<![CDATA[rss-Arts & Culture]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Arts & Culture]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[ 'La Serva Padrona' to stage at Cairo Opera House ]]>
Bocelli's hits include "Because We Believe," "Time to Say Goodbye," "Cantico," and "The Prayer."

Sinatra is widely known for "Strangers of the Night," "My Way," "Fly Me to the Moon," and "Moon River."

"La Serva Padrona" is an iconic Italian opera composed by Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. It was performed for the first time in 1733.

Consisting of one act, it satirically expresses how a house maid called Serpina wants to make her master Uberto marry her. The story of "La Serva Padrona" opera is based on a play by Jacopo Angello Nelli.

Since its composition, the opera is used to be staged as an interlude between the acts of larger and serious operas to add some sort of relief and enjoyment. ]]>
12/15/2017 9:19:56 PM
<![CDATA[ 10th edition of Luxor International Painting Symposium begins]]>
Running until December 24, the Symposium is organized by the Culture Development Fund and the City of Luxor's Supreme Council. The artists will spend two weeks working on the project in studios at site of the old Gourna Village, in an area filled with rich archaeological sites and cemeteries.

Artists from countries such as Lithuania, Ethiopia, Romania, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Serbia, Italy, Nigeria and Russia are participating, alongside Arab artists from Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The aim of the Symposium will be to foster an international exchange between people from Egypt and other nations. Completed works will be displayed by the CDF in a new museum and in other establishments.

Some of the Egyptian artists participating are Fatma Abdel-Rahman, Noha Nagui, Shereen el-Baroudy, Weaam el-Masry, Noha Nagui and more. ]]>
12/15/2017 7:08:24 PM
<![CDATA[Yousry Nasrallah to lead MENA’s first audience-generated film project]]>
This project, dubbed The Arab Entertainment Experience, was announced at the 14th Dubai International Film Festival on Tuesday and is claimed to be the Middle East’s first crowd-generated film project. The AEE is a talent development project that will see the creation of a user-generated film with the guidance of Nasrallah and a team of the Arab world’s most talented filmmakers. It will be launched in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, and is based on previous ‘Entertainment Experience’ projects in China, the Netherlands and Turkey.

The project will run for nine months and follow the journey of film production, led by the audience, who will write, direct and compose their own movie script. Winning scripts will be transformed by Nasrallah into a professional release fit for cinemas. A 13-episode TV show will record the creation of the project, and master classes and workshops will be available for all involved.

"This project is a pioneering step in talent development for the creative film industry, and we hope it will open new horizons,” Nasrallah stated in a press release according to Ahram Online.]]>
12/15/2017 7:06:42 PM
<![CDATA[Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry on May 19]]>
Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, fifth-in-line to the throne, and Markle, who stars in the U.S. TV legal drama “Suits”, announced their engagement last month with the marriage to take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

“His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle will marry on 19th May 2018,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.

The couple said they had chosen to marry in Windsor, west of London, because it was “a special place for them”, having spent time there regularly since they met in July 2016 after being introduced through a mutual friend.

Harry’s 91-year-old grandmother, Elizabeth, will attend the ceremony. However, the date they have chosen clashes with English soccer’s FA Cup Final which is usually attended by Harry’s elder brother Prince William who, as President of the Football Association, awards the trophy to the winners.

“The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family,” Harry’s Communications Secretary Jason Knauf said last month.

“They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too and are currently working through ideas for how this might be achieved.”

The wedding is likely to attract huge attention across the world, as did the marriage of William to his wife Kate in 2011 which was watched by an estimated two billion people.

The royal family have said they will pay for the core aspects of the wedding, such as the church service and reception.

Markle, 36, who attended a Catholic school as a child but identifies as a Protestant, will be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England before the wedding.

She intends to become a British citizen, though she will retain her U.S. citizenship while she goes through the process.

The Gothic St George’s Chapel is located in the grounds of Windsor Castle, which has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years. Within the chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I.

On Wednesday, Kensington Palace announced Markle would join the queen and other senior Windsors for their family Christmas celebrations at her Sandringham estate in eastern England in what commentators said was a break with royal protocol under which such an invitation would normally only be extended to Markle after the wedding.]]>
12/15/2017 6:28:01 PM
<![CDATA[‘The Insult’ movie in the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist]]>
The nomination is considered a huge achievement not only for Lebanese cinema but for Arab Cinema as a whole.

“The Insult” revolves around Tony played by the Lebanese actor Adel Karam and Palestinian refugee Yasser played by Yasser el-Basha who exchanged harsh words after Yasser tried to fix a drainpipe on Tony's balcony. The clash between them leads to violence, courtroom confrontations and national attention.

“The Insult” also stars Rita Hayek, Camille Salameh, Diamand Bou Abboud, Talal Jurdi among others. The movie is written by Ziad Doueiri and Joelle Touma and directed by Ziad Doueiri.]]>
12/15/2017 4:20:15 PM
<![CDATA[‘Withered Green’ to screen at Zawya on Sunday]]>
The movie focuses on a woman (Iman) living in an oriental society, who tries to convince her uncles to meet her sister’s suiter in place of their deceased father. The protagonist is very traditional and strict. However, she receives medical news that cause her to rethink her life and question her beliefs.

The movie’s director, Mohammed Hammad, was the first Egyptian to win the Muhr Award for Best Director in the Narrative Feature Competition at 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 last year.

The film participated in 45 international film festivals including the Hamburg International Film Festival, Festival de Cannes, and Stockholm International Film Festival.

“Withered Green” was written and directed by Hammad and stars Heba Ali, Asmaa Fawzi, Ahmed Alaidy, and John Ekram Hanna.

The internationally-awarded Egyptian film was screened for the first time in Egypt at the Zawya cinema on October 25, 2017. It premiered at Locarno International Film Festival last year and was the first Egyptian film to be featured at the festival.]]>
12/15/2017 3:38:33 PM
<![CDATA[Mekky presents old values in ‘Wa’fet Nasyet Zaman’ song]]>
A few hours after the music video was released, “Wa’fet Nasyet Zaman” was the top trend for Egypt on most social media platforms.

“Wa’fet Nasyet Zaman” talks about the nostalgia and the good old memories each one of us has with friends and neighbours as well as the old values and ethics. “The idea of the song came to me from my beautiful past memories that are engraved in my mind, in the past there were precious values and ethics that unfortunately we miss today, I am always keen to discuss these matters in my songs,” Mekky recounted in a phone call with “Masa’a DMC”.

Mekky elaborated that the good morals of the past were not limited to respectable people only; even street guys and homeless people used to have principals, none of them would betray the other. People used to respect their elders and they would never harass a girl from their neighbourhood, unlike what happens today.

“There are many factors that led to the deterioration of values and ethics in our society nowadays, the most important is the lack of role models. In the past there was a leader for each district, an old man who is like the father of all those who live in this district, we used to respect this man, obey him and ask his advice when we had problems,” Mekky said.

“I learned a lot of morals from standing on the corner of my old street as I described in the song, this street was like a school to me where I learned many things in addition to morals, such as useful hobbies like raising dogs and pigeons.”

Mekky added that parents in the past were not afraid of leaving their children in the streets because they were safe and Egyptian youth were a source of strength to all neighbours. “Nowadays the smell of the drugs youth smoke in the streets is spreading everywhere.”

Mekky admitted that despite all that we suffer today, our true precious culture still exists, it just needs a spark to reappear. “The proof is that after the January Revolution all the Egyptian youth stood beside each other to protect their country.”

Mekky announced that all those who appeared in the video clip weren’t actors or models, they are his old friends and neighbours, even the old men and women are from his old street. He wanted to return to his old street by any means. Mekky said that the Egyptian singer Hoda el-Sonbaty who is featured on the song is a long-time friend of his.

“Wa’fet Nasyet Zaman” was written and directed by Mekky and composed by the Egyptian composer Adam Sherif.

Mekky graduated from the Cinema Institute in Egypt with a degree in directing. After he graduated he started his career by producing short films such as “Yabanee Asly” (Original Japanese). He also directed “Al-Hassa Al-Sab’a” (The Seventh Sense) in 2005 and has collaborated with his sister, actress Inas Mekky, on several television shows. ]]>
12/15/2017 3:16:37 PM
<![CDATA[George Lucas approves of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’]]>
A representative of Lucas, Connie Wethington, told The Hollywood Reporter that Lucas had recently watched a screening of the 8th installment of the “Star Wars” franchise and thought it was “beautifully made”. He also spoke to the director, Rian Johnson after viewing, which Wethington stated was “complimentary”.

Lucas launched one of the world’s most popular franchises back in 1977, when the first “Star Wars” film “A New Hope” broke new grounds and revolutionized popular culture worldwide. The franchise fell out of Lucas’s hands after Disney bought out his company, Lucasfilm, back in 2012. While Lucas had his own plans for the reboot trilogy, Disney chose to go their own way and create an entirely new storyline.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will see its wide premiere on December 14 in the UK and December 15 in the USA.

12/15/2017 12:52:15 PM
<![CDATA[Um Kulthoum tribute night at Alexandria Opera House]]>
Conducted by Ehab Abdel Hamid, The Ensemble will perform various selections from Um Kolthoum most celebrated songs, such as "Fakarony" (Remind Me), "Alf Leila Wi Leila" (1000 and one Nights), and "Haiart A'lby Ma'ak" (My Heart is Confused).

Founded in 2004, the ensemble performed various concerts in Alexandria and Cairo. They have performed in many national events organized by Egyptian Opera Houses.

Um Kolthoum is one of the most celebrated Arabic singers internationally and nationally, she was referred to as "Kakwab Al Sharq" (the Star of the East).

She was born on December 18, 1898, and died on February 3, 1975. She introduced more than 1500 compositions and six films like "Fatma", "Aida" and "Salama".

She managed to cooperate with the leading poets and composers of the golden age of Arab music such as Ahmed Ramy, Mohamed El Qasabgi, and Zakaria Ahmed. ]]>
12/15/2017 12:46:35 PM
<![CDATA[Documentarian Morgan Spurlock steps down after admitting misconduct]]>
The “Super Size Me” director posted a message through his Twitter account on Wednesday saying that he had in the past been accused of rape, had settled a sexual harassment lawsuit, been unfaithful to wives and girlfriends and made sexist remarks in his workplace.

”As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’

“You see, I’ve come to understand after months of these revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander, I am also a part of the problem,” he wrote.

In a statement issued on Thursday by Spurlock’s independent production company, Warrior Poets, which he co-founded in 2004, partners Jeremy Chilnick and Matthew Galkin said, “As of today, Morgan Spurlock will be stepping down effective immediately. We will continue to lead the company as equal partners, producing, distributing & creating from our independent production company.”

Spurlock’s representative Marian Koltai-Levine said Spurlock had no comment.
In recent months, a number of high-profile men in entertainment, politics, the media and business have been accused of sexual misconduct or assaulting women, and some of them have been fired or forced to resign.

Spurlock, 47, wrote that about eight years ago he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an assistant he had called “hot pants” or “sex pants” in the office. He said that he had been “unfaithful to every wife and girlfriend I have ever had,” and that he has had a drinking problem for 30 years.

“By recognizing and openly admitting what I’ve done to further this terrible situation, I hope to empower the change within myself. We should all find the courage to admit we’re at fault,” Spurlock wrote.

Spurlock won several awards for his 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” in which he ate only fast food from McDonald’s for a month. His other documentaries include “Where in the World is Osama bin Laden” in 2008 and “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” in 2011.]]>
12/15/2017 10:56:01 AM
<![CDATA[Oasis star Liam Gallagher lends voice to Christmas climate change campaign]]>
The video, “The Very Hot Snowman,” shows a cartoon snowman, melting under the heat of the sun, while Gallagher’s narration warns “Our earth is too ‘ot, and it’s getting even ‘otter,” and urges people to get involved in a campaign to raise awareness of climate change.

It was produced by director and photographer Rankin, on behalf of The Climate Coalition, an umbrella group of 130 British organizations including the National Trust and Oxfam, advocating for political action on the environment.

Gallagher had a string of hits with Oasis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including “Live Forever” and “Wonderwall”, before the band split in 2009.

His first album as a solo artist, “As You Were,” was released in October 2017, and topped the U.K. album charts.
12/15/2017 10:54:35 AM
<![CDATA[Three more women accuse Dustin Hoffman of sexual misconduct]]>
Variety reported that two of the women said Hoffman sexually assaulted them in 1987. A third woman said he exposed himself to her in 1980, when she was 16, and asked for a foot massage, the Variety report said. In the story, two women went on the record and a third was not identified.

