of two incidents in London that took place after the release of 1994's Oscar-winning "Pulp Fiction."

They followed an episode in Paris during which Thurman said Weinstein, dressed in a bathrobe, led her into a steam room during a meeting about a script.

In the first "attack," in Weinstein's suite at London's Savoy Hotel, "he pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things," she said.

Thurman said she took a friend with her to confront Weinstein not long after, but his assistants pressured her to meet him alone.

Thurman said she told Weinstein: "If you do what you did to me to other people you will lose your career, your reputation and your family, I promise you."

Weinstein told the paper "she very well could have said this."

- 'Don't deserve a bullet' -

Thurman's friend Ilona Herman, Robert De Niro's long-time makeup artist, recalled in the Times that the actress came out of that meeting "very disheveled and so upset."

Herman said Thurman told her that Weinstein had threatened to end her career.

Weinstein "acknowledges making an awkward pass 25 years ago at Ms Thurman in England after misreading her signals, after a flirtatious exchange in Paris, for which he immediately apologized and deeply regrets," his spokeswoman said in a statement received by AFP.

"However, her claims about being physically assaulted are untrue... Mr Weinstein is saddened and puzzled as to 'why' Ms Thurman, someone he considers a colleague and a friend, waited 25 years to make these allegations public."

Weinstein is reportedly in treatment for sexual addiction. Until now, he has insisted all his sexual encounters have been consensual.

His lawyer Ben Brafman said Weinstein was "stunned and saddened."

Thurman's comments to the Times "are being carefully examined and investigated before deciding whether any legal action against her would be appropriate," Brafman said in a statement received by AFP.

The actress had suggested mistreatment by Weinstein in an Instagram post last November when she said: "you don't deserve a bullet -- stay tuned."

In the Times interview, Thurman also accused director Quentin Tarantino -- who has often referred to her as his "muse" -- of forcing her to drive an unsafe car during filming of "Kill Bill," leading to a serious crash.

In footage posted by the Times, the actress is seen speeding down an unpaved road before crashing into a tree. Thurman is jolted and left dazed for several moments until crew members carry her away.

"I felt this searing pain and thought, 'Oh my God, I'm never going to walk again,'" she said.

"Quentin and I had an enormous fight, and I accused him of trying to kill me."

Tarantino did not respond to requests by the Times for comment.

- 'Broken tool' -

Miramax told her at the time that she could see the footage of the crash if she gave up her right to sue, Thurman said. She declined.

"When they turned on me after the accident," she said, "I went from being a creative contributor and performer to being like a broken tool."

Thurman said she has complex feelings about her experiences.

"The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about all the women that were attacked after I was," she told the Times.

"I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did."

But fellow actresses were quick to express support for Thurman on social media, with Reese Witherspoon describing her story as "deeply upsetting."

"Uma Thurman has seen the inside of our industry for 30yrs. I have great respect for her. She is a warrior," added Jessica Chastain.]]>
2/4/2018 2:01:30 PM
<![CDATA[All you need to know about Hetpet’s Tomb]]>CAIRO – 4 February 2018: An Old Kingdom tomb was discovered in the Western Cemetery located in the Pyramids area in Giza belonging to an ancient Egyptian woman named Hetpet, as announced on Saturday by the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany.

Anany explained that the tomb dates back to the Fifth Dynasty, about 4,400 years ago. “This is the first archaeological discovery in 2018 but it will not be the last, it is expected that we will announce a new archaeological discovery in the upcoming few weeks,” recounted Anany.

hetpet 1

An Egyptian archaeological mission led by Dr. Mostafa Waziry, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, has discovered the tomb during excavation works carried out in the Giza western cemetery, which houses tombs of the Old Kingdom’s top officials discovered by previous archaeological missions since 1842.

hetpet 2

Who is Hetpet?

Hetpet was a woman with a high social position in ancient times; a top official in the royal palace during the end of the Fifth Dynasty. Hetpet has a number of cognomens among which is the priest of the goddess Hathour.

Hathour is a pharaonic goddess who symbolizes the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. El Waziry announced that Hetpet played important roles at that time especially in the agricultural field.

hetpet 4

The architectural shape of Hetpet’s tomb

The newly discovered tomb of Hetpet has the architectural style and the decorative elements of the Fifth Dynasty with an entrance leading to an L-shaped shrine with a purification basin.

On its western rear end there is a rectangular arcade lined with incense and offering holders. There is also a naos with a yet missing statue of the tomb’s owner.
The tomb has very distinguished wall paintings in a well-conserved condition depicting Hetpet standing in different hunting and fishing scenes or sitting before a large offering table receiving offerings from her children.

“The tomb contains a group of dazzling inscriptions portraying rare amazing scenes like a monkey dancing in front of a complete musical troupe, a sailors’ fight, hunting birds, and fishing among others. All the inscriptions’ colors are very clear and bright,” El Waziry announced on Saturday.

Scenes of reaping fruits, melting metals and the fabrication of leather and papyri boats as well as musical and dancing performances are also shown on walls.
Among the most distinguished paintings in the tomb are those depicting two monkeys in two different positions.

Monkeys were domestic animals at the time. The first scene shows a monkey reaping fruits. Similar scenes are found in other tombs. The first one is painted on the wall of a 12th Dynasty tomb of Khnoum Hetep II in Beni Hassan in Minya Governorate and the second is found in an Old Kingdom tomb of Ka-Iber in Saqqara but it displays a dancing monkey in front of an instrumentalist not an orchestra.

hetpet 5

Anany elaborated on Saturday that the excavation work in this area started in October 2017 and will continue in 2018 under the supervision of Mostafa El Waziry, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Anany explained that the Western cemetery area was reserved for senior officials in the Pharaonic area. The famous Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass has previously discovered a group of ancient Egyptian tombs in this area.
2/4/2018 1:25:02 PM
<![CDATA[Adventure Club, finding soul in remixing]]>
The two DJs, Christian Srigley and Leighton James, couldn't hide their delight on a whirlwind trip to New York as they were nominated for their first Grammy for a rendition of singer Kehlani's "Undercover."

Swinging from solitary piano chords to robust synthesized effects, "Undercover" was in the running for Best Remixed Recording, a category previously won by DJ stalwarts such as Tiesto and David Guetta but which the duo acknowledged not everyone would understand.

"I don't want to say that there is a stigma, but when people think of remixing they maybe think that they're not putting in as much work," James said during an interview in the back of a car taking them through Manhattan from their hotel to the Canadian consulate's Grammy party, held in conjunction with the music industry's annual award showcase held January 28.

"Maybe they think we're taking something someone else did and just grabbing their coattails. I don't think that is ever how we feel," he said.

Adventure Club credits the musical culture of Montreal, including its scenes of dubstep and punk, with shaping the duo's sound beyond the standard electronic dance music, or EDM, so frequently heard at clubs and festivals.

Both members come from musical backgrounds, with Srigley playing guitar and James on keyboards. They often sing themselves or get out instruments as they record, not content just to manipulate sound files.

"That's what might help our tracks get a little more realness to them," Srigley said.

"And that's what we strive for, is for our songs to be more 'songs' and not 'EDM bangers.' We try to put a little more soul into our music," he said.

- 'A deeper experience' -

Filling clubs in recent years, Adventure Club, initially formed in 2011, has produced plenty of music whose deeper musicality may be lost on revelers.

But, James said, "we feel unsatisfied artistically if we're not bringing depth to our music.

"We're not looking for strictly one-dimensional emotional responses from our music. We're looking for a little bit more of a deeper experience," he said.

He sees their approach as different from producers whose first experience in music is EDM. "I guess if you're starting from the gate as an EDM producer, you use overprocessed sounds," he said.

Adventure Club ultimately was beaten for the Grammy by Latroit, a Detroit house producer who won for his remixing of synthpop pioneers Depeche Mode.

But the duo sees the nomination as a breakthrough in a field where selecting songs often requires exhaustive talks to receive legal permission.

"Looking for the next remix, I think, we'll have a lot of fun with it because it's going to be the sky's the limit," Srigley said.

2/4/2018 11:29:47 AM
<![CDATA[Del Toro wins top DGA prize for 'The Shape of Water']]>
The Mexican filmmaker was crowned best director for his Cold War-era fantasy romance "The Shape of Water," a month ahead of the glittering culmination of Hollywood's annual awards season.

The 53-year-old has already scooped a Golden Globe for directing the movie, starring Sally Hawkins as a janitor in a top secret government laboratory who falls in love with a mysterious merman-like sea creature.

"This movie particularly took me to do things I was very afraid of," Del Toro told fellow filmmakers at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

"It was a movie that was full of many reasons why it shouldn't work, and those are the reasons why it works."

A feature of speeches during the awards season has been defiant rejection of the culture of sexual harassment and gender inequality, and the DGAs were no different.

"What Harvey Weinstein ruined was robes. If I wear one now, my wife says 'ewww,'" quipped host Judd Apatow -- a reference to the mogul's habit of appearing before young actresses in his hotel room wearing only a bathrobe.

Dozens of Hollywood women -– including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale and Salma Hayek -- have accused Weinstein and numerous other powerful men of acts ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

- 'Grateful and proud' -

Comedian Amy Schumer said she was "so grateful and proud" of victims of sexual abuse who had spoken out, singling out "Kill Bill" actress Uma Thurman, who accused Weinstein in an interview published Saturday of attacking her and threatening her career.

Del Toro, who lives in Los Angeles, has alternated between big-budget Hollywood popcorn fare such as "Blade II" and more personal Spanish-language projects such as "Love Lies" (1989) and "Cronos" (1993).

Monsters and the supernatural have been a recurring theme of his movies, which include "Mimic" (1997), both "Hellboy" films and his 2006 masterpiece "Pan's Labyrinth."

"The Shape of Water" was nominated for seven Golden Globes in January, eventually taking home two, and was awarded best picture by the Producers Guild. It is up for 13 Oscars.

Alexandre Desplat, the movie's Oscar-winning composer, told AFP on the red carpet of his "amazing relationship" with Del Toro, describing the director as "so generous, passionate, and inspiring."

Del Toro edged out Christopher Nolan, nominated for World War II thriller "Dunkirk" -- another film seen as a top contender for Oscar glory on March 4.

The DGA Awards are seen as a reliable bellwether of Academy Awards success -- particularly the best director prize, as 13 of the last 14 winners went on to win the Oscar for best director.

- 'When everything aligns' -

Presenters at Saturday's star-studded event for 1,600 guests included Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Kevin Bacon, Allison Janney and Damien Chazelle, who won the top prize at the last ceremony.

The other nominees for best director were Greta Gerwig for coming-of-age story "Lady Bird," Martin McDonagh for dark crime comedy "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," and Jordan Peele for racial satire "Get Out."

Peele walked away with a medallion for best first-time feature, and said the reaction to the movie had made for "the best year of my life, hands down."

"The fact that I had never seen a film that addresses the fears of the modern African-American experience was a signal to me that the conversation about race was broken," he said.

On a night of expressions of solidarity for women, Reed Morano was a popular winner in the dramatic series category for directing "Offred," an episode of Hulu's dystopian sci-fi series "The Handmaid's Tale," about the subjugation of women in a totalitarian near future.

"They were trying to get this show made for a long time, like way before we knew what the political climate was going to be," she told AFP.

"It is just a very odd moment. In this business things don't get going right when you want them to, they get going when everything aligns."

2/4/2018 11:23:28 AM
<![CDATA[Pianist Farouk pays tribute to Brahms at Cairo Opera House]]>
Farouk will perform Brahms’ second concerto for the piano and orchestra, the piece is considered as one of his most remarkable compositions ever. Some well known compositions such as Beethoven’s Opening Ceremony piece and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony will also be featured in the concert.

