Mohamed Diab - Courtesy of Diab's Facebook page
CAIRO - 17 May 2017: Egyptian director Mohamed Diab travelled to Cannes on Monday to participate as a jury member for the Un Certain Regard section in the 70th Cannes Film Festival, starting from May 17 to 28.
Diab announced that he is proud that he was chosen to be a member in the jury, stressing that this participation represent an important step to learn how to evaluate films and develop himself as a filmmaker. Diab pointed out that watching about 18 international movies is considered a comprehensive learning course that will help him to improve.
Diab is the fourth Egyptian to participate in the Cannes festival jury. The first was the most famous Egyptian and Arab stage actor and director Youssef Wahbi in 1946. Long afterwards, Wahbi was followed by the international award-winning director Youssef Chahine.
Cannes International Film Festival is one of the most important film festivals in the world, which promotes the development of the film industry all over the world and honours the most important filmmakers. The poster of the Cannes Film Festival 2017 holds the photo of the Italian star Claudia Cardinally. The French drama Ismael's Ghosts is the opening film of Cannes Film Festival 2017.
Mohamed Diab’s filmmaking career
Diab is a director and a scriptwriter who is keen in all his work to emphasise critical political and social issues in the Egyptian society. He presented in his first movie El Gezeira (The Island), 2007 revolving around the life of a huge drug dealer, and the lord of an island in Upper Egypt, where its inhabitants cultivate illegal drugs. The movie was inspired by a true story of an Upper Egyptian drug dealer named Ezzat Hanafy. In 2014 he presented the second part of the movie.
One month before the January 25 revolution, Diab released his movie, Cairo 678, which was a name of a bus that witnessed painful sexual harassments to many women. This important movie was considered one of the most award winning films in Egypt. Cairo 678 was described by the New York Times as an unmistakably a harbinger of the revolution.
The famous Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho tweeted about the film calling it brilliant, saying that it should be mandatory for men, regardless of their religion or culture, to watch. Diab was one of the prominent participants in January revolution so he decided to make a film about the revolution, which was Eshtebak (Clash). Eshtebak took Diab five years of preparations, it was released in 2016.
Diab in the film discussed many issues that started with the rise of the revolution in 2011 till the clashes that took place all over Egypt between the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood supporters and military supporters. Clash won a number of awards and drew the attention to Diab as a distinguished filmmaker who presents new cinema of a different perspective.
The film participated in Cannes Film Festival last year in Un Certain Regard section and was highly praised not only from the jury members but from all the festival guests who saw the movie. It’s worth mentioning that Hollywood megastar Tom Hanks praised the movie, and even sent him a letter to endorse Diab and praise his film, describing it as magnificent.
Tom Hanks' letter to Diab - Diab's official Facebook page
The worldwide booming success of Clash encouraged Cannes Film Festival organizers to choose Diab this year as a jury member.