Variety quoted Hoffman’s attorney, Mark Neubauer, as saying the accusations were “defamatory falsehoods.”

Neither Neubauer nor Hoffman’s representative immediately replied on Thursday to requests for comment.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm the accusations.
Three other women have come forward in the last six weeks accusing Hoffman of sexual harassment that they said took place more than 30 years ago.

Hoffman issued an apology to the first woman, who was a teenage intern on the set of his 1985 TV film “Death of a Salesman.” He said in a Nov. 1 statement the behavior the women described was “not reflective of who I am.”

He has declined comment on the other accusations.
Hoffman has won Oscars for his roles in “Rain Man” and “Kramer vs. Kramer.”]]>
12/15/2017 10:53:16 AM
<![CDATA[Disney buying Fox film, TV units for $52 billion in digital push]]>
The deal brings to a close more than half a century of expansion by Murdoch, 86, who turned a single Australian newspaper he inherited from his father at the age of 21 into one of the world’s most important global news and film conglomerates. The new, slimmed down Fox will focus on TV news and sport.

Early indications are that the deal will not face strong resistance from antitrust regulators as AT&T Corp’s (T.N) bid to acquire Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) has done. U.S. President Donald Trump, who has attacked the AT&T deal, spoke to Murdoch on Thursday and congratulated him on the deal, according to the White House.

Shares of Fox, which have surged more than 30 percent since talk of the deal surfaced in early November, closed up 6.5 percent. Disney shares rose 2.7 percent, spurred on by the company’s plan to buy up to $20 billion of its own shares to offset dilution from the all-stock deal. Disney will also assume about $13.7 billion of Fox debt in the deal.

Fox stockholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each share held and will end up owning about a quarter of Disney.

Under the deal, expected to close in 12 to 18 months, Disney acquires 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, its cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses.

That brings marquee franchises like “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” inside the Mouse House, on top of Iger’s previous purchases, including Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm.

The deal also includes 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks that have the rights to televise live games of U.S. professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams as well as popular college and high school games.

Disney’s global footprint expands with the acquisition of Fox’s international satellite assets, including Star TV network in India and a stake in European pay-TV provider Sky Plc (SKYB.L) and sports rights in several countries.

The new pipeline of shows and movies will help Disney battle technology companies siphoning audiences away from traditional TV networks.

Amazon is on track to spend at least $4.5 billion on video this year, according to analyst estimates, while Netflix plans to spend $8 billion on content next year. That is closing the gap on Disney, which spent $13.5 billion on content, half of that on sports, in the latest fiscal year, according to analysts.

“The deal illustrates the huge strategic challenge traditional media companies face and how they need to reinvent their business models to compete with digital, online competitors such as Netflix, Google and Amazon,” said Nick Jones, partner and head of technology at Cavendish Corporate Finance. “(It) helps Disney dramatically reduce its reliance on traditional television, a business that has declined over the last two decades.”


Immediately before the acquisition, Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, its sports channels FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network, into a newly listed company that it will spin off to its shareholders.

“This will be a growth company, centered on live news and sports brands and the strength of the Fox network,” 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Murdoch told investors. He said Fox was not retreating, rather “pivoting at a pivotal moment.”

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, 66, will extend his tenure through the end of 2021 to oversee the integration of the Fox businesses. He has already postponed his retirement from Disney three times, saying in March he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.

If Iger sees out his new term, that would rule out a presidential bid in 2020, which had been the subject of some speculation.

“This acquisition reflects a changing media landscape, increasingly defined by transforming technology and evolving consumer He said new technology would be necessary to meet the demands of viewers who want to access content anytime. Fox’s regional sports networks and cable network puts Disney in a better position to sell more shows directly to more consumers, he added.

Disney has been struggling to bolster its TV business as cancellation of cable subscriptions is pressuring its biggest network, sports channel ESPN.

The company plans to launch its own streaming service in 2019, a calculated gamble that it can generate more profit in the long run from its own subscription service rather than renting out movies to services like Netflix.

It is not clear who will head the new Fox. Iger said current Fox CEO James Murdoch, Rupert’s younger son, will help with the transition and that the two will discuss whether he will have a longer-term role at Disney.]]>
12/15/2017 10:51:44 AM
<![CDATA[Jackson says 'bully' Weinstein smeared actresses]]>
Jackson worked with Weinstein and his brother Bob early in the development of "The Lord of the Rings", saying the pair acted like "second-rate Mafia bullies".

The New Zealand director said he had no direct knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein but the producer pressured him not to hire Ashley Judd or Mira Sorvino.

Both actresses were among the first to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
Since late last year the number has swelled to more than 100, with allegations ranging from harassment to rape.

Jackson said in the late 1990s Judd and Sorvino were in the running for roles in his Tolkien blockbuster before Weinstein's Miramax Films stepped in.

"I recall Miramax telling us they were a nightmare to work with and we should avoid them at all costs. This was probably in 1998," he told Fairfax New Zealand.

"At the time, we had no reason to question what these guys were telling us -- but in hindsight, I realise that this was very likely the Miramax smear campaign in full swing.

"I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women -- and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list."

Miramax pulled out of "Lord of the Rings", which was taken over by New Line and released as a trilogy that went on to be a critical and commercial success, snaring multiple Academy Awards.

"My experience, when Miramax controlled the 'Lord of the Rings', was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies," said Jackson.

"They weren't the type of guys I wanted to work with -- so I haven't. Movie-making is much more fun when you work with nice people."

While Weinstein has denied allegations of non-consensual sex, the scandal has rocked Hollywood and led to accusations against numerous other powerful figures in the media and entertainment industries.]]>
12/15/2017 10:49:31 AM
<![CDATA[Today in History - Peter Jackson's King Kong premieres]]>

Set in 1933, overly ambitious New York film producer, Carl Denham (Jack Black) needs to finish up his film. After discovering a map leading to the unknown Skull Island, Denham ropes his cast, leading lady, the beautiful Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) and playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) into going to the Island, where the legends of a giant Gorilla named King Kong turn out to be true.

The beast kidnaps Darrow, but she learns that Kong is more than just a brutal animal, eventually cumulating in a famous tragic ending where it is beauty that kills the beast.

Created by American writer Merian C. Cooper, the character of Kong was originally intended to be a normal Gorilla who fought a Komodo Dragon in a ‘natural drama’, though the tale evolved into a larger-than-life adventure about a giant Gorilla on a prehistoric island facing down dinosaurs and, eventually, butting heads with mankind.

Peter Jackson’s adaptation was awarded three Oscars.]]>
12/14/2017 5:50:19 PM
<![CDATA[‘Balad El Mahboub’ stages at Jesuit Center in Alexandria ]]>
The performance revolves around ‘Raid on Alexandria’, an attack that took place in 1941 from the Italian Navy against the British Royal Navy in Alexandria.

The event is a part of the PerForm Forum program that takes place from December 13 to December 21.

Noah Ship is an independent theatrical group that consists of skilled Alexandrian talents.
Through its ten year career, the troupe has held different workshops to encourage rising voices to express themselves through storytelling techniques.
12/14/2017 5:48:58 PM
<![CDATA[Oil painting workshop for beginners to be held at Darb 1718]]>
The workshop will cover all the subjects necessary for a beginner to walk away with a basic understanding of oil painting, with topics such as composition, size and keeping the picture proportionate to the canvas, perspective, color theory and color mixing.

Art instructor Roshan el-Qurashi will teach the workshop. Born in Egypt and received a BFA in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Qurashi teaches students of all levels and aims to empower their creative sense of self and their critical painting skills as well.

Participants are required to bring their own materials, including a canvas, painting oil, turpentine, flat brushes, a wooden palette and an oil dipper.
12/14/2017 4:34:25 PM
<![CDATA[Comedic play to stage Jesuit Cultural Center Alexandria ]]>

Directed by Ahmed Askar “Lailet Ekhtfaa’ El Nisr” will be performed by the Masrah Iskendria theatrical group.

Presented in a humorous fictional way, the play portrays the consequences of the disappearance of the Egyptian eagle emblem, which is printed on official government documents.

The play, based on the book by Omar Taher, entitled “Rasf Masr” (2010), sheds light on the notion of what happens when any Egyptian official document is not authenticated with the famous eagle stamp.

Also printed on the Egyptian flag, the eagle refers to home and emphasizes idealistic values. While the red color of the flag symbolizes the social A class, white presents the middle class, and black reflects the lower class.

The upcoming performance is a part of the PerForm Forum events taking place from December 13 to December 21. ]]>
12/14/2017 4:33:19 PM
<![CDATA[Indian drama film ‘Village Rockstarts’ to screen at EFCA]]>
Directed by Rima Das, The film revolves around a young girl in Indian village who has great passion for music and wants to establish her Rock band.

Released in 2017, the film won various awards from different festivals such as the Fathy Farag Prize for Best Artistic Contribution from Cairo Film Critics Week at Cairo International Film Festival 2017, the India Gold Award from Golden Gateway of India of Best Film, and the Best Film of Gender Equality from OXFAM Award at Mumbai Film Festival in 2017.]]>
12/14/2017 3:45:21 PM
<![CDATA[Aswan Women's Film Festival to honor director Youssef Chahine]]>
The festival, now in its second edition, will run from February 20 to February 26 in Aswan. Talking to Ahram Online, festival director Mohamed Abdel Khalek stated that the festival will host a seminar titled “Women in Youssef Chahine’s Cinema.”

Chahine frequently featured women in the leads of his films and took care to highlight their issues. The seminar will include the likes of directors Yousry Nasrallah, Gaby Khoury, Sherif Mandour, Khaled Youssef and others who worked with Chahine behind the scenes.

Born on January 25, 1926 in Alexandria, Chahine has been considered one of Egypt’s greatest directors, having filmed a wide variety of films for over five decades. He debuted in 1950 with "Baba Amin" and his second film, "Son of the Nile" in 1951 was invited to participate in the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Abdel Khalek, in a report for Al-Ahram online’s Arabic website, stated that "Baba Amin" already showcased strong female characters and Chahine’s interest in writing them.
“We are celebrating Chahine as one of the filmmakers that have raised Egyptian cinema to international acclaim, as well as his support for women and their issues,” Abdel Khalek stated.]]>
12/14/2017 3:44:17 PM
<![CDATA[Berlin's town hall takes techno scene under its wing]]>
But in Berlin -- known for its nightlife and understated cool -- the town hall is stepping in to defend its legendary techno scene.

"Techno culture has given so much to Berlin, using some taxpayer money to support it is the least we can do," says local Greens party lawmaker Georg Koessler, the initiative's most ardent supporter.

City representatives are set to approve Thursday a million-euro ($1.2 million) fund to cover soundproofing and additional staff to cool partygoers' exuberance, a big gesture for the chronically indebted administration.

They hope the cash can help brake a wave of closures that have struck in recent years.

Since 2011, 170 clubs have shut down their lasers, sound systems and smoke machines for good.

That leaves some 500 for the 3.5 million people of Germany's largest city and the armies of tourists disgorged from trains, planes and buses each weekend -- more than 12.7 million in 2016 according to official statistics.

"Politicians used to talk about Berlin clubs as something nice on the fringes," 32-year-old Koessler -- who still calls himself a dedicated clubber -- points out.

"But very surprisingly, even our opponents in the (conservative) CDU are suddenly very passionate about this subject, which they call the 'night economy'," he adds.

- Late-night lobby -

Many clubs sprang up after German reunification in 1990 in derelict or abandoned industrial spaces in the once-divided city's east.

Now with 30 years of experience, club owners won't limit themselves to waiting around for one-off handouts from city authorities.

"We're aware of the power we have, so we press home the benefit the city draws from us, from tourism to the property market to startups," says Lutz Leichsenring, spokesman for the "Club Commission" which counts some 220 of the city's best-known establishments among its ranks.

The latest campaign is for recognition as artistic venues, which could grant techno havens a seven percent VAT rate rather than the 19 percent paid by bars and restaurants.

Such cash incentives underpin noble sentiments about keeping the sacred techno flame alight.

"We want to stay on the sharp edge of contemporary music culture," says Leichsenring.

"If you're offering 'free entry for ladies' or 'buy one get one free' on beer, we're (Club Commission) not going to spring to your defence."

Techno pilgrimage site Berghain was the first to talk its tax rate down in 2016, convincing the state that clubgoers came for its line-ups of star DJs rather than booze, sex and drugs.

But Leichsenring argues that securing a tax break would be even more important for smaller venues without thousands besieging their doors each weekend.