Brahms has made a clear mark in the history of classical music, as he is considered the great master of the Symphonic and Sonata styles in the 19th century; he also composed choral pieces, chamber music and over 200 songs.

The great German composer was taught the piano by his father when he was seven years old, his great potential as a pianist led him to know the violinist Joseph Joachim who introduced him the iconic classical composer Robert Schumann who believed in his talent and encouraged him to reach his best.

Brahms was strongly influenced by Beethoven as he studied the science of music theory through Beethoven’s pieces. The influence appeared clearly in his first symphony as it was criticized to the extent that it has been named Beethoven’s 10th symphony. However, he later proved that he can compose master pieces entirely removed from any former compositions. His most remarkable pieces are “The Hungarian Dance” and “Brahms Lullaby” beside the symphonies and piano concertos.

Wael Farouk who’s the featured artist in the event is one of the most prestigious piano players in Egyptian music history; he studied music at Egypt’s Conservatoire from the age of seven, before he earned his PHD degree from the Chicago musical college in the United States. He has collaborated with many international orchestras as a piano soloist such as the Manhattan Orchestra as well as touring and performing in many countries such as England, France and Japan.

The leader of the Cairo symphonic orchestra Ahmed el-Saaedy also is one of the most important maestros in Egypt today; he studied music and orchestral leading in the Vienna Music Academy, and his international debut was in 1982 by conducting the Slovakian Chamber Orchestra at place in the Wiener Konzerthaus in Vienna. Since then el-Saaedy’s skill has been recognized and he has led many orchestras in many countries. He has also composed symphonies that differentiate themselves from the crowd by blending the western classical music style with the oriental style.
2/4/2018 11:11:18 AM
<![CDATA[Safarkhan Gallery to exhibit Ramzi Mostafa’s artwork]]>
The gallery promises to pay homage to Mostafa’s legacy as an appreciation for the art of one of the most talented and impactful artists in the past few decades.

exhibition, Contemplation, Contemporary Art, colors, architecture

Mostafa’s contemporary art combines the elegance of European masters with a distinctive oriental and specifically Egyptian impression.

Throughout his whole artistic journey, Mostafa insisted on constantly presenting to the world of art singular, momentous pieces to avoid repetition or monotone. This made him flourish with a fresh assortment of diverse paintings, sculptures and compositional works.

Producing an extraordinary collection of water color paintings, he often fused various ideas together, especially ancient civilization and religion. Through his additions in the world of pharaonic art and architecture, he succeeded in portraying Egypt’s history in a novel way.

Known for his own vivid illustrations and shapes, he followed diverse techniques through which he blended the rainbow tones together, offering an effortlessly natural definition to the Egyptian art.

In an extremely successful attempt, Mostafa captured Cairo’s chaotic and disorderly charm on blank canvas, offering a concrete impression of its cityscapes.

Also worth mentioning, Mostafa was a memorable guest of honor showing at the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo in 1996. His art has witnessed noticeable international exposure as his work toured the world participating in many contemporary art exhibitions in Florence, Bologna and Vienna. ]]>
2/3/2018 6:44:07 PM
<![CDATA[Balleto Del Sud to stage for the first time in Egypt]]>
Balleto Del Sud have worked alongside the Italian Ministry of Culture and Heritage since 1999. Over the years they have built a great reputation because of their consistently successful performances and talented team. They have also organized and participated in many activities and artistic projects including a theater school, which aims to train 3000 students annually.

Balleto Del Sud crew - Cairo Opera House

Their vision is focused on presenting their traditional arts all over the world, from the Alps to the Pyramids. They also aim to create a dialogue between civilizations and an exchange of cultures between Mediterranean countries and rest of Europe.

“Sleeping Beauty” is one of the most famous classical works that revolves around a little princess who a wicked witch manages to kill at the age of sixteen through an enchanted sewing needle. Despite the precautions of her father, the king, the trick succeeds and the girl dies immediately. However, some fairies transform her death into a long sleep, which lasts until the young prince defeats the witch and saves her.

Balleto Del Sud crew - Cairo Opera House

It is noteworthy that the ballet version of the sleeping beauty tale was introduced for the first time in 1890 at the Maranskie Theater in St. Petersburg and is one of the most important works of Tchaikovsky Ballet.

Balleto Del Sud crew - Cairo Opera House
2/3/2018 5:26:10 PM
<![CDATA[Lady Gaga forced to cancel 10 concerts due to serious pain]]>CAIRO – 3 February 2018: Lady Gaga has been forced to cancel the last 10 concerts of her world tour in Europe and South America following a bout of serious pain caused by a chronic health disease, fibromyalgia.

The 31-year-old superstar first announced that she was suffering from the illness back in September as part of a documentary titled "Gaga: Five Foot Two", which was released on Netflix in the USA on September 22.

A statement on Gaga's official Twitter account had her apologize to her fans, which comes just days after her last performance in Birmingham. In her statement, Gaga wrote, "I am so devastated, I don't even know how to describe it. All I know is if I don't do this, I am not standing by the words or the meaning of my music. My medical team is supporting my decision to recover at home."

Among the cities Gaga was due to perform in are London, Manchester, Zurich, Koln, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin and Rio. At the end of her statement, Gaga promised to one day return to Rio after her condition improves.

"I need to put myself and my well-being first. I love you," she signed off to her many fans.

This is not the first time Gaga's condition has interfered with her plans. Last September, Gaga was forced to cancel a tour in Rio de Janeiro following a flare up of "severe physical pain," USA Today reported.

A statement posted by Live Nation, the promoter of Gaga's tour, echoed the sentiments of the singer's Twitter post.

Fibromyalgia is a poorly-understood chronic musculoskeletal disorder that causes muscle pain, alongside other symptoms such as poor memory and concentration, insomnia, constant fatigue and headaches. While there is no cure, treatments can help alleviate much of the symptoms.
2/3/2018 4:38:35 PM
<![CDATA[Remembering the iconic Umm Kulthum]]>
More than three decades after her death, Umm Kulthum remains beloved across the Arab world. Umm Kulthum's voice was quickly identified as unique, strong and vibrant and instantly recognizable.

Her famous songs include: “Enta Omri” (You are the love of my life), “Al Atlal” (The ruins), “El hobb Kolloh” (all the love), “Ya Zalemeny” (You were unjust to me), “Ya Mesharany” (You keep me awake all night), “Hayart Albi Ma’ak” (You confused my heart) amongst others.

In 1944, Umm Kulthum was granted the highest level of Order of the Virtues, ‘Nishan el-Kamal,’ by King Farouk. After Egypt’s 1952 Revolution, the new military leadership attempted to prevent her from singing because of the award, but Gamal Abdel Nasser, a fan of Umm Kulthum, intervened and reversed the decision.

After the 1967 War, in which Israel occupied parts of Egypt, Umm Kulthum composed a series of nationalistic songs that fueled nationalism and pan-Arab sentiment. She also gave many performances in various Arab countries to raise money for the Egyptian army.

Umm Kulthum still lives on in the hearts of all her fans and her brilliant voice still rings in their ears. Her fans gave her the title Kawakab Al-Sharq (Star of the East). Umm Kulthum was considered the greatest Arab singer of the 20th century.

Her valuable belongings and old records and tapes were moved to the Umm Kulthum museum at Manasterli palace in December 2001. The museum is wonderful tribute to the singers life.

Umm Kulthum’s spirit is felt in every corner. People have reported hearing her voice in the museum despite none of her songs being played at the time. Only there, can one know the story of this dazzling Egyptian woman sticking to her silk scarf, which she could never do without during performances.

Umm Kulthum died on February 3, 1975, after more than a decade of health problems.
2/3/2018 4:32:46 PM
<![CDATA[The Day the Music Died]]>CAIRO – 3 February 2018: On February 3, 1959, three musicians, 22 year old rising star Buddy Holly, 17 year old heartthrob Richie Valens, and J.P "The Big Bopper" Richardson took a private plane from Clear Lake, Iowa to the next stop on their tour, .

Unfortunately, none of the three passengers or their pilot, Roger Peterson, made it to their destination in Fargo, North Dakota; the plane crashed not long after take-off, killing everyone on-board. The incident had come to be known as "The Day the Music Died."

Holly, born on September 7, 1936 in Texas, was responsible for hits such as "Peggy Sue". He would prove to be a massive influence on early Rock 'n' Roll, even opening for Elvis Presley in 1955. He had a bright, gleaming future ahead of him prior to his unfortunate fate, and could have been destined for even greater things.

His unfortunate partners were Valens, who, though not even 18 yet, had already managed to win hearts all over the nation with "Donna" and "La Bamba"; and "The Big Bopper", a Texas DJ and songwriter responsible for "Chantilly Lace". The three had come together to form the "Winter Dance Party" tour, a 24-day event spanning 24 towns, which Holly saw as his way out of bankruptcy following his break with his former band, "The Crickets", in November of the previous year.

They had been on the eleventh night of their tour when Holly, fed up with the poor state of his tour bus and how tired they are all, thought up an idea to hire a private plane to get them to their next stop as quickly as possible. That way, they could all get some much needed rest after finishing their tour early. He hired a young pilot, Peterson, who had just finished up a 17 hour ride but couldn't turn down a chance to fly a star such as Holly.
Originally, Holly's bass player, Waylon Jennings, was supposed to be part of the flight, but he gave up his seat to The Big Bopper due to a cold. Meanwhile, Holly's guitarist, Tommy Allsup, flipped a coin with Valens to decide who would get on board. Valens won the bet, and the three musicians had sealed their fate.

Their pilot, Peterson, had never been alerted on the fact that there was a blizzard oin their flight path. The plane crashed minutes after take-off in a cornfield in Iowa, with the bodies of the three singers thrown out of the plane into the field while Peterson remained in the wreckage. They laid exposed to the elements for 10 hours, covered by the raging snow.

When their deaths were reported on the news, Holly's pregnant wife reportedly had such a nervous breakdown that she lost their baby, while Holly's mother collapsed into a screaming mess. Holly was buried on February 7, with thousands of mourners attending the service at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Texas.

The tragedy would go down in history as one of the saddest events in the history of Rock 'n' Roll. The three musicians were first honored in a song by Eddie Cochran titled "Three Stars", recorded but a day after their deaths. Later, Don McLean with his 1972 song "American Pie", dubbed the tragedy as "The Day the Music Died", defining it as an event that changed America forever.

In a strange turn of events, Holly's song "It Doesn’t Matter Anymore" became a huge success just a month after his death. Valens and Holly both got films made about their lives, 1987's "La Bamba" and 1978's "The Buddy Holly Story" respectively, while Richardson left behind a wife, daughter and son born just after the crash, who grew up to honor his father by becoming Big Bopper Jr., performing until his death in 2013.

2/3/2018 4:09:57 PM
<![CDATA[New tomb discovered to an Ancient Egyptian woman named Hetpet]]>

Anany added that Hetpet is expected to have been a woman with a high social position in ancient times. Hetpet has number of cognomens from them is the Priest of the goddess Hathour.

Hathour is a pharaonic goddess who symbolizes the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. Anany elaborated that the excavation work in this area started in October 2017 and will continue in 2018 under the supervision of Mostafa El Waziry the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

El Waziry announced that Hetpet played important roles at that time especially in the agricultural field.

“The tomb contains a group of dazzling inscriptions portraying rare amazing scenes like a monkey dancing in front of a complete musical troupe, a sailors’ fight, hunting birds, and fishing among others. All the inscriptions colors are very clear and bright,” El Waziry announced.

Anany explained that the tomb dates back to the Fifth Dynasty from about 4,400 years ago. “This is the first archeological discovery in 2018 but it will not be the last, it is expected that we will announce a new archeological discovery in the upcoming few weeks,” recounted Anany.

Anany explained that the Western cemetery area was reserved for senior officials in the pharaonic area. The famous Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass has previously discovered a group of ancient Egyptian tombs in this area.

2/3/2018 1:49:45 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Azbakeya at CIB, a magnificent world of books ]]>
Soor al-Azbekaya is a place that offers a world of books in various fields; from academic, literature, politics, to self-development amongst many other specializations. The collections also include both rare books that are no longer in print and new books with affordable prices unmatched by most modern bookshops.

Once you step your feet in the Azbakeya area, you will find Hamada al-Saeedi standing in front of his booth and shouting out: “The most expensive book here is for 10 LE.” In this booth, one can easily find important books in miscellaneous fields for 2 or 3 LE.

Books about prominent Egyptian rulers such as Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat and Gamal Abdel Nasser written by witnesses from these eras such as Moussa Sabry, an Egyptian editorialist and former confidant of President Sadat, are available too.

If you are a fan of the western literature, you will find significant novels such as the political “Animal Farm” and “1984” both by George Orwell as well as “The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins for low prices of between 25 or 30 LE.

Abd el-Tawab Saeed, owner of “Ekraa” (Read), a bookshop in Al-Sayeda Zainab, told Egypt today that the most special thing about Soor al-Azbakeya’s presence at the book fair is the diversity of books available, satisfying the needs of all kind of readers.

Many booths at Azabkeya specialize in selling only second hand books, meaning some true rarities can be found. At “Awlad Abdo” (Abdo’s Sons) you can find an exceptional collection of Russian literature; which, as Mohammed Hassan, a vendor there, told Egypt Today is almost available nowhere else. This collection includes some selected volumes for one of the greatest writers in history, the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov.

Politics, economics and religion are also well represented at the Azebkeya area of the fair, there are some substantial pickups from Mao Zedong, a Chinese communist revolutionary and political theorist, and from Al-Qurtubi a famous Islamic mufassir.

With his long experience as a bookselling, Hassan said that there are some readers who usually prefer reading historical books in their old dusty original editions. He showed us a vintage copy of the well known book “Capital” by the renowned German philosopher, economist, historian and political theorist Karl Marx.

Vintage copy for the “Capital” by Karl Marx - Mira Maged

Also, if you are a vintage magazine and newspapers collector, you shouldn’t miss out the numerous editions that have released over 80 years ago for 2 or 3 LE, there.

Rare old newspaper editions - Mira Maged

As Egypt Today has previously reported, the 49th round of the Cairo International Book Fair (CIBF) has witnessed a massive turnout on Friday, up to 400,000 visitors, bringing the total number to 2.5 million during the fair’s first week, according to Haitham al-Hajj Ali, the head of the General Egyptian Book Organization.

2/3/2018 1:29:09 PM
<![CDATA[Dennis Edwards, a lead voice of The Temptations, dead at 74]]>
A representative for his management company, 21st Century Artists, confirmed his death without providing details.

Baritone Otis Williams -- The Temptations' sole surviving original member, who had at times clashed with Edwards -- said he was "very sad" at the passing of "our brother."

"We acknowledge his extraordinary contribution to The Temptations legacy, which lives on in the music. Temptations Forever," Williams wrote on Facebook.

By the time Edwards joined in 1968, The Temptations were already major stars with hits such as "My Girl," and were known for layered vocal harmonies as well as their finely choreographed stage moves in their dapper suits.

But original frontman David Ruffin was increasingly annoying his bandmates and management with his lavish lifestyle, including insisting on limousines and developing an addiction to cocaine -- which would later contribute to his death in 1991.

Edwards, who had gained notice as the singer of another Motown group, The Contours, recalled that Ruffin, a friend, knocked on his door at 4:00 am and asked him to replace him.

"I was like, 'Wow, replace you?' It was quite the conversation we had. I thought he was joking. He was a little tipsy," Edwards recalled in a 2013 interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

- 'Timing and practice' -

Edwards said he initially did not believe he could keep up with The Temptations' fast footwork.

"But once I got into the group, I learned it was timing and practice, and choreography to make it look like it was really difficult," he said.

Edwards, whose voice possessed a similar wide range but was gruff compared with Ruffin's silkier texture, initially was quite literally in the shadow of his predecessor.

Ruffin would show up unannounced at Temptations concerts and jump on stage to join, leading the band to alert security to keep him away.

Along with "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," Edwards led The Temptations on hits such as "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" and "I Can't Get Next to You."

Starting with "Cloud Nine," Edwards' first single with The Temptations, the Motown band began to experiment, bringing in some of the psychedelic soul and funk of rising bands such as Sly and the Family Stone.

Frictions again rose as producers pushed Edwards' voice to the forefront of the group.

He left in 1977 but returned three years later. He also pursued a solo career but without reaching the same stardom as with The Temptations.]]>
2/3/2018 12:41:27 PM
<![CDATA[Queen Tuya: wife of King Seti I, mother of King Ramses II ]]>
Queen Tuya lived in the 19th dynasty era, New Kingdom of ancient Egypt. She was a member of a noble family as Queen Tuya’s father was one of the high ranked militarily leaders called Raia, and her mother called Ruyya, according to researcher and author Ismail Hamed.

scene rana
A Scene of Queen Tuya – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

She got married to King Seti I who ruled Egypt for more than 10 years, and he was one of the strongest kings in the history of Egypt. The ancient Egyptian sources did not record any wives of King Seti I except Queen Tuya. She also carried a number of titles such as the King’s wife, and the King’s mother.

Queen Tuya delivered four children to King Seti I, two daughters Henutmire and Tia, and two sons, Nebchasetnebet and Ramses II. After the death of her first son Prince Nebchasetnebet, King Seti I appointed his son Ramses II as the crown prince and his chosen successor.

rana statue
A Statue of Queen Tuya – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

During Ramses II reign, Queen Tuya had a high respected rank in the court because she was the mother of the king. Her images and statues were found in a number of temples such as Ramesseum temple, and Abydos Temple. She died in the 22th year during Ramses II reign at the age of 60.

2/3/2018 12:31:20 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt sees massive turnout in 49th round of CIBF]]>
The high number of visitors to this year’s edition of the Cairo Book Fair is the largest of its kind, so far, compared to previous rounds, as 1 million people visited the event in its first seven days during the 2017 edition while less than 1 million visitors were recorded in 2016, thus making it one of the most alluring of Cairo book fairs.

The 49th round of CIBF was officially opened to visitors on January 27 and will last till February 10. The fair’s management expects to welcome 5 million visitors this year. Ministers of Military Production, Youth and Sports, Communications, and Local Development, intellectuals and media figures have attended the inauguration.

This year’s special guest of honor is Algeria, with 848 publishers from 27 countries, including 15 from the Arab world, two Africans and 10 from various countries. The publishers included 481 Egyptians, 367 from the Arab world, two Africans and 10 international publishers.

The 2016 edition saw a record number of participating publishers totaling 850 from 34 countries. In 2017, there were a total of 670 publishers, including 451 Egyptians, 200 Arabs, 13 international and six from African countries.

The 49th edition hosted some new activities for the first time, such as theater and cinema shows, and fine arts exhibitions, in addition to increasing the number of children books.

CIBF is the largest and oldest book market in the Arab world and the second largest worldwide after Germany's Frankfurt Book Fair.

Participant states included China, Russia, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and others featured interesting shows and various cultural activities during the fair, attracting numerous audiences of all ages.

Al Azhar – Sunni Islam's most prestigious institution – also took part in the fair for the second year running. Its participation aimed to communicate with all society to inform them on its efforts to achieve peace and combat extremism and terrorism and also to brief them on the issue of Jerusalem.

Since its establishment in 1969, the CIBF has been regarded as one of the largest book fairs in the world, drawing hundreds of book sellers and average 2 million visitors every year.
2/3/2018 2:50:08 AM
<![CDATA[Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman]]>
Hoffman was born on July 23, 1967, in Rochester, New York, second amongst four children. His interest in acting began early, after his mother would take little Hoffman out to see the local theatrical plays. After seeing a performance of “All My Sons” at the age of 12, Hoffman felt he'd had a life changing experience; a taste of a higher reality that he never dreamed was possible.

His future had been set.

In High School, after failing at athletics, Hoffman took up acting classes, and when he was 17 got accepted into the New York State Summer School of the Arts. He then finished studying acting at the New York University, which he graduated in from at 1989.

Hoffman's film career started with 1991's “Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole”, an indie-film directed by Amos Poe following a couple who spend their days robbing golfers. While Hoffman's role was no more than five minutes, his acting had been praised as the highlight of this otherwise obscure film.

His roles would quickly grow grander, starting with 1992's “Scent of a Woman”, where he acted alongside Hollywood legend Al Pacino and Chris O'Donnell and portrayed an antagonistic prep-school student. Proving himself as a supporting actor worth having, Hoffman found himself in various film roles throughout the 90s, including the 1996 disaster movie “Twister”, the 1997 porn industry drama “Boogie Nights”, and even the critically acclaimed comedy “The Big Lebowski”.

Hoffman's unique talents came from how deeply he felt every role he played. He combined what was familiar to what was strange. Film acting wasn't enough for him; Hoffman was also active in on stage, especially notable for his 2000 performance in Broadway's “True West”, where he alternated a lead role alongside John C. Reily, earning both actors a Tony Award Nomination.

Come 2005 and Hoffman had a breakout role with “Capote”, a biopic drama film based on the life of author Truman Capote. He spent four months researching for the role, which he first hesitated to take, though his hard work proved itself after the film won him his first, and sadly, only Oscar award.

Another major role came in 2008, in the bizarre post-modern drama film “Synecdoche, New York”, where he played a theatre director who watches his life fall apart while he sets out to create the grandest play of his career. Given Hoffman's experiences with the stage, it is a film so perfectly fitted to him it is impossible to imagine any other lead.

That same year also saw Hoffman star in another Oscar-nominated role, this time as a supporting actor in “Charlie Wilson's War”. A year later, his performance in “Doubt” as a priest accused of pedophilia earned him his second Oscar nomination, and his final one came in 2012's ‘The Master”, where he played a cult leader.

An ode to his incredible range, Hoffman even starred in the Hunger Games franchise, starting with 2013's “Catching Fire”, but his unfortunate death a year later led to complications regarding his scenes in “Mockingjay – Part 2”. Through careful discretion, his scenes managed to remain in the movie without disrupting the plot.

Hoffman is survived by his wife, costume designer Mimi O'Donnell and three children.

2/2/2018 7:00:03 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Archaeologists start scanning King Tut’s burial chamber]]>
The archaeologists are using ground-penetrating radar in order to verify the existence of empty spaces or corridors behind the walls of King Tut’s burial chamber. The young King was buried inside KV62 tomb in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor.

The tomb that hosts plenty of treasures was discovered in 1922. British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves announced in 2015 that the photos and scans of the tomb’s northern wall seemed to suggest the presence of a hidden chamber.

Reeves claimed that this concealed chamber might contain the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, the wife of King Akhenaton who was Tutankhamen’s father.

“Proving Reeves’ theory would be like winning the lottery,’’ the leader of the investigation Professor Franco Porcelli of the Politecnico university in Turin, Italy, told La Repubblica newspaper.

In November, 2017 the ScanPyramids project announced the discovery of a large void in the Great Pyramid of Giza using muography. This discovery was the first major inner structure found in the Great Pyramid since the nineteenth century.

Tutankhamun was born in the 18th dynasty around 1341 B.C., and was the 12th Pharaoh of that period. He was put on the throne when he was but a small child, and Egypt’s prosperous era was beginning to decline with the rise of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his new cult.