"Big clubs like Berghain, which employs 200 people, are at least profitable, they can rely on their box office and the bar," he says.

Nurturing art means clubs "have to take risks, also musically speaking, and taking risk is always an economic question" that's especially off-putting for those only just clinging to life, Leichsenring said.

Without the economic security to test out exciting new musical departures, the edgy, avant-garde feel that made Berlin nights out legendary across Europe and beyond could disappear.

- Squeezed out? -

Both supply of and demand for world-class nightlife remain in abundance in the city on the river Spree for now.

But the Club Commission worries that mass party tourism, insistent noise complaints and inexorably rising rents will push the city past its peak and into terminal decline.

The gathering pace of gentrification in the capital could be "the death of clubs", Leichsenring fears.

Families on the balconies of their new-build apartment blocks are often loath to endure the beats pulsing endlessly into the night from graffiti-spattered former warehouses or factories.

Politicians should, however, remember the economic contribution that partying makes to the cash-strapped capital, the Club Commission insists.

"Let's be honest, young people aren't coming to Berlin at weekends in such numbers because there are nice shopping centres," Leichsenring points out.]]>
12/14/2017 3:43:04 PM
<![CDATA[Disney to buy Fox film, some TV businesses for $52 billion]]>
The deal brings to a close more than half a century of expansion by Murdoch, 86, who turned a single Australian newspaper he inherited from his father at the age of 21 into one of the world's most important global news and film conglomerates.

Shares of Fox fell more than 2 percent in premarket trading. Disney shares also edged lower.

Under the deal, Disney acquires significant assets from Fox, including the studios that produce the blockbuster Marvel superhero pictures and the "Avatar" franchise, as well as hit TV shows such as "The Simpsons."

Fox stockholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each share held and will end up owning about a quarter of Disney.

Disney’s global footprint also expands with the acquisition of Fox's international satellite assets, including Star TV network in India and a stake in European pay-TV provider Sky Plc .

The acquisition will give Disney a new pipeline of shows and movies as it battles technology companies spending billions of dollars on programming shown online to siphon audiences away from traditional TV networks.

Immediately before the acquisition, Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network into a newly listed company that it will spin off to its shareholders.

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, 66, will extend his tenure through the end of 2021 to oversee the integration of the Fox businesses. He has already postponed his retirement from Disney three times, saying in March he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.

"This gives us the ability to marry the great content of Fox with the great content of Disney, it gives us a much larger international footprint, and it enables us to use cutting-edge technology to reach consumers in far more compelling ways," Iger told ABC's "Good Morning America" program.

Iger said new technology would be necessary to meet the demands of viewers who want to access content anytime. Direct-to-consumer service is a top company priority, he added.

Disney will also assume about $13.7 billion of Fox's net debt in the deal.

Through Fox's stake in the Hulu video streaming service, Disney would assume majority control of one of Netflix Inc's main competitors. Hulu is also partially owned by Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc.

12/14/2017 3:41:32 PM
<![CDATA[A different Guantanamo: Detainee art on display in NY]]>
The pieces are all part of a surprising exhibit in New York with an unlikely source -- the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice is offering art lovers a chance to examine the works of eight presumed jihadists now or once held at the detention center, which has become a symbol of America's "war on terror" -- and of the excesses committed in its name.

The prison was opened in 2002 at the US naval base on Cuba's southern coast. Some 800 suspected jihadists, swept up by American forces in Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, have passed through its cells.

Former US president Barack Obama promised to close the prison amid reports of torture or arbitrary treatment.

But 41 detainees remain, and President Donald Trump, vowing a relentless war on extremists, wants to keep them there.

The exhibit of paintings and other objets d'art made by detainees is called "Ode to the Sea" and the water is indeed an omnipresent theme -- even though prisoners were able to see it only once.

Yemeni detainee Mohamad Ansi, whose work is seen here, is in some ways the man behind the exhibit, having asked for his work to be shown to the outside world

A 2014 hurricane briefly forced the US military to remove the tarps blocking the detainees' view, said Erin Thompson, a co-curator of the exhibit and an assistant art professor at John Jay.

- No 'glorification' -

While the sea apparently fed the dreams -- and the nightmares -- of detainees, it is also a theme that passes the rigorous standards of Guantanamo censors, who have rejected some artworks as "overly political or angry," Thompson said.

Censors did, however, approve a drawing entitled "Vertigo at Guantanamo" -- a dizzying spiral of blue, green and red dots.

Pakistani detainee Ammar al-Baluchi, the exhibit's only artist to have been charged formally over the 9/11 attacks, wanted to convey to his lawyers the precarious feeling he says he has suffered since being "tortured by the CIA," Thompson explained.

"This art is not here to glorify him as an artist -- it's here so we can learn about his experience, his life," she said.

Of the 30 works on display, 16 come from a single detainee: Muhammad Ansi, a Yemeni.

Released from Guantanamo and transferred to Oman in January 2017, Ansi is, in a way, the man behind the exhibit, explained his New York lawyer, Beth Jacob.

- 'Demonized' -

During their first meeting, Ansi spoke to her at length about the art courses that Guantanamo first offered in 2009, and he asked if his work could eventually be displayed in the outside world.

Jacob received clearance from Guantanamo officials to take a few of his works off the island, and she showed them to artist friends in New York.

Thus was born the idea of an exhibit. Other detainees, or former detainees who had left Guantanamo along with their artworks, asked to take part.

Pakistani detainee Ammar al-Baluchi told his lawyer he wanted his 'Vertigo' painting to convey the precarious feeling he says he has suffered while in prison at Guantanamo Bay

"What they hope by this is that people will see them not as the worst of the worst but as people, as humans, as people who have feelings and emotions, who appreciate beauty, who try to create that beauty.

"It's almost a cry for understanding."

For other detainees, the exhibit is a chance to "reaffirm (their) existence," said Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York, who has also represented Guantanamo detainees.

Yemeni detainee Moath al-Alwi -- the creator of the three-masted cardboard ship -- was one of the first to arrive in Guantanamo, in January 2002, after his arrest at the Afghan-Pakistan border.

"He has seen all these other prisoners leave, and he is still there for no real reason. He has never been charged, never been tried, so it is a form of disappearance, a form of erasure," Kassem said.

- 'Caged bird sings' -

Judging by the exhibit's guest book, visitors often leave feeling both surprised and moved.

"The caged bird sings," wrote one who did not leave a name.

"To be there all this time, and to be alone and just having an art class -- how important that must have been just to keep you sane," Robert Fulmer, a coffee importer from San Francisco, told AFP.

The exhibit has apparently caused a stir at the Pentagon, after reports that some patrons wanted to buy the works on display.

Spokesman Benjamin Sakrisson confirmed to AFP that the release of artworks from Guantanamo was being suspended amid a "re-examination" of the policy.

The Defense Department had not realized before the exhibit opened that works considered US property "could be sold," he said.

Thompson confirmed that some visitors to the exhibit, which runs through January 26, had expressed an interest in purchasing certain works.

But only those by former detainees would be made available for sale, she said.

Kassem said he feels certain the potential sales are only a pretext for the Pentagon to change course.

"The moment these prisoners begin to express themselves, that they are able to show that they are human beings like everyone else... that's a threat," Kassem said.

"It runs immediately counter to the narrative that justifies not only Gitmo but the entire war on terror."]]>
12/14/2017 3:41:24 PM
<![CDATA[Hayek details harrowing ordeal by 'monster' Weinstein]]>
"For years, he was my monster," the Mexican-born star wrote in an essay published in The New York Times, detailing the torturous production of the 2002 movie "Frida" that eventually earned Hayek an Oscar nomination for best actress.

After reaching a deal for Weinstein to pay for the rights to the movie that would eventually catapult her to household fame, the now 51-year-old actress and producer said it became "my turn to say no."

"No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location," she wrote.

"No to me taking a shower with him. No to letting him watch me take a shower. No to letting him give me a massage. No to letting a naked friend of his give me a massage. No to letting him give me oral sex. No to my getting naked with another woman."

Weinstein's "Machiavellian rage" accompanied every refusal and once included "the terrifying words, 'I will kill you, don't think I can't," she said.

After jumping through impossible demands set by Weinstein to keep the movie on track, Hayek said the sexual harassment stopped once filming began "but the rage escalated."

Weinstein berated her performance, chided her for a role that showed no sex appeal and agreed to let her finish only if she agreed to do a sex scene with another woman, and demanded "full-frontal nudity," she said.

When it came to shooting the scene, Hayek said she suffered a nervous breakdown and had to take a tranquilizer. When the movie was finished, Weinstein allegedly said it was not good enough for theatrical release and threatened to send it straight to video.

"Frida" -- a critically acclaimed biopic about the life of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo -- eventually won two Oscars and grossed more than $56 million at the box office.

"Until there is equality in our industry, with men and women having the same value in every aspect of it, our community will continue to be a fertile ground for predators," Hayek wrote.

"Men sexually harassed because they could. Women are talking today because, in this new era, we finally can."

More than 100 women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to rape since exposes published in the Times and The New Yorker in early October. The scandal has finished his career, upended his company and ended his marriage.

He denied Hayek's sexual abuse charges through a spokesperson.

"All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired," the spokesperson said.

And "by Mr Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of 'Frida' was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie -- and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor," the spokesperson added.]]>
12/14/2017 3:38:22 PM
<![CDATA[Mary J. Blige on her transformation for 'Mudbound']]>
Critics have lavished praise on the soul queen's magnetic turn as Florence Jackson, a stoic housewife in Dee Rees's civil rights drama "Mudbound," many noting how she disappeared completely into the role.

Blige, who got an acting coach to help her prepare, revealed at an awards season screening of the low-budget Netflix movie in Los Angeles last week that Rees wanted to strip away the star's diva persona.

"Dee just said, 'Get rid of Mary J. Blige, period' and it was hard to pull away from her because, you know, she's been around. But Dee kept her foot down and said Florence doesn't need to have anything to be beautiful," said Blige, 46.

"She really put into perspective the things that I was holding onto that deem me beautiful, like lashes and stupid stuff like that. But Florence liberated me once she was born. She helped give me a whole bunch of new confidence."

The New York native joined an exclusive club when she was nominated for best supporting actress and again, seconds later, for her song "Mighty River," written specially for the movie.

Only six performers had previously earned songwriting and acting nominations for the Globes, the last of them John C. Reilly for "Walk Hard" a decade ago.

The real icing on the cake came on Wednesday, when she was nominated for best supporting actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, seen as a better bellwether for Oscars success than the Globes.

- 'Mesmerizing' -

Rex Reed of the New York Observer describes Blige as "mesmerizing" in "Mudbound," while for Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, she "imbues Florence with such grit and radiant grace" that she deserves an Oscar nomination.

The adaptation of Hillary Jordan's 2009 novel tells the sprawling, epic story of a black and a white family living and working side by side in the rural American south during the Jim Crow era of segregation and open discrimination.

Bound together as tenant and owner on shared farmland in the Mississippi Delta, the relationship between the neighbors is strained when young men from each clan return from the horrors of World War II.

The film stands out as a rare example of a Western which employs women in the lion's share of creative jobs, with Rees relying on a trusted inner circle including cinematographer Rachel Morrison, makeup head Angie Wells, composer Tamar-kali, sound engineer Pud Cusack, and editor Mako Kamitsuna.

"I think women are the center, period. We always hold things together. We suffer quietly because we have to, but we are powerful people," said Blige, to cheers from the audience in Los Angeles.

Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige and director Dee Rees speak about "Mudbound" at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles on December 4, 2017
"Mudbound" co-stars Carey Mulligan and Jason Clarke as white sharecroppers Henry and Laura McAllan, Jason Mitchell as the Jacksons' eldest son Ronsel and Garrett Hedlund as Henry's brother Jamie.

A central theme of the movie is the manner in which people focus on their hatred of "the other" as a means of avoiding their own problems.

- Manifest destiny -

"After the hate goes away -- because it's something to hang onto, an excuse, an obstacle -- we're forced to deal with ourselves, and a lot of people don't want to deal with themselves," said Blige, who was speaking before her nominations were announced.

"That's where the problem comes in -- the world is afraid to look in the mirror. So I'm hoping that this film is making everyone look in the mirror, because it's definitely a direct reflection of where we are today."

In "Mudbound" that fear is manifested in the racist reaction to Ronsel and Jamie striking up a friendship after their return from Europe, but it is an issue which resonates beyond the Jim Crow era, says Rees.