Akhenaten ordered the destruction of numerous statues of Amun and shut down various temples, demanding that the people of Egypt now worship the sun god Aten. He had even ordered a move of Egypt’s capital away from the rich waters of the Nile in order to construct a brand new city for him, out in the harsh desert. Suffice to say, Akhenaten was not popular.

Tutankhamun took his place as Pharoah immediately after Akhenaten’s death, despite the fact that Tut was only eight years old. There was much doubt about how a child could lead Egypt, and most of the work was done by the boy king’s court of royal advisors. His original name was not, in fact, Tutankhamun; originally Tutankhaten, meaning “the living image of Aten”, the boy changed his name to “living image of Amun,” or “Tutankhamun”.

This was a sign that as Pharaoh he was interested in undoing the damage Akhenaten had done, and return to the old ways. Examination of Tut’s mummy showed since that he suffered from malaria, which likely contributed to his untimely demise following a fall that broke his leg. Tutankhamen only ruled Egypt for a short decade before his death.

His early death took Ancient Egypt by surprise, and a tomb had not been prepared for him beforehand. Experts believe that Tutankhamun was simply buried in a tomb that had already belonged to another Pharoah, possibly queen Nefertiti, as his tomb was amongst the smallest found. Tutankhamun was eventually forgotten by the people of Egypt, and the sands swallowed up his grave in the Valley of Kings.

November 4 is King Tutankhamun day, named after the day his tomb was first discovered in 1922 in the Valley of Kings, leading to a monumental excavation of one of the world’s most famous historical figures.
2/2/2018 3:45:16 PM
<![CDATA[J.J. Abrams to produce new TV series, 'Demimonde' ]]>CAIRO – 2 February 2018: J.J. Abrams, director of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and the hit creator of “Lost” will be returning to TV with a new science-fiction drama on HBO called “Demimonde”.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO dubs the series as an "epic and intimate sci-fi fantasy drama." The show is a family drama involving a scientist mother, her husband and their young daughter. When the mother is left in a coma following a traumatic car accident, her daughter goes through her scientific experiments and finds herself warped into another world, with her father having to go in and get her back. There they must face the evil, monstrous force ruling this strange new world.

A prolific writer-director-producer, Abrams’ last foray into television writing was with the sci-fi mystery “Fringe”, which ended back in 2013. Having worked as a producer for the series “Westworld” on HBO, the premium cable network saw it a good chance to bet on a show helmed by Abrams, though it didn't come easily; Apple was also interested in pursuing the rights for “Demimonde”, but HBO was the one who eventually emerged victorious in the bidding war.

Outside of “Fringe” and “Lost”, Abrams was also the creator of shows such as “Felicity” and “Alias”, and recently has worked as executive producer for various other series, ranging from Showtime's “Roadies”, CBS's “Person of Interest”, the Hulu miniseries “11.22.63” and the anthology “Castle Rock”, based on the works of horror master Stephen King. Abrams’ shift away from Television recently was due to his focus on the big screen, being responsible for helping reboot the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, alongside creating the “Cloverfield” films. Abrams is also currently working on a new Star Trek movie to be directed by Quentin Tarantino.

“Demimonde” will be produced by Bad Robot Productions, Abrams' production company, in association with Warner Bros Television and HBO. With the final season of HBO's mega-hit “Game of Thrones” slated for a 2019 release, “Demimonde's” potentially epic scope may help to serve as a potential replacement, at least until more “Game of Throne” spinoffs get underway.
2/2/2018 3:31:50 PM
<![CDATA[Newly discovered dinosaur indicates link between Africa, Europe]]>
In cooperation with Ohio University, the Leakey Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the National Science Foundation, the research team has conducted intensive studies on the fossil to discover its species.

They found out that the species, named Mansourasaurus shahinae, belongs to a dinosaur group called the Titanosaurs that mostly lived in southern Europe and eastern Asia. It dates back to 100 between 66 million years ago from the late cretaceous era in Egypt, according to a study published on January 29, 2018, in the renowned scientific journal “Nature”.

The team is comprised of the head of the research team and the center Hesham Sallam, founder of MUVP and associate professor at the department of Geology of Mansoura University; Sanaa el-Sayed, demonstrator at the Faculty of Science of Mansoura University and a trainee at the center; Mai el-Amir, MA student at Mansoura University; Iman el-Dawoudi, a demonstrator at Mansoura University and Sara Saber, a demonstrator at Assiut University and Farahat Ibrahim, MA student at Mansoura University.

History of dinosaurs in Egypt

During the cretaceous era, Egypt’s Western Desert was one of the most fertile areas in the region and attracted many organisms including dinosaurs.

After doing extensive studies, the team discovered a link between Mansourasaurus and a European dinosaur, indicating the possibility of the presence of a bridge that linked Africa and Europe millions of years ago.

This is one of the reasons as to why this discovery is particually significant; a land bridge between Europe and Africa is plausable because scientists believe that there was no land link from northern Asia and Europe to the southern bloc which modern day Africa was a part of.

“[It] offer[s] the most robust support to date of non-marine vertebrate dispersal between Africa and Europe,” according to an article published on January 29 by the Nature Ecology and Evolution website.

An artist's reconstruction of the Mansourasaurus shahinae - Carnegie Museum of Natural History / Andrew McAfee

Speaking to Egypt Today, a team member Sanaa el-Sayed explains more details about the discovery and how the study of vertebrate paleontology works in Egypt.

In the below lines, the transcript of the interview

Could you tell us more about the process of the discovery?

Well, we are a research team at the Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology center (MUVP). We have been excavating for dinosaurs’ fossils since 2008 in Sahara Desert oases particularly; we know that this region has lots of vertebrate fossils such as whales, dinosaurs etc. So, we have travelled a lot to this region in the recent years to excavate for these fossils until we found Mansourasaurus in 2013. It was the first time for us to find a nearly total skeleton of a dinosaur. At first, we did not recognize its genus. We started extracting it in March 2014. From 2014 to 2018, we have worked on preparing the samples for the study. It is considered a noteworthy discovery as this genus is very rare across world, and it is the most complete terrestrial vertebrate discovered in Africa.

Which parts of the dinosaur’s skeleton did you find? And are there any missing parts?

The scientists found parts of its skull, lower jaw, neck and back vertebrae, ribs, shoulder and forelimb, back foot and osteoderms, which were enough to help us draw the imaginative image of the dinosaur and help us to know its genus.

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Skeletal reconstruction of the new titanosaurian dinosaur Mansourasaurus found in Egypt. Bones shown in color are those that are preserved in the original fossil; other bones are based on those of closely related dinosaurs - Carnegie Museum of Natural History / Andrew McAfee

What techniques have you used to study this discovery?

To extract the fossils, we have used very simple tools such as digging materials including a geology hammer and a certain kind of tincture to protect the fossil from breaking up. To carry the fossils and transfer them to Mansoura University for the study, the fossil’s parts are wrapped in gypsum and a piece of cloth. Although they are primitive tools, they are the most suitable tools to extract fossils and are used across world not only in Egypt.

Upon transferring the fossil to the center, we use CT scans at the university’s hospital with its plaster jacket of gypsum to compare the bones’ shape to those of other species. So, we later found out that it is compliment to the species of Mansourasaurus based on the shape of its bones.

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The research team at Mansoura University Vertebrate Paleontology center (MUVP) uses very simple tools such as digging materials including a geology hammer and a tincture to protect the fossil from breaking up - Mansoura University

After studying it, will it be moved to a museum?

No, actually it will remain at the paleontology center.

Where is the paleontology headed to in the future in Egypt?

Paleontology is very famous science in Egypt and there are many professors specialized in this field, yet vertebrate paleontology such as whales and dinosaurs is at its first phase in Egypt and we do not have many professors specialized in this field. The highest science degree in vertebrate fossils in Egypt is done by Dr. Hesham Sallam.

Does this mean that we will find more vertebrate fossils in the future?

Of course, Egypt is rich with vertebrate fossils not only dinosaurs, but also mammals and many other kinds of vertebrate animals.

Did you try to dig for more fossils in other governorates?

Yes, we usually excavate for fossils in Fayoum, the Western Desert and in southern regions such as Dakhla and the Kharga Oasis. These are the places where most of fossils in Egypt can be found.

Most of the team are composed of girls, what are the challenges have you faced?

At the beginning, whether me or the other girls in the team found it difficult in convincing our parents to go to the desert to excavate for fossils, but when they find how much we love the work they allow us. When I decided to enter this field, I did not think about society not accepting it until people begin to be astonished upon hearing about my work. Also, many student girls at the university told me that they wish to follow my steps, yet their parents do not allow them. Since then, I have valued what I do and my parents’ encouragement.]]>
2/2/2018 2:20:25 PM
<![CDATA[Malaysia bans Bollywood film over negative portrayal of Muslim ruler]]>
The film has already attracted protests in India, after groups critical of the project accused its director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, of distorting history by portraying the Muslim ruler as the “lover” of Queen Padmavati of the Hindu Rajput warrior clan.

Last month, India’s top court allowed the film to be screened nationwide, despite moves to ban it in two states.

But in Muslim-majority Malaysia, authorities have instead rejected the portrayal of Sultan Alauddin Khilji and banned the film.

“He is portrayed as a Sultan who is arrogant, cruel, inhumane, devious with all kinds of trickery, unreliable and who does not fully practice Islamic teachings,” the ministry said in a statement.

Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board ruled that the movie was “not approved for screening”, while an appeal lodged by the film’s distributors was rejected on Tuesday, the ministry said.

Bollywood films are popular in Malaysia, where ethnic Indians make up seven percent of the country’s 32 million people.

Malaysia has previously blocked the release of Hollywood movies deemed religiously insensitive, such as 1998’s “The Prince of Egypt”, which depicted the Biblical story of Moses, and 1995’s “Babe”, which featured a pig as the main character. Muslims consider pigs unclean.]]>
2/2/2018 1:52:16 PM
<![CDATA[Time to explore world after acting, triple Oscar winner Day-Lewis says]]>
“If I knew the answer I would probably avoid trying to answer it anyway, but as it happens I can’t answer the question,” Day-Lewis told reporters in Athens ahead of the screening of his final film “Phantom Thread.”

Day-Lewis, 60, the only man to have won three lead actor Oscars, shocked the film world in June by announcing, without explanation, that he was retiring as an actor.

His decision came after he finished filming Phantom Thread, a dark romance set in 1950s postwar London which took Director Paul Thomas Anderson two years to research and write.

“I don’t fully understand it but it came to me with a sense of conviction and so I choose to move forward in acceptance of that rather than struggling with it,” he said.

The British actor, whose career has won him best actor Oscars for roles as a paraplegic Irish writer in “My Left Foot” (1989), a greedy early 20th century oil baron in “There Will Be Blood” (2007), and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln” (2013), described acting as a sanctuary that “in a way, saved me from myself when I was a kid.”

“But I just feel it’s time to explore the world in a different way now,” he said.

In Phantom Thread, which if he stays true to his word will be his swan song, Day-Lewis plays a self-centered fashion designer whose world is turned upside down when his muse falls in love with him. He studied with designers for months to immerse himself into the character.

“I‘m only learning by speaking to people that apparently I’ve been playing an absolute prick in this film and I‘m really sorry to hear that, because, who thinks of themselves in that way?”

Phantom Thread has been nominated for six Oscars, including best picture, best actor and best director.

Competing against Day-Lewis will be Gary Oldman, who has also been nominated for best actor for portraying Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”. The role earned Oldman the award for best actor at the Golden Globes.

Does thinking about winning take up much of Day-Lewis’ time? “Take a guess,” he quipped.

“I‘m perfectly happy to do the rounds and applaud Gary at every event I go to,” he said. “Gary has done very fine work for many years and he’s been recognized for it now so I‘m delighted for it. I don’t have to worry about it now just sit back and relax.”]]>
2/2/2018 11:11:43 AM
<![CDATA[Justin Timberlake says Janet not part of Super Bowl show]]>
Timberlake on Sunday will return to America’s biggest stage 14 years after a “wardrobe malfunction” overshadowed his last gig at the National Football League’s championship game.

“To be honest I had a ton of grand ideas about special guests. There’s a whole list. I think Vegas has a lot of odds on it. From NSYNC to (Jay-Z) to Chris Stapleton to Janet,” Timberlake told a news conference in Minneapolis.

“But this year... my band, the Tennessee Kids, I feel like they are my special guests and I am excited this year to rock the stage and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Timberlake infamously ripped off part of Jackson’s garment during their halftime show performance in Houston and briefly bared her breast. The incident coined the phrase “wardrobe malfunction.”

The Parents Television Council published an open letter to Timberlake on Thursday asking the 10-times Grammy winner to keep his performance, which is estimated to draw more than 100 million viewers, friendly and safe for children.

“The fallout of your performance during Super Bowl XXXVIII has left an indelible mark. You really threw us – and millions of parents who were watching with their kids,” the group wrote.

“The now-infamous wardrobe malfunction was the biggest news story for weeks, even at a time when the nation had launched into war in Iraq.”

The letter continued, “We ask you to keep the halftime show friendly and safe for the children watching, and who may be hoping to emulate you one day.”

Timberlake did not reveal too many details of his upcoming performance but did say his “Can’t Stop The Feeling” hit song from the movie “Trolls” will be included along with plenty of dancing, while also promising something new.

“Without giving too much away we are doing a few things with this halftime show that they have never quite done before,” said Timberlake, whose new album “Man of the Woods” come out on Friday.

“I always like to push, to be able to do something like that. But also, on a more serious note, it’s a moment where you have the opportunity to bring so many people together through what I think is the greatest art form, which is music.”

Timberlake will have around 13 minutes to perform at halftime of the game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis.

Timberlake, who turned 37 on Wednesday and was serenaded to “Happy Birthday” by some of the attending media, took many light-hearted questions but also stressed how grateful he was to be able to share his passion for writing and performing music.

“We want everyone to have a ton of fun, that’s my main objective with the halftime show,” said Timberlake. “I like to make dance music so I hope everyone’s dancing. I think that’s the greatest thing anyone can do to express joy.”]]>
2/2/2018 11:08:13 AM
<![CDATA[Paris atelier provides safe haven for exiled artists]]>
Lina Aljijakli, a 35-year-old Syrian born in the now war-ravaged city of Hama, is one of a record number of immigrants seeking asylum in France. Her art is being exhibited at the grand Palais Royal along with works by 14 other exiled artists.

She said freedom of expression was compromised in Syria, where a seven-year civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions from their homes.

“You never knew what could happen. You could get arrested, get killed,” Aljijakli told Reuters TV.

A large studio in Paris’ 18th arrondissement has become a dedicated workspace for some 150 exiled artists from countries such as Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Iran. It has provided Aljijakli with a sanctuary from where she can express her emotions on canvas.

One of her works on display in the former royal palace shows faces of women and children outlined against a blue background.

The painting represents the suffering of Syrian women imprisoned and separated from their children, she says, of women hurt by aerial bombardments and of women who make the perilous sea-crossing in search of safety.

Judith Depaule, who runs the atelier, sees the artists as the latest chapter in the artistic history of a city that gave rise to Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Cubism, and is synonymous with artists from Picasso and Van Gogh to Hemingway and Beckett.

“So it’s about time that tradition is renewed,” Depaule said. “Art and French culture have a lot to learn from this melting pot, from this contribution from other cultures.”

Another artist is Syrian filmmaker Mohammad Hijazi. Aged 29, he applauded the opportunity Paris has provided but wants to be known for more than just his portrayal of war.

“My hope is ... to tell the world that we are able to produce work not simply because we have a war or a revolt or a conflict or fighting.”]]>
2/2/2018 10:49:39 AM
<![CDATA[Jim Carrey cleared of lawsuits on ex-girlfriend’s death]]>
Carrey’s misfortunes began in September of 2015, when his former girlfriend Cathriona White, an Irish make-up artist, died of a drug overdose. Thus began a bitter legal struggle against White’s family, who accused Carrey of being directly responsible for Cathriona’s mental issues that eventually lead to her suicide.

Her relationship with Carrey had been on-and-off, spanning from 2012 to 2015. Notes found in White’s home revealed that she had been depressed since their relationship began to fail in 2013. Sometime after her death, Carrey released a statement expressing his grief over the loss of White.

A year later, White’s estranged husband Mark Burton filed a lawsuit alongside White's mother Brigid Sweetman against Carrey, claiming he had supplied white with the drugs in the first-place. They further claimed that Carrey had obtained the drugs illegally, changing his name in order to acquire them. In September 2017, Burton and Sweetman’s attorneys released an iPad message from 2013 reportedly sent from White to Carrey, where she claimed he introduced her to drugs and infected her with various STDs.

Carrey fought back with his own countersuit, with his attorney claiming the accusations were all false. Carrey also claimed that White, under guidance of her attorney, was blackmailing Carrey by threatening to lie to the press that he had infected her with herpes, unless he paid her millions of dollars. Carrey settled the matter out of court by paying an undisclosed sum to White.

A turn in the case came when the actor’s lawyer discovered that White had fabricated her STD tests, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Carrey’s attorney, Raymond Boucher, posted his declaration of the findings on the website scribd.com, where he pointed out that the 2011 tests proving she had been clean before their relationship began was forged.

A representative for the actor confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the matter had finally been settled on January 25, and that Carrey was past the ordeal.

2/2/2018 10:42:51 AM
<![CDATA[Google explores humanity's fascination with twins]]>CAIRO – 28 January 2018: Jonathan Openshaw of Google's online Arts and Culture Institute has written an enlightening article titled "Seeing Double: How History Became Obsessed With Twins", providing a unique look at how twins have been perceived in various cultures across time.

Twins are a relatively rare occurrence, with Openshaw stating that they only account for 3 percent of all natural births. Yet, they've left behind a large cultural impact in ancient human cultures, seen as either a gift from the gods (or gods themselves) to cursed examples of witchcraft or other bad omens.

Going back to the oldest of cultures, such as Zoroastrian or Greek mythology, Openshaw points out that twins were flesh-and-blood embodiments of duality inherent to the universe, such as in the battle for good and evil. Consider how often one sees examples of the "Evil Twin" as a cliché in fiction for example.

The founding myth of Rome features some of the most famous twins in ancient history, "Romulus and Remus", who were nursed by a wolf and founded the city of Rome together.

Looking to the East, Openshaw brings up how positively twins are viewed in China, particularly in Taoism, which features the The Hehe Erxian 'laughing twins', who represent harmony and joy. Now symbols of good luck, these twins are still frequently present as symbols during weddings and other celebrations.

Openshaw states that certain scholars speculate that these twins may have been actual historical figures from the Tang Dynasty, who have since been deified into immortal mythical figures across the ages.

West Africa features the highest rate of twins in the world, at four times the global average. In Nigeria, the Yoruba people view twins as 'spirit children', who are believed to share a powerful, supernatural bond. This connection to the other world ensured that twins could be either seen as a gift from God or even a curse.

The twin delivered first is called 'Taiwo', which translates to 'having the first taste of the world', while the second twin is called 'Kehnide', meaning 'arriving after the other.' If a family lost a twin, they would receive special "Ere Ibeji statuettes" as a means of ensuring their spirits would be appeased.

Europe's relationship with twins has proven to be more complicated. Shakespeare and other playwrights used them to give comedic effect, hatching up plots of mistaken identity in stories such as 1601's "Twelfth Night". For contrast, Openshaw also uses the example of John Webster's 1614 play "The Duchess of Malfi", which explores the deadly sibling power rivalry between a duke and his twin sister.

The most grotesque example of twins in culture comes from the morbid fascination of the 'conjoined-twin' phenomenon, a rare occurrence in which twins are born sharing a body. These deformities were used as signs of witchcraft and devil's work in medieval England, dubbed as "monstrous births", though nowadays the synonym of 'Siamese Twins' is more commonly used. This refers to the most famous case of conjoined twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in 1811 to a small Thai fishing village (At that time, Thai was known as Siam).
Chang and Eng were rare examples of conjoined twins who survived birth, and they became known as a popular sideshow act in America.

With the turn of the 19th century, advancements in genetics allowed for a more in-depth understanding of human development, leading to a better knowledge into the nature of twins.

The debate on "nature vs nurture" had begun, and twins were instrumental into understanding the factors that would influence how personality forms. With the coming of WWII, Nazi Germany had taken an interest into studying selective breeding, and 3,000 European twins were sent to Auschwitz to undergo hideous experiments, with almost no survivors.

Openshaw concludes with a look at the prevalence of twins in popular culture today. While the spiritual aspects of their natures have been overshadowed by an enlightened understanding of human genetics, they continue to fascinate the imagination.

2/2/2018 10:32:56 AM
<![CDATA[Queen Twosert: The last ruler of the 19th dynasty ]]>
Although she was the last known ruler of Egypt during the 19th dynasty, New Kingdom of ancient Egypt, her name may not be as well-known as others, according to author and researcher Hussein Abdel Bassir.

She is recorded in “Manetho's Epitome” as Thuoris. Manetho listed the name of Queen Twosert as the last ruler of the 19th dynasty, according to author and researcher Ismail Hamed.

Researchers cannot find more sources about her reign or origins because she lived during a critical period, caused by political conflicts.

After the death of her husband King Siptah, Queen Twosert succeeded the throne and she held different royal titles such as Ra’s daughter.

Researchers have not been able to conclude for how many years she ruled Egypt. Some say she ruled for seven or eight years but a number of researchers refuted this and believe that she counted her husband's years of reign as hers as well, since she was his partner; in reality, she only ruled independently for one and half or two years.

As the rest of independent queens, she constructed a funerary temple for herself, and it was full of jewelries, pieces of funerary furniture, and pottery. The foundations of the temple were unearthed in 1896 and a number of treasures were found.

Her tomb was located nearby her husband King Siptah’s tomb. It carried inscriptions for goddess Maat, and other religious rituals.

2/2/2018 10:18:44 AM
<![CDATA[Sabea Gar: A Wake-up Call or Just Cheap Thrills? ]]>
That is until the series began shocking us with truths that we have for too long chosen not to admit. So much so that audiences who once heaped praise on the series’ three female directors Ayten Amin, Nadine Khan and Heba Yousry—who together add a mixture of spices to end up with one harmonious fine taste, presenting in a dazzling way interlocking threads of human relations that at once amuse us and teach us—began to reagrd the events as unusual and hard to grasp. This, many viewers are arguing, is not representative of our society.

But is the series attempting to be subversive by shocking viewers? Or is it really holding up a mirror to our society?

Poisoned Chalice

There are two types of drama series; the first you watch eagerly to know how it is going to end; the other you watch to enjoy its details. Sabea Gar is definitely the second type. Starting with a glossary cover, the series attracted a large base of audience, portraying the intimate cosy aspect of our family lives. It then began to uncover some of the dark, hidden sides that we choose not to bring up, even among ourselves. Though some argue this is intended to teach us to accept these facts, face them and discuss them bravely and without shame, the gradual yet shocking shift has stirred a wave of anger among audiences.

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The series is set entirely on location in a large apartment building, the drama lines revolving around middle class families and their problems. The setting entrenches more and more the feeling that we are watching a replica of the daily lives of the majority of Egyptian society. In each apartment, there is a different set of life issues and problems; and the only point of intersection between all these lines is that they are neighbors.
The main two families are those of two sisters Lamia (Dalal Abdelaziz) and Leila (Sherine).