"In school we're taught about manifest destiny and the patriots, and this idea of freedom, but we never really interrogate what those founders did in the name of these ideals," the 40-year-old filmmaker said.

"This film invites us to investigate our personal inheritance -- how did we come by this land and this labor? -- and that translates to now... Because we haven't looked at ourselves as a country, we continue to have this cyclical behavior."

Clarke ("Everest," "Zero Dark Thirty") lamented the "lazy and bloated" ubiquity of blockbuster franchises, calling on actors to commit to projects like "Mudbound" that were "about something."

"It's personal responsibility, and I think it's really important as we come to this part of the year when we're celebrating great filmmaking," he said.

"Great films, timely films, are super important and it's very rare that a film gets ahead of the game... This is one of them and that's truly why I think this film will last."]]>
12/14/2017 3:36:38 PM
<![CDATA[Four jailed in Singapore over forged Ed Sheeran tickets]]>
The Australian, 56-year-old Paul Cosgrove, was sentenced Wednesday after admitting that he abetted Briton Martin Keane in a scheme to sneak fans into the British singer-songwriter's sold-out concert in the city-state using the fake tickets.

Keane, 60, was jailed last month after pleading guilty to his role in the crime, alongside two men from New Zealand, Scott Penk and Michael Hardgrave, who also admitted to selling forged tickets to the November 12 concert.

In the first case, Cosgrove gave fake passes to Keane, who used them to take fans past security into the stadium where the concert was taking place, charging them Sg$250 to Sg$300 (US$185 to US$220) each, according to court documents.

The official price of tickets for the concert was between Sg$108 and Sg$248. Sheeran played two dates in Singapore, on November 11 and 12, as part of his tour of Asia.

Keane took four fans into the concert on two separate occasions but was stopped on his third attempt by security staff, who discovered he was using a fake ticket and detained him.

Cosgrove was caught 10 days later by immigration officials as he attempted to cross into neighbouring Malaysia.

The pair from New Zealand obtained several forged passes outside the November 12 concert from unknown individuals.

Hardgrave, 30, used them to bring several fans into the stadium in exchange for a fee before he and Penk, 34, were spotted by security staff and detained.]]>
12/14/2017 3:34:47 PM
<![CDATA[Photo Story: Reflecting elephant kindness in contemporary art]]>
The Exhibition [Photo Courtesy: Taken by Rana Atef]

Through his 15 exhibited artworks, Dafrawy highlights the irony shown through the elephant. Despite its huge size, it is gentle and kind.

Following different painting techniques, Dafrawy mixes various colors in the same painting. For example, he mixes different degrees of green and red to reflect the mood of fatherhood and the elephant’s connection with nature.

Elephant and its son [Photo Courtesy: Taken by Rana Atef]

Elephant as a leader [Photo Courtesy: Taken by Rana Atef]

Walking elephant [Photo Courtesy: Taken by Rana Atef]

Dafrawy also focuses on social behavior of elephants such as moving in herds.

Elephants while moving in herds [Photo Courtesy: Taken by Rana Atef]

One of the masterpieces of the exhibition displays the elephant as a reflection of the world. Dafrawy includes many elements of everyday life such as women, churches, mosques, traffic, cars and houses in his piece.

Elephant and the world [Photo Courtesy: Rana Atef]

Born in 1982, Dafrawy is one of the most ambitious contemporary artists in Egypt due to his outstanding usage of colors and symbols.

Fragmented from a promotional material [Photo Courtesy: Event official Facebook page]

He participated in different exhibitions and received the Prince Nouf award at a drawing competition in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia back in 1993.

Fragmented from a promotional material [Photo Courtesy: Event official Facebook page]

Artist Ahmed El Dafrawy, his fiancé, his mother, and Al Kahila Art Gallery’s owner Fadia Rizk [Photo Courtesy: Al Kahila Art Gallery]

Artist Ahmed Dafrawy biography [Photo Courtesy: Al Kahila Art Gallery]
12/14/2017 12:52:37 PM
<![CDATA[Pink Floyd tribute band to perform at Room Art Space & Café ]]>“The Things You Say” is extracted from Pink Floyd’s song “Fearless.”
“I look down hear the sound of the things you said today
Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd, smiling,”
–Extracted from Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.”

The band Paranoid Eyes is one of the most successful tribute Rock bands in Egypt. It was formed in 2015; the band performed a number of successful shows at Madar and Darb 1718.

The band covers Pink Floyd music in addition to some compositions by Roger Waters and David Gilmour.

The band consists of Wissam Sultan on guitar and vocals, Ahmed Radwan on keyboards and background sound effects, Ramy Nabil on rhythm guitar, Waleed Shabaan on drums and backing vocal and Bassem abo Arab on bass guitar.
Last week, Paranoid Eyes gave an extraordinary performance at Bab 18. ]]>
12/14/2017 12:30:13 PM
<![CDATA[Christopher Plummer turns 88]]>

Plummer was born in Toronto, 1929, an only child. He first had aspirations of becoming a professional pianist, but realized it was too lonely a job for him. Thus Plummer shifted his aspirations towards the realm of acting. While training as a stage actor, Plummer was discovered by English producer Eva Le Gallienne. After stints in various plays and TV roles, Plummer would breakthrough with his performance in the beloved 1965 musical “The Sound of Music” by director Robert Wise.

Egypt Today looks over some of his roles across his long, rich career.

The Sound of Music (1965)

Plummer’s portrayal of Navy Captain Georg Von Trapp, a lonely widower who hires young nun Maria (Julie Andrews) to look after his children, turned him into an international star, with the striking musical romance between Trapp and Maria in 1930’s Austria has gone down as one of Hollywood’s most beloved relationships.

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

Director John Huston casts Plummer in the shoes of famed British author Rudyard Kipling, who features in this film adaptation of one of the writer’s books as himself. The plot follows two ex-soldiers in India who decide to become the kings of a Himalayan warzone known as Kafiristan. The film also starred Sean Connery and Michael Caine.

The Insider (1999)

Directed by Michael Mann, this biographical thriller follows a chemical researcher, Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) who decides to risk everything and appear on the CBS-TV news show ’60 Minutes’ to expose the corruption behind the tobacco industry. Plummer portrays journalist Mike Wallace, who interviews Wigand, and Al Pacino co-stars as 60 minutes producer Lowell Bergman.

The Last Station (2009)

This historical drama from Michael Hoffman portrays the later life of Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Plummer) and the struggle he faces after his wife Sofya (Helen Mirren), as she asks for him to leave his writings and money to her in his will, while those in Tolstoy’s movement believe he should leave everything to the Russian people.

Beginners (2010)

Director Mike Mills directs this story about graphic designer Oliver (Ewan McGregor) who grieves the recent death of his father Hal (Plummer), and flashbacks four years back to the death of his mother, which prompts Hal to come out as gay and live a new life. As Oliver struggles to come to terms with this new side of his father, he too embarks on his own journey in life by dating a French actress. Plummer won his first Oscar award, for ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’, and also became the oldest winner of an Oscar.

Remember (2015)

Atom Egoyan casts Plummer as elderly Auschwitz survivor Zev Gutman, who lost his family in the Holocaust. He recently learns that the Nazi who murdered them is still hiding out somewhere in America, and so he enlists the help of fellow survivor Max Rosenbaum (Martin Landau) to help track him down to enact justice. His journey leads him across the country, cumulating in a shocking truth. ]]>
12/13/2017 7:28:50 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt part of 21st century's largest Surrealist exhibition]]>
Egypt will be represented by Olesya Novik, a Ukrainian/Egyptian artist. The other African countries participating are Nigeria, Algeria and Morocco. The exhibition is the biggest Surrealist showcase of the 21st century, bringing together the works of over 100 artists worldwide across 48 countries. Artwork of all kinds, such as drawings, photographs, sculptures and more will be displayed in the exhibit, with public monuments across Portugal as well.

Portuguese artist Santiago Ribeiro is the mastermind of the event, which he started back in 2010. According to a press release statement reported by Ahram Online, Ribeiro was happy to feature works from Africa.

“Africa has strong cultural influences and a role to play on the international scene due to the large African presence in Portugal, especially from the five Afro-Portuguese countries. It is only natural that African art is included and showcased in this international art exhibit,” he stated.

The exhibition will be held in the Multimedia POROS Museum in Condeixa village, Portugal.]]>
12/13/2017 6:11:34 PM
<![CDATA[Acoustic night by Hania Fansa at Bab 18]]>
Hania Fansa is a rising Egyptian singer and songwriter; she has a great passion towards various genres of arts and music.

Evoking audience feelings and perceptions, Fansa combines raw alternative Rock melodies with electric psychedelic Indie tunes.

Fansa collaborated with different musicians and artists such as guitarist Ibrahim el-Hadad, oud player Amir Morzak and singer Rania Shalaan.

She performed various concerts in different places such as Darb 1718, Egyptian Center for Culture and Art (MAKAN), Cairo Opera House, 3elbet Alwan, and Al-Rab3.

12/13/2017 4:57:10 PM
<![CDATA[Marwan Hamed to direct 'Adham Sabry, Man of the Impossible' ]]>
The project is considered a huge collaboration between the Producers Company and Film Clinic.

Currently, Hamed is working on the movie "Torab Al-Mas" (Diamond Dust) which is based on Egyptian popular author Ahmed Mourad’s novel of the same name.

"Ragol El-Mostaheel" is one of the most popular book series in Egyptian contemporary literature.

Consisting of more than 150 books that were published from 1984 to 2008, "Ragol El-Mostaheel" revolves around a secret agent called Adham Sabry who has super powers, like being fluent in most of the world’s spoken languages with their different dialects, and being an expert at different combat sports. ]]>
12/13/2017 4:12:17 PM
<![CDATA[Netflix and DreamWorks announce 6 new series]]>
Starting off the new lineup is a follow-up to DreamWorks 2016 feature film "Trolls," which picks up where the animated movie left and follows the adventures of the colorful, happy Trolls as they partake in various musical adventures. "Trolls – The Beat Goes On!" will premiere on January 19, 2018.

Next is a revival of the 80s animated He-Man spinoff character, “She-Ra,” twin sister of the muscle-bound hero and a “Princess of Power” on her own right. The new series will be executively produced by Eisner-award winning American animator Noelle Stevenson, who will adapt the character for a modern take.

Another Dreamworks follow-up adaptation is a Television series for DreamWorks 2017 film "The Boss Baby." "The Boss Baby: Back in Business," follows the titular Boss Baby as he struggles to maintain the proper work-life balance fit for a CEO infant.

A new original series titled "Harvey Street Kids" follows the adventures of the Harvey Girls, Audrey, Lotta, and Dot, as they guard the titular Harvey Street and ensure it as the best place possible to be as a kid. The series will be produced by Brendan Hay of "Dawn of the Croods" & "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and Aliki Theofilopoulos of "Phineas & Ferb."

The third and final Dreamworks follow-up, "The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants" continues the outrageous adventures of George Beard and Harold Hutchins, best friends and trouble makers who bring their greatest creation, Captain Underpants, to life! An adaptation of Dav Pilkey’s book series, the series directly follows this year’s "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" and will be produced by Peabody and Emmy award winner Peter Hastings.

"The Shape of Water" director Guillermo Del Toro’s Netflix series "Trollhunters" will see its second season premiere on Friday, December 15, of this year, with the third and final chapter of the show to release in 2018. "Trollhunters" is the first of Del Tor’s "Tales of Arcadia’ trilogy," which will be followed up by "3 Below" in late 2018 and follows a pair of royal alien teenagers as they crash-land on earth to escape an evil dictator. "Wizards," the final installment of the trilogy, is set to release in 2019.]]>
12/13/2017 3:51:50 PM
<![CDATA[From Mohamed Salah to Shadia, Google releases Egypt’s “Year in Search”]]>
“More than a billion people come to Google Search everyday to learn, discover, and find answers. Google’s 2017 Year in Search showcases the people, topics, events, and places that captured the world’s attention this year. There are many ways to explore the year through the lens of Google Search — from Egypt’s qualification to the 2018 World Cup, to the passing of the iconic artist Shadya, this year’s results are reflective of what truly captured people’s attention over the past year. We are happy to see that Google was part of people’s everyday lives as they searched for some of this year’s most important moments” said Joyce Baz, Head of Communications for Google in the Middle East and North Africa.

The lists include the top trending searches, people, events, sports personalities, shows, songs, and foods in Egypt. The data is generated by looking at an aggregation of trillions of searches (or queries) that people searched on Google this year. The lists are then filtered of spam and repeat queries to build lists that best reflect the spirit of 2017.