Lamia’s one and only goal in life is to see her daughters get married, arguably every Egyptian mother’s obssession. Meanwhile, her sister represents yet another very common societal complex. Although married to a con man, she refuses to ask for a divorce; one one level she is afraid of the “gossip,” and on another, she actually “still loves him.” She embodies a classic female weakness that exists deep inside many Egyptian women, something of a Stockholm Syndrome where the woman is in love with her abuser and cannot escape the abusive relationship.

Till that point, Sabea Gar was that engaging and enjoyable family soap opera whose viewers who found themselves emotionally attached to Lamia’s and Leila’s families. If the series’ producers had kept up this pace, they would have taken the easiest way to success and guaranteed the continuation of a high viewership of the series, avoiding most criticism. Instead, they took a much riskier turn and began employing shock tactics, jolting audiences with controversial characters and plot twists.

In each episode they introduced a more complex societal problem taking advantage of the high popularity of the show to push forward some intense messages.

The result was general backlash from most viewers who criticized the bold approach. Others argued that perhaps we are overlooking the true purpose of drama, stressing that the added value drama offers does not come from amusement or a plain presentation of daily life, but that it is more of a mirror being held up to society. That mirror shows us our good and bad sides, its purpose is to face them and fix them.

sabea gar 1

The series goes deep into one controversial issue after the other, stressing on the fact that in most cases, the “sinner” is not more than a victim of circumstances that they didn’t create. And in other cases, they are simply part of our reality that we need to admit, whether we like it or not.

That approach has not gone down well, with viewers feeling they are forced to accept a “reality” they believe is blown out of proportion and that they cannot identify with.
The first controversial problem is that of Ismail (famous director Amr Salama in his first acting role) who though claiming piety really has endless double standards. After getting engaged to one of Lamia’s daughters, he suddenly left her to run after her more liberal sister Heba. The series presents him as symbolic of all “pious” people, an overgeneralization many found not only inaccurate but offensive.

Hala is yet another controversial character. Although she refuses the idea of having a man in her life, her ultimate goal is to have a child; and she asks a colleague to marry her only for this reason. Is Hala a victim? A byproduct of her con father and her weak mother? Is it correct to marry only for this reason? Of course not. Is her fear of men justified? Yes it is. Now do girls like Hala exist in our society? Fans argue the series was right to shed light on such an example, at least so that we admit its existence and face it as a reality. while others felt her representation was overblown.

While audiences felt some of the plotlines and twists were open to discussion, there was perhaps one had viewers in an uproar. It shows Heba, one of the daughters, who was attracted to her married neighbor (Tarek) and who had started to talk with him behind his wife’s back. They once smoked hash together then agreed it would be better to be “only friends.” Heba then goes to a friend’s apartment, they were alone and they drank beer and smoked hash. Many viewers felt offended, saying these actions disrespect “our conservative respectable society.”


The reason behind Heba’s actions and the message she is meant to deliver are crystal clear throughout the plot. In one scene, she says to her friend, “Do you believe that I have never loved anyone, I don’t care about love or marriage I just want to try everything in life.’’ But regardless of whether or not you like what you see, some audiences have expressed the notion that we should at least take note of the message that we should embrace our children to help them find their way, give them their space and the needed level of freedom and teach them how to choose, otherwise we might pay the high cost of their deprivation, especially since. “The forbidden is always the most desirable.’’

When it comes to Tarek, he too is reviled by the audience. A married man, he flirts with Heba and his colleague at work, drinks wine and smokes hash; in a conservative Middle Eastern society like ours, he would be seen as the worst husband ever. The series does not defend Tarek but it does appear to attack his wife, Noha (Heidy Karam), possibly blaming her for her husband’s infidelities and rather aggressive behavior. This stance alone was enough to turn audiences away from the series.

Another woman that audiences felt was misrepresented was young female engineer May, who lives alone in her engineering office. May was once in love with Ahmed, her colleague at university but he left her to marry another woman then travelled to work abroad. As soon as he was returns, they relationship resumed, both emotionally and sexually. Again audiences have criticized the series makers for presenting such a negative story, though others point out it is clear that the purpose is not to praise them but to paint them as part of our society, part of our mirror.

Yet the producers didn’t highlight enough that this couple, despite their existence, do not comply with our customs and traditions. As their relationship is portrayed as somehow normal, it exprovoked the audience and many viewers felt the cheap thrills and shock factor were cheap tools to up ratings.

Crossing a Line

And perhaps this is where Sabea Gar fails. It may depict real-life examples, the message being that we are not all the same; that we must face our problems to be able to solve them; and that burying our heads in the sand like ostriches is not the solution.

We must learn to accept others who are different than us and not just criminalize their actions or avoid them, but by zeroing in on these examples it has somehow blown things out of proportion. The gradual approach may have helped deliver the producers’ message more effectively and more painfully—the pain of truth; or in other words, a poisonous truth that would cure us and never harm us—but by intentionally zooming in on extremes many viewers feel the series has lost credibility, angling the mirror to only reflect certain “truths.” Worse, they argue, it attempts to pass these examples off as reflective of Egyptian society.

Another general complaint was that the series was given a rating of 12+ although a number of its scenes require to be 18+. Shocked audiences argued that not only the content but the message too were inappropriate for children and that it did not offer positive role models they coud emulate.

Despite the shortcomings of the series, it was critically acclaimed. The three talented directors successfully presented a group of young female actresses who appear for the first time, which helps the audience identify more with the true characters.

And what makes the show even more credible, beside the dazzling and natural performance of all the cast members, is also their simple appearance. The girls appear without any kind of make-up, wearing simple outfits similar to what we wear at home.

2/2/2018 9:58:17 AM
<![CDATA[Pianist Wael Farouk to participate in opera’s Brahms Project]]>
The concert will be led by Maestro Ahmed al-Saidi, and it will include the works of German composer and pianist Johannes Brahms as well as classical music of Beethoven and symphony No. 4 of Tchaikovsky.

Brahms, born in 1833, was taught piano by his pianist father. He was greatly influenced by the works of Beethoven; hence, critics called Brahms’ first symphony as the tenth symphony of Beethoven. He was awarded the Order of Merit for Science and Art .

At the same time, Farouk has performed many concerts at world’s venues such as the White Hall in St. Petersburg, Schumann’s house in Leipzig, and Carnegie Hall in New York. His solo debut performance in 2013 was lauded by many people.

Farouk directs a piano program Carthage College and the Carthage Arts Academy. He is also on the faculty of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He frequently judges competitions and delivers master classes.
2/1/2018 5:36:05 PM
<![CDATA[New Minister of Culture praises Saudi pavilion at Cairo Book Fair]]>
They passed by an art show that includes folkloric paintings with traditional Saudi costumes and poems by disabled youth.

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New Minister of Culture Ines Abdeldayem with Saudi Cabinet Minister Essam bin Said and Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Egypt Ahmed Bin Abdul-Aziz at Saudi Arabia’s pavilion at the 49th Cairo International Book Fair – Press Photo

Abdel Dayem praised Saudi Arabia’s participation in the book fair while Saudi youth were introducing developmental projects and creative ideas, stressing that the Saudi pavilion reflects the huge interest of Saudi Arabia in thought and culture.

At the end of her tour, she visited the children sections in the book fair including various educational and art activities, confirming that children are the future pillars.

The 49th edition of the book fair is titled “Soft Power…How?” Twenty-seven countries, including 17 Arab countries and 10 foreign countries, partook in the fair. The book fair will run from January 27 to February 10.

2/1/2018 5:31:35 PM
<![CDATA[The King of Hollywood's ten best movies]]>
Here are ten of his best loved movies, giving a taste of Gable's incredible talent:
Red Dust (1932)

Directed by Victor Fleming, this romantic drama casts an early Gable as plantation owner Dennis Carson, whose operation in the French Indochina is fraught with horrific circumstances, such as overworked employees, tigers in the jungle and the titular dust storms. Things get even more complicated with the arrival of a fugitive prostitute named Vantine, on the run from the law, who entangles Carson into a steamy love triangle with married woman Barbara Willis (Mary Astor).

“Red Dust” would be remade years down the line into 'Mogambo', once again featuring Gable.

It Happened One Night (1934)

Considered the first 'slapstick comedy', this outrageous film by director Frank Capra features Gable as reporter Peter Warne, who helps spoiled heiress Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) run away from home to escape an arranged marriage, in return for her giving him a great story to write. Gable won his first ever Academy Award for this film, with his performance being so iconic that it inspired animator Friz Freleng in designing Bugs Bunny, heavily based on Peter Warne's carrot eating scenes.

Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

This crime drama by director W.S Van Dyke sees Gable as Blackie Gallagher, lifelong friend of fellow orphan Jim Wade (William Powell). As they grow old, the two begin to operate on different sides of the law, with Gallagher becoming a casino-owner and avid gambler while Wade becomes the city's prosecutor, eventually in line to become Governor. When Gallagher is tried for murder, Wade is forced to make an impossible decision.

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Set in 1787, director Frank Lloyd puts Gable into the role of Fletcher Christian, who helps partake in a mutiny against the tyrannical ship captain Bligh (Charles Laughton), leading the crew to freedom as they hijack the ship. Unfortunately for them, the Captain manages to return after being cast to sea, and he wants revenge.

San Francisco (1936)

In this fictionalized romantic retelling of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake by director W.S Van Dyke, Gable stars as Saloon owner Blackie Norton, who falls for the dazzling singer Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald), but must deal with a rival to her love in the form of rich socialite Jack Burley (Jack Holt).

Gone with the Wind (1939)

One of the most enduring and beloved films of all time, Victor Fleming's “Gone with the Wind” was the film that crowned Gable as the 'King of Hollywood', turning him from a little-known name to one of the most famous actors alive at the time. Here he is Rhett Butler, a dazzling southern rogue who falls in love with the beautiful yet self-centered Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), a romance for the ages set in the backdrop of the American Civil War.

Command Decision (1949)

Gable is forced to make hard decisions in this war drama from director Sam Wood. As Army General K.C. 'Casey' Dennis, Gable portrays with great skill a powerful man dealing with a burden far too great for anyone to bear when he must make a call to send his planes into German air space to bomb a factory producing fighter jets that could lead the Germans into victory during WWII.

Mogambo (1953)

This remake of Gable's early film “Red Dust” sets the action in Africa, with Gable portraying a big game hunter named Victor Marswell, who encounters the stunningly beautiful Eloise Kelly (Ava Gardner) and begins to fall for her. However, his heart also begins to yearn for the beautiful Linda Nordley (Grace Kelly), married to a scientist. Who will win his heart?

Run Silent Run Deep (1958)

Robert Wise directs Gable in this tense WWII drama set under the sea, in the dark halls of a submarine. Gable is Commander 'Rich' Richardson, who is hell-bent on seeking revenge against the Japanese submarine that sent his Submarine a year ago, which threatens the crew of the new sub he's on. Burt Lancaster co-stars as Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe, who butts heads with the Commander.

The Misfits (1961)

Gable's final film also happens to be the one of the last films of his co-star, none other than the beautiful Marilyn Monroe. Here Gable is aging Cowboy Gay Langland, who alongside his buddy Guido (Eli Wallach) accompanies recently the divorced Roslyn (Monroe) to Guido's desert ranch, where the two men begin to fall in love with her.
2/1/2018 5:28:10 PM
<![CDATA[On the road with Nigeria's first mobile library]]>
"Readers are what?" she asks about 15 youngsters, sitting on little plastic stools in a classroom in a small converted lorry.

"Leaders!" they shout back in unison.

One of Ilori's iRead Mobile Library vans recently stopped at the Bethel primary school in the working class district of Ifako, in the heart of megacity Lagos.