Similar to last year, school examinations topped the most trending searches list. This was an important year for football in Egypt, with several sports-related queries topping the news events and general searches list. Also, four sports personalities were in the top 10 trending people list, which was topped by Al Ahly Club’s new president Mustafa Al Khatib.

The news events list was mainly dominated by local events such as the Al Wahat Attack with Hurricane Irma being the only international incident to make the list. Similarly, the top trending songs list was topped by Cairokee’s and Tarek El Sheikh’s Al Keif, followed by Despacito.

Here are the most trending search queries in Egypt in 2017:

Results of Primary certificate
World Cup draw
Selsal Al Dam series
El Keif song
Professional Academy for Teachers
Egyptian Knowledge Bank
Egypt and Cameroon football game
Al Ahly SC elections
Mahmoud El Khatib
Ahmed Shafik
Jamila Awad
Abdel Salam
Wafaa El Kilany
Mahmoud Taher
Nader Ahmed
Essam El-Hadary
Mohamed Salah
Soccer – African Cup of Nations – Semi Finals – Burkina Faso vs. Egypt – Stade de l'Amitie – Libreville, Gabon – 1/2/17 Egypt's Mohamed Salah celebrates after the game – Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Essam Elhadary celebrating - Press image courtesy by Karim Abdel Aziz

News Events
World Cup draw
Al Ahly SC elections
Shadia’s funeral
Subsidies card reform
Al Wahat incident
Tourist pilgrimage results
Hurricane Irma
Zamalek club elections
Warraq Island
Tiran and Sanafir
shadia funeral
Shadia being transferred through the funeral at Sayeda Nefisa Mosque – Photo (archive)

Still scene from “El-Mara’a el-Maghola” (The Anonymous Woman) film showing Late actress/ singer Shadia – Photo courtesy of Youtube
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi visits freed Police Captain Mohamed al-Hayes in the hospital, after the latter was being held in terrorists' captivity.

El Keif
Ela’ab Yala
Mezmar Abd Elsalam
Betnadiny Tany Leh
Am Ya Sayad
Dala’a Takatek
3 Daqat
Me’addy El Nas
Amr Diab’s new Album

Selsal El Dam
Kafr Delhab
Ramez Taht El Ard
Afareet Adly Allam
El Ostoora
Shakshak Show
Heba Regl El Ghorab
Lam’y El Ott
Hany Haz El Gabal
MoviesGawab Eatekal
Horoub Edterary
Laf w Dawaran
Yabani Asly
Fast and Furious 8
Abo Shanab
Akher Deek F Masr
El Khaleya
El Erd Byetkalm

Egypt vs. Cameroon
Al Ahly vs. El Taragy
Egypt vs. Ghana
Egypt vs. Mali
Egypt vs. Burkina Faso
Egypt vs. Uganda
Egypt vs. Tunisia
Al Ahly vs. Wydad AC
Egypt vs. Morocco
Al Ahly vs. Étoile Sportive du Sahel

How to cook Artichoke
How to make Yoghurt
How to make Soft Ghoriba
How to cook Molten Cake
Beef Ghoulash
Bread crumbs
Kunafa with cream
Syrian Garlic Dip
Kunafa with Mango
12/13/2017 3:46:32 PM
<![CDATA[Min. of Antiquities starts renovating Al-Amir Taz Palace ]]>
Mohamed Abdel Aziz, Historical Cairo project general manager stated in a Ministry of Antiquities official press statement that the Ministry of Antiquities will be financing the project.

Amir Taz Palace is one of the most stunning historical palaces of Medieval Cairo; it was constructed by Prince Saif al-Din Taz in 1352. Currently, it is used for hosting cultural and artistic events.

Al-Sadat House is one of Cairo’s historical houses; it was constructed by Sheikh Mohamed el-Sadat in 1754. Its architectural style was influenced by the Ottomans. ]]>
12/13/2017 2:47:39 PM
<![CDATA['Pottery Day for the Family' to take place at Darb 1718]]>
Parents and their children can learn about manual work and various methods that go into pottery, with tools and materials provided by Darb 1718.

The instructor is Abdel Hakim Sayed, director of the Foustat Traditional Crafts Centre and a member of the Plastic Arts Syndicate. Sayed helped establish the Pottery village in Old Cairo and participated in the second, fourth and sixth editions of the Youth Salon, and he is also part of the Cairo International Ceramic Biennale.]]>
12/13/2017 2:26:27 PM
<![CDATA[Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle to spend Christmas with UK royals]]>
Last month, Queen Elizabeth's grandson, the fifth-in-line to the British throne, and Markle, who stars in the U.S. TV legal drama "Suits", announced their engagement with the marriage to take place at Windsor Castle in May next year.

The queen and her close family usually spend the festive season at her Sandringham estate in eastern England and Buckingham Palace said she and the other senior royals would attend the service at the local church on Christmas Day as they have done for many years.

However, in a break with tradition by which royal partners must wait until they are married before being invited, Markle would also be joining Harry's elder brother William and his wife Kate, the prince's office Kensington Palace said.

"You can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Ms Markle at Sandringham on Christmas Day," a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

British media said it was unprecedented for an unmarried partner to join the royals at Christmas and that Kate was not invited to Sandringham after their engagement was announced in 2010. However, William also did not attend as he was working as an air ambulance pilot in Wales at the time.]]>
12/13/2017 2:11:40 PM
<![CDATA[Drama film ‘Killer of Sheep’ to screen at Cimatheque ]]>
Directed and written by Charles Burnett, “Killer of Sheep” sheds light on African-American society in Watts, LA. The film revolves around a slaughterhouse worker called Stan; he tries to overcome his hatred of his work.

“Killer of Sheep” stars Henry G. Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, and Angela Burnett.

Although it was first released in 1978, the film had a reissue in 2007 after it was converted from a 16 millimeter to a 35 millimeter print.

It was selected by National Film Preservation Board as National Film Registry in 1980, and it won a special award from the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in 2007. ]]>
12/13/2017 2:07:48 PM
<![CDATA['A Christmas Carol' to screen at Bibliotheca Alexandrina]]>
Based on "A Christmas Carol" novella by Charles Dickens, the plot revolves around a cold-hearted man who is visited by many ghosts that come to him to change his life during Christmas. The film was aired for the first time in 1977.

Directed by Moria Armstrong, "A Christmas Carol" stars Micheal Hordern, John Le Mesurier, and Bernard Lee.

Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" is one of the common Christmas ghost stories. It was published in 1843. Dickens was inspired by exploring and examining Christmas traditions' origins in the British society. ]]>
12/13/2017 1:53:07 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Step to perform at Alexandria Opera House ]]>
There will be two more performances held at the Damanhur Opera House on December 15 and the Cairo Opera House on December 17.

Basem Darwisch [Photo Courtesy: Cairo Opera House Media Office]

Several Egyptian musical icons will take part in the concerts, such as international flutist and Cairo Opera House Director Enas Abdel Dayem, and chanter Ehab Yunis.

They will perform selections from their compositions such as "Flying Carpet," "Siwa," "Anbar," and "Memories."

Ehab Yunis [Photo Courtesy: Cairo Opera House Media Office]

Adopting Jazz concepts such as peace, unity and collaboration, Cairo Steps merges international Jazz tunes with oriental grooves and classic European music, according to Cairo Steps founder Basem Darwisch.

Cairo Steps is an international spiritual/Jazz ensemble founded in 2002; they performed numerous concerts in Europe and Egypt.

Caption: Angelika Loew Beer [Photo Courtesy: Cairo Opera House Media Office]

The band consists of: Basem Darwisch on oud, Sebastian Müller-Schrobsdorff on piano, Stefan Hergenröder on e-bass, Rageed William on duduk & nay, Max Klaas on percussions, Wolfgang Wittemann on saxophone, Ragy Kamal on kanoun, Jan Boshra on cello, Emad Azmy on violin, Shereen Azmy on violin, Angelika Loew Beer on violin and Maria Voigt on violin.

Maria Voigt [Photo Courtesy: Cairo Opera House Media Office] ]]>
12/13/2017 12:45:53 PM
<![CDATA[French Institution to review "Arabian Nights" manuscripts]]>
The conference includes a talk and presentation of the Egyptian manuscripts of the original stories in the "One Thousand and One Nights." These manuscripts were recorded in Egypt and are composed of four manuscript volumes that were copied down in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century.

The review gives an overview of the manuscripts from an archaeological perspective. IFAO invites archaeology enthusiasts and people interested in oriental history to attend; the conference will be followed by an open discussion, a question session and cocktails.

IFAO is a French public research institute that was created in 1880 and researches Egyptian archaeology, history, and languages. Its mission is to study the cultures that formed the Egyptian civilization through the ages. The institute is part of a network of French schools across the world and is supervised by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. ]]>
12/13/2017 12:39:39 PM
<![CDATA[Storyteller Boola Samy to perform in Magnolia Leaves of Art]]>
Boola Samy is a writer and a mentor. He published a story collection in 2017 titled “Dawsha” (Noise). Samy has performed in various venues in Cairo; he has also written scripts for a number of film productions including the short film “The Doll House,” which received the “Best Film” title at the Opera House as part of the arts event for the French University in Egypt.

Samy has also worked on several articles for Al-Masry Al-Yom’s online magazine and runs a blog for the Arabic Huffington Post. As a creative writer, he has organized and conducted workshop sessions on the practice of creative writing in collaboration with the Egyptian NGO Media-Arts for Development (MADEV) as well as Noon Academy.

Boola Samy is a graduate of Al-Haya Institution and the House of Counseling; both are organizations that offer courses and certification for professional counselors. He gives lectures and talks in Cairo about mentoring and counseling and has done various studies on different kinds of therapeutic counseling.

Magnolia Leaves of Art is an art space that hosts various cultural activities and events including film screenings, performances, exhibitions, and workshops. ]]>
12/13/2017 11:55:44 AM
<![CDATA[Min of Antiquities releases book about Valley of the Queens]]>
Hesham al-Leithy, general manager of the Center for Documentation and Study of Ancient Egypt, explains that the book is a part of a series of scientific books published annually by the Center. He adds that it is the first book that specifically discusses the graves of the Valley of the Queens, according to the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Antiquities.

The book is published in French and English; it gives a detailed and complete history of the site and describes the locations of each of the ancient graves. It also provides an account of the people buried in the graves, with descriptions based on the artifacts, painted motifs and interpretations of the wall engravings found at the graves.

The Center for the Documentation and Study of Ancient Egypt has published a number of scientific books on ancient Egyptian sites, including a book on Nubian temples and one on the Beni Hassan Cemetery located in Minya. ]]>
12/13/2017 11:35:13 AM
<![CDATA[Naguib Mahfouz Museum to open to public by end of December]]>
Halls within the Naguib Mahfouz Museum – Photo courtesy of Ministry of Culture press release

Minister of Culture Helmy al-Namnam and President of the Cultural Development Fund Fathy Abdel-Wahab paid a visit to the museum under construction. During their visit, they made checks of its construction progress, and listened to a detailed explanation of the preparations underway with Tarek Khedr, sector director of the Maintenance of Palaces and Monuments, and Yasmine Nasr, architect and director of the Naguib Mahfouz Museum project.

Halls within the Naguib Mahfouz Museum – Photo courtesy of Ministry of Culture press release

The minister emphasized the importance of overcoming any difficulties facing construction and maintaining an open connection between the project and the Ministry of Culture for the quick resolution of any problems. The museum will open as soon as possible, according to the Ministry of Culture’s official Facebook page. ]]>
12/13/2017 11:04:08 AM
<![CDATA[20 Bosnian hands on one piano set new world record]]>
The participants trained for three months for their joint performance of French composer Albert Lavignac's late-19th-century oddity "Galop-Marche" which he wrote originally for eight hands.

The event took place in the Sarajevo City Hall, which has been restored after going up in flames during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

Each player used one hand to play the piece. Their feat must be still be officially recognised by the Guinness World Records team but beats the record set by 18 young Italians in 2014.

Tuesday's performance was by children aged 9 to 15 from Sarajevo's Croat-Muslim and Serbia communities.

In a still divided country, the concert was "a message of peace, love and friendship," said music teacher Iva Pasic, who led the preparations for the performance.

Today Srebrenica is a microcosm of Bosnia, with Muslims and Serbs living side by side but by no means together -- still distrustful more than two decades after the war that claimed 100,000 lives and displaced two million people.

Tuesday's act of very close togetherness "was very difficult at first because everyone had to find a place around the piano," said 14-year-old Ivana Sagolj, one of the young pianists.