Inside the school compound, slides and seesaws rust in the humid air. The head teacher, Ruth Aderibigbe, said her 200 or so pupils only have textbooks at their disposal.

"Books cost a lot of money," she said.

When iRead turned up at the school two years ago with its wide selection of books, from toddlers' colouring books to children's novels, plus a few for adults, she welcomed it in with open arms.

"The children involved in the programme now speak and spell better in English," she said.

Inside the van, a young boy aged about 10 held a copy of "Half of a Yellow Sun", the international bestseller by the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The book has clearly been well-read: its spine barely held the pages.

- 'Books in a basket' -

Adichie last week became embroiled in controversy after a French journalist asked her during a visit to Paris whether there were any bookshops in Nigeria.

"I think it reflects very poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question," she responded, going on to rue what she said was France's racist and colonial view of Africa.

Ilori is aware of the row and understands why the question would offend. But she sees a wider problem and has dedicated herself to trying to resolve it.

"Public libraries are functional in Nigeria, well, at least in Lagos. But not many people maximise the use of them," she said.

"We need to catch new readers from a young age. In rural communities, there are children that have never held a book.
"I advocate for community libraries everywhere. Just as churches are springing up, libraries should be springing up."

Ilori is a former primary schoolteacher who began a book-lending business in 2003.

"Books in a basket. I was going door-to-door," she recalled.

Books could be borrowed for just a few hundred naira (a couple of dollars) but her experience led her to realise that few adults in Nigeria's bustling economic hub had the luxury of having time to read.

Ten years after starting the "books in a basket" scheme, she came up with the mobile library idea and applied for funding from a Nigerian government development initiative.

The pitch was successful and landed her 10 million naira, which, with the exchange rate at the time, was the equivalent of about $60,000.

With it, she bought a lorry and a small minibus.

- African books -

Now, thanks to the grant and sponsors, she has been able to take on 13 employees, buy 1,900 books and four vans.

She visits four to six schools every day, organising reading workshops on evenings and at weekends for out-of-school children in slum areas with the help of volunteers.

The vans function like real libraries: children choose a book that they read at home, bring it back the following week and write a compulsory "review" on what it's about.

Sade chooses her favourite adventure story, even though she already knows it off by heart.

"Reading is my hobby. Books give me ideas and they help me know better," she says.
Adinga plumps for "Bioenergy Insight", a magazine on renewable energy that he found on the shelves.

"Are you sure you're going to read that?" asks one of the volunteers, amused. The young boy pulls a face and puts back the magazine, eventually choosing a comic book.

Afterwards, the schoolchildren, dressed in white and green uniforms with a bow tie for the boys, proudly troop back into class.

Tucked under their arms are books such as "Toy Story" or "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".

Ilori looks and says there's something missing. "We need more African children's books now," she says.

As Adichie said in an interview published in The Atlantic in February 2017, the books she read as a little girl "and I think this is true for many other young children in countries that were formerly colonised, didn't reflect my reality".]]>
2/1/2018 12:33:57 PM
<![CDATA[Super Mario ready for leap into anime film]]>
Shigeru Miyamoto, the renowned game creator of "Super Mario Bros" and "Donkey Kong" at the Kyoto-based video game giant, has been working with Chris Meledandri at Illumination Entertainment to produce the Mario anime.

"People have told me making games is similar to making movies and I've been flattered by people saying things like 'If you can make a game, you can make a movie'," Miyamoto told reporters in Tokyo.

"But they are totally different," said the creator who has some previous experience in directing short movies.

"One is interactive and the other is a passive experience," he said, noting film-making requires film-making experts and Meledandri was an "experienced producer."

In the past decade, Meledandri has produced the "Despicable Me" series, "The Secret Life of Pets" and other box-office hits.

"I got along with him. But it took more than two years to make an announcement since we agreed to do something together," he said.

Miyamoto said he and Meledandri had already made progress in production though the release date is yet to be fixed.

He said they would scrap the project if they decided they were unable to make an "entertaining" film, he said.

"We've already discussed its script many times and have made quite a lot of progress ... between the two of us," he said.

Once done, the film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, Miyamoto said.

The announcement came the day after Nintendo posted stellar earnings thanks to strong sales of its new Switch console and software titles.

Global sales of the Super Mario Odyssey title for Switch topped nine million since its launch last October.

Miyamoto told the briefing that the company's "ultimate goal" is that everyone would have a Switch console for their personal use.

Nintendo also said it was planning to release a new Mario Kart title for smartphones in the year from April.

There was a Hollywood live-action film with Super Mario characters in 1993 but it scored limited success at the box office.]]>
2/1/2018 12:30:16 PM
<![CDATA[Robin Bell, artist and anti-Trump activist]]>
On Tuesday, just before Trump delivered his State of the Union address before Congress, Bell projected the phrases "Donald Trump harassed or assaulted twenty women" and "Congress: Investigate Trump" on the hotel.

The hotel is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, a straight shot to Capitol Hill.

"The day of the State of the Union speech, it is important to highlight the fact that Trump is a sexual predator," said Natalie Green, communications coordinator at women's rights group UltraViolet, which collaborated on the project.

In December, three women -- two of whom say Trump sexually harassed them -- asked Congress to open an investigation into alleged predatory sexual behavior by the president.

"Congress has a constitutional duty to believe these women and start an investigation, and it is a national embarrassment if they don't," Green said.

- Commando operation -]]>
2/1/2018 12:26:43 PM
<![CDATA[Women of Grammys strike back after controversy]]>
The 21-year-old's "Melodrama" was the only work by a woman nominated for the most prestigious prize of Album of the Year on the music industry's biggest night Sunday.

She not only was bested by Bruno Mars' "24K Magic" but she was not given a spot to perform at the televised show in New York. The Recording Academy, which administers the awards, said the roster was full.

Lorde took out a full-page advertisement in The New Zealand Herald with doodlings about the Grammys and a handwritten note that thanked readers "for loving and embracing 'Melodrama' the way you did."

"Thank you, also, for believing in female musicians. You set a beautiful precedent!" she wrote.

The Grammy winners slanted overwhelmingly male at a time of mounting activism by women against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

The Grammy show's most memorable performer may have been Kesha, who fiercely sang her track "Praying" about a producer she says raped and psychologically tormented her -- allegations he denies.

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow told reporters that the music industry needed to show a "welcome mat" to women, but drew controversy as he explained how female artists could win more awards.

"I think it has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and their souls who want to be musicians... to step up, because I think they would be welcome," he said.

- Criticism by pop stars -

Pop singer P!nk struck back without naming Portnow: "Women in music don't need to 'step up' -- women have been stepping since the beginning of time."
Honoring women would show "the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal, and what it looks like to be fair," she wrote in a handwritten note on Twitter.

P!nk was backed by pop superstar Katy Perry, the most followed person on Twitter, who hailed women "making incredible art in the face of continual resistance."
"We ALL have a responsibility to call out the absurd lack of equality everywhere we see it," Perry, whose latest album was not nominated for any Grammys, wrote to her more than 108 million followers.

- Alessia Cara dismisses backlash -

Despite this year's controversy, the Grammys have not lacked female victors in the past.

The last two winners of Album of the Year were both women -- Adele and Taylor Swift. And on Sunday, Canadian soul-pop singer Alessia Cara won one of the top awards, Best New Artist.
But Cara also faced criticism on social media with users saying the 21-year-old singer, whose breakthrough hit "Here" came out in early 2015, did not qualify as new.

Cara -- whose socially conscious lyricism wrestles with issues such as poor self-image -- responded on Instagram that she had not sought the award and added: "I am not going to be upset about something I've wanted since I was a kid."

"I will not let everything I've worked for be diminished by people taking offense to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck," she wrote.

"Here's something fun! I've been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant."]]>
2/1/2018 12:21:03 PM
<![CDATA[Ancient Iraq: Queen Puabi's amusing tomb]]>
Mainly, people of Sumer lived in the southern lands of Mesopotamia due to its location between Euphrates and Tigris; it is one of the earliest civilizations and human settlements in history, according to "Civilization of Ancient Iraq" by author and researcher Benjamin R. Foster and art archaeology specialist Karen Polinger Foster.

The people of Sumer established great cities and tombs such as the city of Ur that attracted archaeologists who headed massive excavation works to reveal its secrets, according to author and researcher Beth Gruber in her book " Ancient Iraq: Archaeology Unlocks the Secrets of Iraq's Past."

British archaeologist Leonardo Wolley unearthed one of the greatest tombs in Ur site, Queen Puabi or Queen Shubad's tomb, which is considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the 20th century.

Although researchers couldn't find any information about the queen in her tomb, the tomb was kept in a very good condition, with all its treasures preserved just like Tutankhamen's tomb in Egypt.

Puabi's body and dozens of other skeletons were found in the tomb; ten of the skeletons are for Puabi's servants, and five are for soldiers.

A Harp found in Queen Puabi's tomb – Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Traditionally, servants, musicians, and soldiers were buried in the tombs of kings and queens to accompany them through the afterlife.

Puabi's body carried rings of gold, heavy earrings, and necklaces; more jewelry was placed on a table bedside the Queen, including a headgear and necklaces made of gold, silver, blue lapis lazuli and gemstones.

2/1/2018 10:16:55 AM
<![CDATA[Ministry of Culture: Community mobile libraries to be back]]>
The Ministry of Culture aims to achieve cultural justice among citizens through a cultural art forum. This cultural movement is a result of the cooperation between the National Library and Archives, under the chairmanship of Ahmed al-Shawky, and the Cultural Palaces Authority, headed by Ahmed Awad.

Abdel Dayem explained that the current cooperation between the sectors of the Ministry of Culture will positively affect the citizens’ cultural status, adding that this cooperation will eliminate the concept of isolation which caused many obstacles in the past, preventing the launch of a number of important cultural projects.

Moreover, Shawky said that the participation of the National Library and Archives comes within the framework of the "Year of Heritage and Society". He pointed out that the services provided by the libraries are completely free, including accessing the library, reading books and publications by the Ministry of Culture, and getting free copies.

capt 1
Ahmed Al-Shawky, the Head of National Library and Archives - Photo courtesy of press release by the Ministry of Culture

Ahmed Awad stated that the Cultural Palaces Authority is holding a number of activities and events during the forum, including art shows, exhibitions and workshops for traditional crafts, drawing and coloring. There will also be artistic and cultural competitions for children and young people, and the winners will receive free and important collections of books.

Ahmed Awad, head of the Cultural Palaces Authority - Photo courtesy of press release by the Ministry of Culture

2/1/2018 10:05:44 AM
<![CDATA['Forsa Saee'da' theatrical performance records high revenues]]>
The director of the show Mohamed Gomaa’ has added that the play was sold out for the whole past week, and that many public figures and media representatives attended the playin its first season that will close after 10 days.

"Forsa Saee’da" is a social comedy that follows a 79 year-old man who feels lonely, butsome surprises occur, giving him the opportunity to change his life.

The Performances stars famous actor Ahmed Bedair, Fatouh Ahmed, Mohamed el-Sawy, Ahmed al-Demerdash, Iman Abo-Taleb, KhaledMahrous, WaelAboal-So’od, Aly Kamal, LiliKasem and BasmaShawky.

Ihab Hamdy composed and arranged the play's music, Mostafa Hamed made the theatrical decor, and Aymanal-Nemr wrote the poems; the play is written by Salah Araby, and directed by Mohamed Gomaa.

Ahmed Bedair is one of the most talented actors in Egypt, with a long and glorious history especially when it comes to theatrical performances, as he starred in several plays that left a mark in the Egyptian theatre such as Raya we Sekena;he also starred inmanyTV series such as El-ZiniBarakat.
1/31/2018 12:12:21 PM
<![CDATA[Scottish author takes 'Ferrymania' from China to Hollywood]]>
Claire McFall has signed over the rights to her "Ferryman" series of teenage novels to Legendary Entertainment, the US production company behind blockbusters such as director Christopher Nolan's "Batman" saga and "Jurassic World".

The 35-year-old mother has also been mobbed in China, where her debut novel "Ferryman", first published in 2013, has been a top 10 bestseller for more than two years.

"My agent calls it 'Ferrymania', which is slightly cringeworthy," she told AFP.

"It's mind-boggling how successful it's been in China. They seem to be astonished that I would want to come to China to see them, and I was like, 'Are you kidding? You love my book!'."

McFall was teaching when her agent called in November to say she had been offered a film deal, prompting her to leave the profession to focus on writing full time.

"He didn't actually drop in the name Legendary for about five minutes," she said.

"That is when I realised it was actually quite a big deal, so I did a bit of embarrassing dancing round the classroom. It still feels quite surreal. I can't imagine seeing it up on the screen."

- Scottish landscape inspiration -
Despite being a huge hit in China, "Ferryman" has sold much more modestly in Britain -- 30,000 copies by June 2017.

"Ferryman", and its sequel "Trespassers", published in September last year, follow a teenage girl on her journey to the afterlife following a train crash.

She is accompanied by a guide inspired by the Greek mythological figure Charon, who carries souls across the rivers Styx and Acheron.

The desolate wasteland between life and death was inspired by the sparsely populated landscape around Lesmahagow, a small town around 20 miles (35 kilometres) southeast of Glasgow, where McFall grew up and worked as a teacher.

"The idea came to me in a dream about waking up on an empty train," she said.

"My commute to Lesmahagow was just fields, sheep and the occasional tractor.

"It is an absolutely beautiful, gorgeous landscape but it's also very rugged, it's quite dangerous and the Scottish weather can change at any moment, so for me it was actually quite a threatening environment."

- Chinese appeal -

"Ferryman" has been translated into simplified Chinese for the China market, complex Chinese for Taiwan, Turkish and Vietnamese.

McFall has also recently signed a publishing deal in France.

She said she believed the book's theme of the afterlife found particular resonance with Chinese readers.

"In China they have a belief called The Black and White Impermanence, two ghosts that take the spirits of the dead to the afterlife, and that has parallels with the themes in the books," she said.

In China, the book was marketed for adults -- unlike in Britain where it was targeted at teenagers -- and a large part of the Chinese readership are women aged under 25, she added.

"The people I spoke to at signings also had a real love for British culture, the books and the landscapes, and they were really attracted to the male lead. He's handsome, he's charismatic, he's brave, what more do you want?" McFall said.

- Rowling comparisons -

The afterlife also has echoes of the Christian belief in purgatory, where souls undergo a gruelling purification before they are admitted into heaven, but the ebullient author stresses that she is no theological scholar or historian.

"I'm not an expert in Greek mythology -- I literally know as much as I needed to write the book," she said.

"I'm not a religious person and I'm agnostic in that I'm not quite sure what I believe. My idea for the book was that the afterlife would be like coming home -- somewhere that you feel safe, but that you should also have to earn it.

"I'm not much of an outdoorsy person. I don't like climbing. It's wet, it's cold, it's hard work, so being forced to hill march, first of all by the school and then by my husband, just gives me bad memories, so when I was thinking of something tough and gruelling to go through, that was in my head."

Her second novel, "Bombmaker", set in a dystopian independent Scotland, raised a few eyebrows when it was released at the height of the independence referendum campaign in 2014.

"A lot of people asked me if that is what I thought would happen if we got independence," she said.

"My answer was no: I was just taking it to an exaggerated degree. I just fancied the idea of writing something in a dystopian Britain that was still recognisable."

The third and final novel in the "Ferryman" trilogy is due to be published in 2019.

Her success has inevitably invited comparisons with J. K. Rowling, whose "Harry Potter" series began in a tiny Scottish flat and grew into an international phenomenon.

McFall said: "I wouldn't even hope to pin myself to her but I think she is someone who is really inspiring to show what you can achieve."]]>
1/31/2018 11:10:35 AM
<![CDATA[Bookstores in Nigeria? Adichie anger lights up social media]]>
At an event held in a ritzy Paris government building under crystal chandeliers, Adichie launched a blistering assault on perceived French arrogance.

"I think it reflects very poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question," said Adichie.

"My books are read in Nigeria. They are studied in schools. Not just Nigeria, across the continent in Africa."

The subsequent outrage on social media was perhaps predictable: insults hurled at the French journalist amid accusations of racism and colonial prejudices.

Adichie wasn't done yet. The novelist, who was born in Nigeria but now lives in the United States, followed up with a Facebook post the next day arguing that the bookstore question was "giving legitimacy to a deliberate, entitled, tiresome, sweeping base ignorance about Africa".

But not everyone wholeheartedly agrees. "You can't say there aren't any bookstores or libraries in Nigeria, that's ridiculous," Tabia Princewill, a columnist at local newspaper The Vanguard, told AFP.

"But they aren't pretty, and they are often religious books or educational books. In public libraries, there are almost no books," Princewill said.

"It's shameful and it is not being anti-Africa to admit it.

"The African elite don't want to face the reality."

- Polarising question -

The bookstore debate is so polarising because it isn't just about access to books, it's also about the country's troubled education system.

As the population of West Africa's biggest economy explodes, the government is struggling to educate its 190 million people.

Nigeria has a 60 percent literacy rate, one of the lowest among frontier markets, according to investment banking firm Renaissance Capital in a Tuesday note.

There are vast regional discrepancies in the country, with the south boasting much higher literacy rates than the north, yet teacher quality and student attendance are perennial problems.

In her Facebook post, Adichie acknowledged the devastating effect of the Boko Haram jihadist insurgency on bookstores in the northeast.

She said her uncle had owned a store in Maiduguri, capital of northeast Borno State and birthplace of Boko Haram, but it had to close down when the city began to feel "too unsafe".

While the north struggles to counter the fundamentalist ideology of the jihadists, whose name translates to "Western education is forbidden", the south has its own issues.

Neighbourhood bookstores in Lagos, the country's commercial capital with 20 million inhabitants, have to contend with patchy electricity, subsequent mould, and a market flooded with pirated books.

- Pirated books -

Still, some find a way. Kayode Odumosu has always loved books and at age 11, he started working at his school library.

In 1993, Odumosu opened Lagos Book Club in Festac, a small middle class neighbourhood. His 3,000 second-hand books are stacked tightly next to one another on long metal shelves.

"I sell Shakespeare and all of Chimamanda's novels," he says with pride.

On a recent day in Jazzhole -- the bookshop Adichie describes as her "favourite in Lagos" -- the power is out and the air is muggy. There are biographies of Afrobeat king Fela Kuti next to books on Tehran and Venice.

Owner Kunle Tejuoso took over the family business in 1975. "Well before the birth of Chimamanda," he said with some amusement.

The bookstore controversy doesn't bother him much. "I'm used to it," he said pragmatically. "When Westerners come to my shop they always have a little shock."

For all Nigeria's problems, books are an integral part of its culture, he said.

"The literary scene is exploding in Nigeria, we have a lot of new writers who make young people want to read.

"Our greatest challenge is the internet. In the past, young people weren't so easily distracted," Tejuoso added, articulating a problem that affects bookstores both in France and Nigeria.]]>
1/31/2018 11:07:25 AM
<![CDATA[Poland to post Chopin collection online]]>
"Chopin will be the first great composer to have all of his musical scores digitised" and openly accessible by all, NIFC deputy director Maciej Janicki told reporters.

Nearly 40,000 Chopin items from the UNESCO world heritage collection -- including photographs and paintings of the Polish-French romantic composer, scholarly articles and manuscripts -- will be put online, Janicki added.

Anyone will be able to download recordings from the global Chopin piano competition that the Warsaw-based institute organises in addition to researching, documenting and promoting Chopin's work around the world.

Janicki says the most innovative part of the open-source project -- which will be available in English and Polish and is being cofinanced by the European Union -- is the sheet music.

Visitors to the site will not only be able to search for and download particular scores or excerpts but will also be able to run all kinds of analyses of the rhythm, harmony, melody and other aspects of the music.

"They won't just be simple scans or PDF files," said Marcin Konik, who manages the NIFC library.

Chopin was born in 1810 in Zelazowa Wola, near Warsaw, to a French father and Polish mother.

He fled his homeland just before the 1830 uprising against the occupying forces of Tsarist Russia.

The pianist lived in Vienna and then Paris, where he died aged 39 after years of poor health. His body is buried in Paris, while his heart rests in Warsaw's Holy Cross church.]]>
1/31/2018 11:05:11 AM
<![CDATA[Chadwick Boseman: why 'Black Panther' needed African accent]]>
The 41-year-old American stars in the titular role in the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- the first black superhero to get his own standalone movie.

"There was a time period where people would ask me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character that spoke with that accent," Boseman said of the east African inflection he gives the superhero -- alias King T'Challa.

"I became adamant about the fact that it's not true," he added, stressing that none of the naysayers had come from Marvel itself.

"The intonations and melodies inside an African accent are just as classical as a British one or a European one."

Boseman was speaking at a Beverly Hills news conference along with director Ryan Coogler, co-stars Michael B Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira and the rest of the cast the morning after Monday's glittering Hollywood premiere.

The actor got his break after a decade as an obscure television and indie film actor when Marvel came calling in 2014 with a lucrative five-picture deal to play Black Panther.

His appearance in "Captain America: Civil War" (2016) brought Boseman his first taste of real fame and his celebrity looks set to skyrocket when "Black Panther" opens on February 16, followed in May by "Avengers: Infinity War."

- King of Wakanda -

T'Challa, king and protector of the technologically advanced fictional African nation of Wakanda, has been characterized as the first black superhero, which is partly true.

Around 30 black characters have donned the lycra for the big screen since the early 1990s, including Marvel's Falcon (Anthony Mackie since 2014), Wesley Snipes's titular vampire hunter in "Blade" (1998) and Halle Berry's Kenyan princess Storm in four "X-men" movies.

The Wakandan royal can claim to be the first black superhero to land a standalone movie in the MCU and the first in mainstream American comics, having been featured in "The Fantastic Four" in 1966.

Critical and celebrity reactions to "Black Panther" after Monday's premiere were about as good as could be expected, with reviewers hailing the movie as "iconic" and "astonishing."

Donald Glover, who is due to star as Lando Calrissian in the upcoming "Solo: A Star Wars Story," called it "beautiful" while "Ant-Man" director Peyton Reed said it was "soulful, thoughtful and of the moment."

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who produces every MCU movie, agreed that the messages of the movie -- which posits Wakanda taking in refugees and extending its culture and technology to poorer nations -- were particularly topical, but added that most of the script was written 18 months ago.

- 'Badass Women of Wakanda' -

Coogler and the producers came in for particular praise at the news conference for their decision to feature a clique of powerful female characters -- dubbed "the badass women of Wakanda" front and center.

"I was so pleased that this story... that it supported that. In African culture, they feel as if there is no king without a queen and this story, it highlights the queen, the warrior, the general, the young sister," said Angela Bassett, who plays T'Challa's mother Ramonda.

"I was so proud to have my daughter and my son there last night, because in their faces, in their spirit, they were feeling themselves. They stood taller after last night."

Gurira ("The Walking Dead") spoke of her trepidation over having her head shaved to play Okoye, the head of Wakanda's Dora Milaje special forces, but how she saw it as "subversive in the right way."

"In theory, it sounded amazing, and then the day came... It happened. Then you walk into the restroom to wash your hands, look up like, 'What the?'

"It took a few days... Then the pride started to grow, there's pride around it, and the embracing of this symbol of power and these women."]]>
1/31/2018 10:56:30 AM