"But today, after three months of practice, I am very proud of everyone," she added.]]>
12/13/2017 11:00:27 AM
<![CDATA[Netflix carries many surprises for binge-watched in 2018 ]]>
According to the press release, March 18 saw the highest streaming traffic of the year in Egypt. "Stranger Things" got the highest Egyptian views. According to the release, Netflix is still searching for the Egyptian viewer who has watched "Kung Fu Panda" 162 times this year. Many Egyptians became faithful fans of Netflix because of shows like "Greenleaf," "American Vandal," "Suburra," "Blood on Rome," among others.

Netflix is an American entertainment company that provides online streaming for different shows and movies. According to a study conducted by Netflix, Netflix members around the world watched more than 140 million hours of content per day. Also, the release presented the 10 shows that received the most views globally; "Stranger Things," "13 Reasons Why," and "A Series of Unforgettable Events," among others.

Netflix viewers worldwide proved that they enjoy watching Netflix shows, urging Netflix to hope 2018 will be similar to 2017. ]]>
12/13/2017 10:28:20 AM
<![CDATA[Contemporary artists deliver life forms at Safarkhan Gallery]]>
Contemporary artist Salah Abdelkarim – photo courtesy of Safarkhan art gallery

Egyptian artists, Salah Abdel Kerim and Kamal Khalifa, are well known for introducing the world of contemporary art to the Egyptian artistic scene in the mid-90s, among other Egyptian pioneers.

Paintings from “A date with Pioneers” – photo courtesy of Safarkhan art gallery

Salah Abdel Kerim has constructed his artistic life on surrealism, a remarkable artistic type of contemporary art; then he roamed the world, developing his artistic capabilities and getting rewarded for his artistic creations.

Paintings from “A date with Pioneers” – photo courtesy of Safarkhan art gallery

Among the many prizes Abdel Kerim received is the first prize for sculpture at the Biennale of Alexandria in 1959. In 1961, Rene Huyghe included his sculpture "Cry of the Beast" in his book "Art and Man" together with the work of the great Picasso and Muller under the title of "The energy of Form."

Paintings from “A date with Pioneers” – photo courtesy of Safarkhan art gallery

Unlike other Egyptian pioneers, Kamal Khalifa studied at the faculty of plastic arts. Khalifa has won the first award of Cairo Salon in 1964 as well as other awards from Mokhtar’s Salon and the Biennale of Alexandria. During his artistic life, khalifa has displayed his art work at the Museum of Modern Art, Ekhnatoun Gallery in 1964 and Alexandria Atelier; in addition, several exhibitions displayed his work after his departure.

contemporary artist Kamal Khalifa – photo courtesy of Safarkhan art gallery

"Melodies of conflicts" is another contemporary art exhibition held at the SAFARKHAN Art Gallery, where artist Ahmed Farid is having his second consignment of paintings on display from November 29 to December 29.

Paintings from “A date with Pioneers” – photo courtesy of Safarkhan art gallery ]]>
12/13/2017 10:26:54 AM
<![CDATA[New York Philharmonic quickly raises needed cash]]>
Deborah Borda, who took over as president and chief executive officer of the Philharmonic earlier this year, said that private donors had committed the sum over the past several months.

"These gifts will have a powerful and immediate impact on the Philharmonic -- including balanced budgets over the next several seasons," Borda and the orchestra's incoming music director, Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden, said in a joint statement.

Like many classical music institutions in the United States, where public funding for culture is less significant than in much of Europe, the New York Philharmonic has been beset for years by deficits that have cast a pall over operations.

Borda led the New York Philharmonic in the 1990s before heading west to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she won praise for securing financial health for the orchestra.

Since Borda returned to New York, the Philharmonic scrapped an ambitious $500 million project to reconstruct its home in the Lincoln Center arts complex, instead seeking less sweeping renovations.

Entertainment mogul David Geffen had donated $100 million for the rebuilding of the hall, which has been renamed after him. After the Philharmonic scrapped the plan, he criticized wealthy New Yorkers for failing to raise enough money to move ahead.]]>
12/13/2017 9:46:01 AM
<![CDATA[Gwyneth Paltrow brings The Go-Gos to Broadway]]>
The Hollywood star was announced Tuesday as a producer for "Head Over Heels," an upcoming musical that will trace the story of the rockers known for infectious pop-rock songs such as "Vacation."

"If you told us 30 years ago that our songs were going to be in a musical, we'd have said, 'Of course they'll be on Broadway!' None of us would have really believed it, though," The Go-Gos said in a statement.

The Curran Theatre in San Francisco announced Tuesday that "Head Over Heels" would premiere there on April 24 before heading to New York, with the Broadway details not yet revealed.

A statement described the musical on The Go-Gos as "a tantalizing odyssey wrought with mistaken identities, jealous lovers, romance and scandal."

It marks the first production on Broadway for the "Shakespeare in Love" actress. The musical will be directed by Michael Mayer, the force behind rock musicals such as Green Day's "American Idiot" and "Spring Awakening."

The New York Post, quoting unnamed sources, reported earlier this year that Paltrow refused an offer to invest in "Head Over Heels" from Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who soon afterward was disgraced by wide accusations of sexual abuse.

The Go-Gos are one of the most successful all-women bands in a rock scene dominated by men. They emerged in Los Angeles in the 1970s, around the time Paltrow was growing up in the city.

Go-Gos frontwoman Belinda Carlisle went on to a successful solo career with hits such as "Mad About You" and "Heaven Is a Place on Earth."]]>
12/13/2017 9:41:26 AM
<![CDATA[Princes William and Harry attend 'Star Wars' London premiere]]>
The British royals walked the red carpet dressed in tuxedos for the screening at London's Royal Albert Hall, where they were greeted by the rolling droid character BB-8 who dutifully bowed to the princes.

The two reportedly have cameo roles as stormtroopers in the film, after visiting the set in April 2016 when they were rumoured to have shot the scene.

William and Harry -- who recently announced his engagement to US actress Meghan Markle -- also met the cast of "The Last Jedi" and were presented with stormtrooper helmets.

Filmed at Pinewood Studios near London and on the west coast of Ireland, "The Last Jedi" is the eighth film in the space series and runs to a lengthy 153 minutes.

Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the films, said the longevity of "Star Wars" had seen his character make way for new stars.

It's like a bunch of kids rifling through my old toy box, playing with my toys... I love it!" he told AFP at the premiere.

Despite 40 years passing since the intergalactic saga first hit cinemas, the cast members of Rian Johnson's "Last Jedi" are convinced it still has contemporary relevance.

"I think it really deals with issues the world is facing at the moment, about politics which splits people apart and the spark of hope which is going to bring people back together again," Andy Serkis, who stars as Supreme Leader Snoke, told AFP.

Lupita Nyong'o, who plays the motion-captured character Maz Kanata, said the film was also important as a form of escapism.

"I think the importance of fantasy is that it allows us to first of all, escape from the world we're in for a second and it brings us all together and unifies us in a way, on a subject, in a way that other things don't," she said.

"And for a moment we get to forget our own worries and worry about the galaxy far, far away."]]>
12/13/2017 9:35:57 AM
<![CDATA[Saudi filmmakers, businessmen eye return of the silver screen]]>
At the Dubai International Film Festival on Tuesday, short-film directors talked shop on a seaside veranda, the city's iconic sailboat-shaped hotel in the background. And Saudi Arabia was on everyone's mind.

Director Hajar Alnaim wore her national pride in the form of a green Saudi flag pinned to her black abaya. She gushed as she recounted how she received the big news Monday.

"I posted a picture of me on the red carpet on Facebook and someone told me, 'What a coincidence! This is a great picture on a great day' ... I was like, 'what?'"

Alnaim took to Twitter to find out the buzz and was "shocked" to see her government had announced the immediate licensing of cinemas, with the first expected to open in March 2018.

The move is part of a modernisation drive by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is seeking to balance unpopular subsidy cuts in an era of low oil prices with more entertainment options -- despite opposition from religious hardliners.

Alnaim admits that she was once susceptible to those hardliners, but a Saudi government scholarship -- one of thousands of annual grants -- to study film in Los Angeles changed her world.

"I wasn't accepting. I wasn't even able to convince my family to go to Bahrain and let me watch a movie before I went to the United States to study film. My perspective has changed... my family's perspective has changed," she said.

Alnaim says her short-film "Detained" -- about a Syrian asylum seeker under interrogation by US Homeland Security over the actions of her father -- offers a window into the Muslim perspective, and that of the West.

- 500 kilometres -

One decade ago, Saudi filmmaker Abdullah al-Eyaf captured the longing of his countrymen for the silver screen in a documentary.

"Cinema 500 km" is the tale of a Saudi crossing his country's borders for the first time, just to see a film.

"It's funny, right?" remarked Hanaa Saleh Alfassi, a Saudi director taking part in the Dubai film fest.

"We're ready for a long time for all these bans to be lifted," she told AFP.

Alfassi's own film "Lollipop" also tackles restrictions, legal and social.

"It's a coming of age story about a girl who gets her period for the first time and decides to hide it from her family in order not to cover her face," she said.

Saudi women are required to wear a black abaya and veil, although the latter is arbitrarily enforced and in recent years some women have started showing their faces.

Alfassi's film was inspired by a pamphlet she used to see advising women to "protect" themselves by veiling, with an image of two lollipops.

"One is wrapped and has no flies and the other one is unwrapped and has flies."

But for her the message is misleading, because "in Saudi, most people are covered and they still get harassed".

When Alfassi's main character starts wearing the veil, she is "sexualised" by society and harassed by a friend's father.

Spoiler alert: the harasser confuses the protagonist and his daughter. One of the young women will eventually remove the covering...

Alfassi acknowledges that cinemas may start by screening "uncontroversial" selections, but she foresees the industry blossoming as Saudis become used to theatre-going.

"The cool thing about cinema is the film doesn't come to you. You're going to enjoy that film with strangers."

- Cinema gold -

Major cinema chains are clamouring to break into the untapped Saudi market, where the majority of the population is under 25.

US giant AMC Entertainment on Monday signed a non-binding agreement with Saudi Arabia's vast Public Investment Fund to build and operate cinemas across the kingdom.

It will face stiff competition from regional heavyweights, namely Dubai-based VOX Cinemas, the leading operator in the Middle East.

The CEO of VOX parent company Majid Al Futtaim, Alain Bejjani, told AFP on Monday his company was eager to expand into Saudi Arabia.

"We... are committed to developing Vox Cinemas in Saudi Arabia and (to) make sure that every one of our Saudi customers will have a Vox Cinema close to them where they will be able to experience what they have been experiencing outside Saudi Arabia -- in Saudi Arabia," he said.

Bejjani predicts that cinemas will be "the cornerstone of a whole new economic sector", generating jobs and developing Saudi content and talent.]]>
12/13/2017 9:33:30 AM
<![CDATA[Bello-issima! Soprano's success gets Nigerians into opera]]>
But it's not the most surprising thing for the performer, Omo Bello. News of her appearance at the MUSON School of Music has attracted a crowd, even when it's only for a short rehearsal.

"I didn't realise to what extent I was recognised in Nigeria," the 33-year-old admitted after singing "O mio babbino caro", from Giacomo Puccini's 1918 opera "Gianni Schicchi".

"I've been away for over a decade and I guess things have changed and I didn't realise how much. When I was told that lots of people were coming, I was a little surprised.

"It's a pleasant surprise though, but still a surprise," she told AFP.

- Wider audiences -

Bello's story is becoming well-known in her native Nigeria and her adopted country, France.

She's the Lagos science student whose talent was spotted to win her a scholarship to study at the Paris Conservatoire, whose alumni include Georges Bizet, Claude Debussy and Jean Michel Jarre.

Tours have followed, with an album and awards, including one from the foundation of the late legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and a repertoire that now ranges from Bellini to Verdi.

Back in Nigeria for Christmas before a return to Europe and concerts in Britain, Bello, like many long-term expatriates, reflects on changes back home.

In a country associated more with Afrobeat and Highlife than Albinoni or Haydn, she said the internet has created new audiences for different musical styles from abroad.

"I know that lots of people discovered me on YouTube in Nigeria and social media, so it's a good thing, as people see and hear this music (opera) and are surprised that it's very beautiful," she said.

"The fact that it's open to everyone creates a wider audience, so I'm very happy to discover that the public is growing for this music in Nigeria."

- 'Music is music' -

Nigerian success internationally, whether in sports, science or the arts, has often involved young talent being nurtured overseas because of more limited opportunities back home.

South Africa, in contrast, has produced a number of opera singers and has its own professional opera companies.

But Marion Akpata, the director of the School of Music run by the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), said there is potential for more performers like Bello because of the country's rich tradition of music, particularly in churches.

"Music is an integral part of the Nigerian culture," said Akpata, a New Yorker who studied at the Crane School of Music and first moved to Nigeria in the 1960s.

"Everything is done with music. A baby is born, music. People die, music. And of course, all the activities in between birth and death (are) accompanied by music...

"Music is music. When Bach was composing, somebody was doing music here in Nigeria. And maybe he didn't write it down but people were performing."

The MUSON School of Music, founded in 1989, is Nigeria's leading -- if not only -- institution for teaching Western classical music.

Sixty students are currently on a two-year diploma course that covers performance and theory. Opera is part of the syllabus.

Akpata sees no reason why opera cannot thrive in Nigeria because of its universal themes, regardless of differences in language.

"Just think of the world's most popular opera, (Bizet's) 'Carmen'. The story of Carmen can be transposed into every country and every kind of culture," she said.

"It's just a matter of doing it."

- Musical development -

The school's opera teacher, Joseph Oparamanuike, said students have now performed three operas, including Mozart's "The Magic Flute", in initiatives that have spurred greater interest from audiences.

"People are asking for more and more. There are many people who are really wanting this high level of performance," said Oparamanuike, an alumnus of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Bello said she wants to share "how wonderful music is... like flowers that I picked in the garden", bringing to the stage her unique background and experiences as a young African woman.

But as an increasingly established performer, she also recognises the need to help develop the genre and would like to see Nigeria with its own conservatoire and opera house.

Using recent graduates of Europe's top music academies to help develop performers in places like Nigeria could help identify and nurture the next generation of talent, she suggested.

"African music has gone to the West and why should the opposite be impossible?" she said.]]>
12/13/2017 9:30:33 AM
<![CDATA[Weird but cute: Japan's capsule toys play big in Internet age]]>
The industry is now worth an estimated 30 billion yen ($265 million), with the fastidious attention to detail in the toys appealing to the Japanese sense of precision along with a well-documented love of all things "kawaii" or cute.

One store, in Tokyo's famous Akihabara electronics district, is crammed with around 500 capsule toy vending machines stretching out as far as the eye can see.

"When I see something I want, I keep on turning the crank until I get it," said Shota Makita, a 23-year-old careworker on the hunt for a fun toy.

"There's a sense of excitement about not knowing what I'll get," said Makita, one of a growing number of adult consumers of capsule toys, known as "gachagacha" or "gachapon" in Japanese after the cranking sound.

Store manager Yo Kono says the customer base has changed in the 16 years the shop has been open.

"At the beginning, visitors were mainly male anime fans... but recently the number of customers is growing with more female visitors and foreign tourists," Kono said.

- 'Cheap and Instagram-worthy' -

Capsule toys have been around for more than 40 years but the craze really took off in 2012 when Tokyo-based manufacturer Kitan Club launched its "Koppu no Fuchico" ("Fuchico at the edge of a glass") product.

This figurine of a woman wearing a typical office worker's clothes, whose arms or legs were designed to hang over the edge of a glass, became an instant hit with adults.

"We never thought of targeting children. Their numbers are dwindling and adults have more money," said spokesman Seita Shiki.

Shiki chalks up the Fuchico capsule's success to the fact it is "cheap and Instagram-worthy."

Fans have been sharing photos of Fuchico on social media, which helped boost its popularity without the company even needing to advertise, he boasted.

Fuchico was launched just as social media started to be used widely. It fitted with the times."

Kitan Club, which makes various kinds of capsule toys, saw its sales grow from 800 million yen to 1.2 billion yen after the launch of the Fuchico series.

The capsule toy became so popular that the company was asked to create a pop-up shop at the cult Paris concept store Colette and to hold an exhibition in Taiwan.

- 'Very Japanese' -

Now many manufacturers are making capsule toys to appeal to adult consumers, helping to expand the market to around 100 new items each month.

Manufacturer Bandai, which occupies around 70 percent of the capsule toy market, said the products sell well because they are expertly made and they come in huge varieties.

When Bandai began making capsule toys exactly 40 years ago in 1977, the majority of them were cheap, sold mostly at 20 yen, and were of poor quality, general manager Toshikazu Saita said.

"A wide variety of quality products are available at only 200 or 300 yen. I think that's a reason why they're so popular now," said Saita.

He said the quality of the products was down to specialists who "hand-carve prototypes by paying attention to angles and colours."

The attention to detail is very Japanese," he said.

But to keep costs down, the actual toys are manufactured in China using the Japanese design as a prototype.

Shiki of Kitan Club agreed that attention to detail was what set Japanese capsule toys apart.

"For example, Fuchico's knees and elbows are slightly sprayed with red paint to make them look real," he explained.

"This adds one extra step but we feel we have to do this" even if it adds to the cost, he added.

It certainly appeals to Nana Sakuma, 26, who snapped up four capsule toys in the shape of Japanese food stalls from machines in the Akihabara store.

She said: "I'm really happy to find toys that are so real. When I see real things turned into miniatures, I find them irresistibly cute. I cannot help but buy them."]]>
12/13/2017 9:27:05 AM
<![CDATA[Kegham Djeghalian to give workshop at Photopia in Cairo ]]>
The workshop, held in English and Arabic, will explore the relationship between image-making, art direction and the fashion industry’s reliance on images. Through image-making, fashion generates symbolic ‘goods’ that transforms its commodities into objects of fashion. With fashion, images are consumed before the product itself, and at times the image is the only relevant commodity. Image-making extends to more abstract terms as well, such as with visual identity, branding, narratives, story-telling and more.

Thus, art direction, the ability to tell a story through images, is an important skill to learn in order to be able to create images that are captivating and striking. This workshop will explore the methodology behind art direction and image making, and how it can be applied to creative arts as well. Djeghalian’s workshop will use practical projects, both individual and group-based, lectures and presentations to allow students to get involved with the concepts.

Djeghalian studied Image Design in Fashion at the French Institute of Fashion (IFM) and Visual Arts at the American University of Cairo, among other colleges, and currently teaches at the Paris College of Art.]]>
12/12/2017 9:17:35 PM
<![CDATA[Celebrating the ‘King of Swing,’ Frank Sinatra ]]>

Sinatra was born in 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey to a family of Italian immigrants. An only child, his father was a fire-fighter while his mother sang at social gatherings. Sinatra started off early in music, playing a ukulele his uncle gave him while singing on hot summer nights; one of his fondest childhood memories.

After hearing Bing Crosby perform during the 1930s, a young Sinatra decided that the life of a musician was the life for him. He soon dropped out of high school and began singing at night clubs. He got his break singing for radio as part of group called the “Hoboken Four” on the talent show, “Major Bowes and his Amateur Hour” in 1935. While the group toured the country, Sinatra was the only one serious about pursuing a musical career, and continued to sing long after the group disbanded.

His time on the radio brought Sinatra to the attention of bandleader, Harry James, who by 1940 had helped Sinatra make his first recordings, which helped the young singer establish a foothold in the music business, leading to his slow but steady rise to the top. After Tommy Dorsey invited Sinatra into his band, the two began topping the charts and after getting a taste of success, Frank decided to go solo, a move that would succeed beyond his wildest dreams. By 1942, he was a star.

Fans, particularly young women, grew hysterical whenever Sinatra made a public appearance and Sinatra had earned himself the title of “The Sultan of Swing” and even just “The Voice,” showcasing just how distinctive his singing talents were. Sinatra dominated the Swing Era, which lasted from the 1930s until the outbreak of the Second World War, which he managed to avoid being drafted into.

Sinatra also began to take an interest in acting, first appearing as an unnamed singer for 1941’s “Las Vegas Nights” and various other small film roles before his breakthrough in 1945 with “Anchors Aweigh,” a leading role alongside Gene Kelly. In 1945, Sinatra earned a special honorary Academy Award for his work on a 10-minute short film, “The House I Live In,” which was made to promote racial tolerance.

The end of the 1940s saw a drop in Sinatra’s once dazzling popularity, as rumors abounded that he had connections to the Mafia, coupled with his refusal to evolve with the times. He lost several musical and acting contracts and it almost seemed like the star’s career had finally began to fade, until his comeback in 1953. His role in “From Here to Eternity” won Sinatra an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, putting him back in the good graces of the public.

That same year Sinatra signed a new contract with Capitol Records; his singing style had evolved to incorporate jazz, which was popular at the time. Having won the hearts of the public back, Sinatra enjoyed stable success throughout the years, at one point he starred in nine films in just two years. As his adoring teenage girl fan base grew older, so did Frank, and he now enjoyed a reputation as a suave, aging and mysterious bachelor, an image which helped him win over older fans.

The 1960s saw Sinatra star in films such as “Ocean's 11” in 1960 and “The Manchurian Candidate in 1962,” which were hugely popular at the time and would be remade later. He founded “The Rat Pack,” a popular group of actors composed of Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. His debut at Las Vegas also made him a star attraction for Caesar’s Palace. He also received the Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award.

As rock ‘n’ roll was taking hold, Sinatra feared his time was up, and had announced he’d retire in 1971 before recanting and continuing to record a few years later. Still, his voice just wasn’t the same, with time, smoking and alcohol taking their toll. By the 1980s, Sinatra had shifted his political allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party and was a staunch supporter of President Ronald Reagan, a close friend who awarded Sinatra the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.

By the 1990s, Sinatra’s music career was still chugging along, having released the albums “Duets” (1993) and its follow-up “Duets II” (1994), his final recordings. The albums saw him sing alongside the most popular musicians of the time, including the likes of Barbra Streisand and Bono. He gave his last performance in 1995 in California and a few years later in 1998, Sinatra passed away of a heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 82.

With a life as fabulous as his music, a voice that could soothe a nation and an acting talent that couldn’t be beat, Sinatra was truly an unforgettable talent who continues to touch fans young and old all across the world.

12/12/2017 9:16:27 PM
<![CDATA['The Adventures of Prince Achmed' to Screen in Cimatheque ]]>
"The Adventures of Prince Achmed" is the third feature-length animated movie ever made, and the last existing piece of work by the director Lotte Reiniger.

Reiniger is a pioneer silhouette animation film maker who influenced the animation industry through brand new directions, techniques and ideas that made a huge change in the future of the industry.

She worked along with her husband Carl Kosh, who was responsible for photography in all her movies, and after he passed away, she had a very hard time coming back to work on her beautiful animated movies and projects. She got back to the scene through lecturing her shadow animation techniques in Europe.

The movie was filmed by a technique called the frame-by-frame technique; the phenomenal director took three years to create that movie (1923-1926), exerting immense efforts.

Based on the famous story "The Arabian Nights," the film was the third film ever made of this type after two Argentinean films created the idea but were lost through history, making "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" stand out.

"Cimatheque" - Alternative Film Center decided to remind us of the origins of such a master piece of cinematic art in efforts to introduce the works of Reiniger to young filmmakers.]]>
12/12/2017 3:30:42 PM
<![CDATA[Ancient Roman Pantheon to start charging entry fee in 2018]]>
Now a church, the vast cylindrical former temple whose undamaged exterior wall supports a 43.3 metre-high (142 ft) dome with a circular skylight at its summit, drew 7.4 million visitors last year.

The new 2 euros ($2.36) per person charge is part of a drive to squeeze more profit from Italy’s cultural assets, and the ministry said tourist visits would also be suspended during religious services.

Part of the ticket revenue will be spent on maintaining the site, where Roman statesman Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa commissioned a temple in honor of Emperor Augustus in around 27 B.C.

The Pantheon’s current form and six-metre thick walls date from the early part of the reign of Emperor Hadrian, who came to power in A.D. 117. The building survived the Barbarian attacks on Rome and was transformed into a Christian church in 609.

Among those buried in there are the Renaissance artist Raphael and two Italian kings.

Caring for art and architecture dating back thousands of years has long posed a challenge for a country that is responsible for more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other and has long-standing problems of bureaucracy and low public funding.]]>
12/12/2017 1:48:39 PM
<![CDATA[Princes William and Harry announce sculptor for new Diana statue]]>
Ian Rank-Broadley, whose effigy of the Queen has appeared on all UK and Commonwealth coinage since 1998, will design the statue, which now will not be unveiled until next year.

“Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother,” Prince William and his younger brother Harry said in a statement.

In January, the brothers commissioned a statue in honour of their mother, who died in a Paris car crash 20 years ago to be erected outside their official London home Kensington Palace.

Diana, the first wife of the heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, was killed when the limousine carrying her and her lover Dodi al-Fayed crashed in a Paris tunnel in August 1997.

William was 15 and Harry was 12 at the time.

“We have been touched by the kind words and memories so many people have shared about our mother over these past few months,” the brothers said. “It is clear the significance of her work is still felt by many in the UK and across the world, even twenty years after her death.”

It had been hoped that the statue would be unveiled before the end of the year to mark the anniversary, but Kensington Palace said that it was now envisaged that the statue would be unveiled in 2019.

The first permanent memorial to her, a 210-metre (689-foot) long fountain was unveiled in Hyde Park in 2004 after years of bureaucratic wrangling and squabbling over the design.]]>
12/12/2017 1:45:57 PM
<![CDATA[Palace releases new portrait of Britain's Prince Philip]]>
The portrait, which shows the prince standing in the grand corridor at Windsor Castle, has been painted for display at the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark.

The Museum is holding a retrospective exhibition of Heimans’ work in 2018, part of which aims to explore the historical and cultural connections between the royal families of Britain and Denmark, the palace said in a statement.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born a Prince of Denmark and his ancestry spans both the British and the Danish royal families.

Philip bowed out of public life in August, ending a royal career marked by occasional gaffes that landed him in hot water.]]>
12/12/2017 1:41:58 PM
<![CDATA[Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' to premiere at BIFF]]>
Set in a futuristic Japan, "Isle of Dogs" is the story of pilot Atari Kobayashi, 12 year old son of the corrupt Mayor Kobayashi, who issues a decree that all dogs are to be banished from Megasaki City, following an outbreak of ‘Dog flu’.

The pets are condemned to live in a vast garbage dump known as Trash Island. Desperate to find his best friend and bodyguard, Spots, Atari is accompanied by a pack of dogs on his search, while his evil father aims to stop him.

The film’s cast features the talents of Bill Murray, Yoko Ono, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum and many more. "Isle of Dogs" opens in theaters on March 23, 2018.

Anderson is a six-time Oscar nominee who is best known for his quirky and original works, such as "Fantastic Mr Fox" (2009), "Moonrise Kingdom" (2012), "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014) and "The Royal Tenenbaums" (2001).

12/12/2017 1:05:28 PM
<![CDATA[Huzama Habayeb wins 2017 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature]]>
Habayeb received the award for her novel "Mukhmal" (Velvet), a harrowing fiction about an ordinary young Palestinian woman living in a Jordanian refugee camp during the 60s and 70s, doing her best to survive despite the harshness of the world around here. As Habayeb explained during the ceremony, the novel’s purpose was to show how someone struggling with hardship could still be “able to capture joy in the midst of oppression.”

Presented by AUC President Francis J. Ricciardone, the award was decided upon by a panel of prestigious judges such as Tahia Abdel Nasser, Shereen Aboul Naga, Mona Tolba, Humphrey Davies, and Rasheed el-Enany.

The judges described Habayeb’s novel as “a new kind of Palestinian novel. It is not about the political cause, the resistance, the dream of return. It is rather about ordinary Palestinians, whose life goes on meanwhile, unnoticed and unrecorded, in the background, while the high dramas of politics occupy center-stage.”

AUC Press established the ‘Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature’ in 1996 and has been the primary publisher for Naguib Mahfouz’s work in English for over 30 years, having published some 600 editions of the acclaimed Egyptian writer’s works in more than 40 languages since he won the Nobel Prize in 1988. With over 700 titles in print, AUC Press is recognized as Egypt’s leading publisher in English.]]>
12/12/2017 11:57:38 AM
<![CDATA['Coco,' a charmer from the Land of the Dead, lives on]]>
The colorful Pixar movie, which tells the story of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young Mexican who longs to be a musician and stumbles into the Land of the Dead to unravel a surprising family secret, took $18.5 million.

Rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination on Monday, "Coco" has taken $135.7 million since its release over the long Thanksgiving weekend, and is already the top-grossing film ever in Mexico.

It is one of just four films to lead the North American box office for three weekends in a row this year, according to entertainment industry weekly Variety.

But that is expected to change with the much-anticipated release next week of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," predicted to net up to $220 million in its opening weekend.

Second on North American screens this weekend was "Justice League," taking in $9.7 million, for a four-week total of $212 million.

The Warner Bros. movie features Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman and Jason Momoa as Aquaman, plus Ciaran Hinds as a supervillain.

Third was Lionsgate's feel-good film "Wonder," which netted $8.4 million. The movie, starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay, tells the story of a determined fifth-grade boy with a facial deformity who must deal with rudeness and bullying by schoolmates.

Shooting up to fourth place was "The Disaster Artist," distributed by A24, a comedy-drama directed by James Franco about the making of 2003 cult movie "The Room," reputedly one of the worst films ever.

Starring Franco, Seth Rogen and Alison Brie, "The Disaster Artist" took in $6.4 million for the weekend.

In fifth was "Thor: Ragnarok," featuring the self-effacing humor of Chris Hemsworth as the powerful Norse god and Cate Blanchett as death goddess Hela. The Disney film netted $6.3 million, bumping up its six-week total to $301 million.

Rounding out the list were:

"Daddy's Home 2" ($5.9 million)

"Murder on the Orient Express" ($5.2 million)

"The Star" ($3.7 million)

"Lady Bird" ($3.5 million)

"Just Getting Started" ($3.2 million)]]>
12/12/2017 10:32:07 AM
<![CDATA['The Shape of Water' leads Golden Globes nominations]]>
Guillermo del Toro's acclaimed 1960s-set fantasy picked up nominations in several top categories, including best motion picture drama and best actress for Sally Hawkins.

"The Post" and "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" followed with six nods and coming-of-age film "Lady Bird" got four nominations.

The announcements will give the nominees a welcome boost going into the race for March's Oscars, with the influential Screen Actors Guild nominations to come later this week.

The other best motion picture drama nominees are "Call Me By Your Name," another coming-of-age tale, World War II thriller "Dunkirk," media drama "The Post" and "Three Billboards."

The Globes are seen as a chance for Hollywood to demonstrate its intolerance of sexual misconduct following a wave of allegations that emerged after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of decades of misbehavior that would make him the most egregious sexual predator in the history of filmmaking.

The Weinstein Company, which sacked its co-founder, was never expected to land nominations at the ceremony -- and it did not.

The wider fallout, however, is likely to have a seismic effect on the awards season, as numerous other powerful figures have been accused of sexual misconduct.

The HFPA -- apparently sensitive to the message it would send out -- largely avoided rewarding the work of Kevin Spacey, Jeffrey Tambor, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner and numerous other scandal-hit big players.

- Rebuke -

Spacey, who won best actor in 2015 for "House of Cards," never had a chance of a repeat following a litany of allegations of impropriety with young men.

But his alleged misdeeds also appeared to have harmed the chances of his colleagues such as Robin Wright -- the show was blanked this year.

"Transparent," which has also had numerous nominations and a win for Tambor, found itself in the same boat with HFPA members giving the comedy a hard pass.

Spacey had been expected to front an awards campaign for "All the Money in the World" before Ridley Scott decided to expunge the actor from his latest movie.

His replacement Christopher Plummer -- added via last-minute reshoots in a groundbreaking move -- earned a surprise nomination for best supporting actor in a film.

Meanwhile, the HFPA went for scandal-free old favorites like Scott, Christopher Nolan ("Dunkirk") and Steven Spielberg ("The Post").

"The Post," a defense of the free press widely seen as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, is an early Oscars favorite.

Martin McDonagh's "Three Billboards," starring Frances McDormand as a mother seeking to avenge the rape and murder of her daughter, is also widely fancied since taking the influential audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

"Coco," a colorful take on Mexico's Day of the Dead, was nominated and should be the comfortable frontrunner for best animated film -- despite Pixar co-founder John Lassiter's recent admission of inappropriate behavior towards employees.

On the downside, "Dunkirk" -- an early Oscars favorite much loved for its masterful cinematography, if not its sparkling dialogue -- earned just three nominations.

- 'Wonder Woman' snubbed -

"Call Me By Your Name" was widely expected to be the top contender, but disappointed with just three nominations, for best film drama, lead actor Timothee Chalamet and supporting actor Armie Hammer.

"Get Out" -- a satire on racism and middle class white guilt -- made perhaps the biggest and most unexpected impact of any movie this year but also came up short, with just two nominations for best comedy and best actor for Daniel Kaluuya.

HFPA president and Indian journalist Meher Tatna nevertheless praised the diversity of nominees.

"I'm excited that we're recognizing people like me that I had not seen on television when I first came to this country. As a journalist, I always look for diversity and I'm happy to celebrate it," she said.

Some Globes watchers noted on social media however that while ethnic minorities were well represented, there were no nominations for female filmmakers.

DC superhero movie "Wonder Woman" was perhaps the most controversial snub of the day, picking up no nominations at all, sparking an angry backlash from fans.

The movie, starring Gal Gadot in the title role, is the first female-led superhero movie directed by a woman (Patty Jenkins) and was selected in the American Film Institute's top 10 films of the year.

"Sorry Golden Globes, but Wonder Woman was a better movie than Dunkirk," tweeted one disappointed fan.

On the television front, HBO drama "Big Little Lies" -- already rewarded with several Emmys -- led with six nominations.

FX anthology series "Feud: Bette and Joan" was close behind with four nominations, while "Fargo," "The Handmaid's Tale" and "This is Us" grabbed three each.

HBO comfortably led the television nominations with 12.

The 75th Golden Globe Awards will take place in Beverly Hills on January 7, with talk show host Seth Meyers presenting.]]>
12/12/2017 10:29:37 AM
<![CDATA[After near decade, Beyonce back on top of US song chart]]>
Beyonce hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for her new duet with Ed Sheeran on a remix of the English songwriter's "Perfect," a tender guitar ballad.

The song sold 181,000 digital downloads in the week through Thursday on the benchmark US singles chart, which also tracks streaming and radio airplay.

"Perfect" is Beyonce's first tune to lead the Hot 100 since December 2008 with "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," her blockbuster dance anthem of female empowerment.

Beyonce moved in a more experimental direction with her latest album "Lemonade."

But she initially released it last year as an exclusive on Tidal, the streaming service led by her husband Jay-Z, impeding the chart performance of individual tracks.

"Drunk in Love," her duet with Jay-Z off her self-released 2013 album, only reached number two on the Hot 100.

The longest gap between number one songs in the chart's history belongs to Cher, who waited nearly 25 years between her 1974 hit "Dark Lady" and her 1999 chart-topper "Believe."]]>
12/12/2017 10:26:56 AM
<![CDATA[Latest Grateful Dead resurrection -- a duo]]>
Phil Lesh, the Grateful Dead's bassist, and Bob Weir, the group's rhythm guitarist, announced six concerts for March 2018 -- two each in New York, Boston and Chicago.

The pair said that each concert would consist of two sets, one electric and one acoustic, featuring the Dead's music.

They said the touring idea emerged after Weir played at Terrapin Crossroads, a music venue Lesh has opened in northern California.

"The intuitive playing that we have developed over five decades of creating music together always leads to new realms of musical experience," Lesh said in a statement.

With their slow-jamming blues-inflected rock, the Grateful Dead emerged around hippie-era San Francisco in the 1960s to become pioneers of underground music.

Encouraging a communal experience, the band drew legions of "Deadhead" fans who would follow them from concert to concert and swap bootleg recordings.

Guitarist Jerry Garcia, the band's unofficial frontman, died in 1995. The group reunited in 2015 to play five sold-out stadium shows billed as their finale.

Nonetheless, band members including Weir have kept touring as Dead and Company, featuring younger rock guitarist John Mayer .

12/12/2017 10:23:55 AM
<![CDATA[French war-related film Notre Musique to screen at Cinema Daal]]>
Through writing and directing “Notre Musique”, French director and writer Jean Luc managed to create a cosmopolitan world of reality and fiction through many different visuals, recordings and artistic techniques. The film highlights morality, violence and many forms of abuses that resulted from colonialism.

The film revolves around the consequences resonating from wars including pain, death, and devastation that are resembled in many countries including the long-lasting conflict between Palestine and Israeli occupation.

Notre Musique stars Sarah Adler who previously played roles in films “Jellyfish” and “Marie Antoinette” , and Nade Dieu who played a role in film “Butterfly”. The war-oriented French film was screened at the “Out of Competition” at Cannes Festival in 2004.

12/12/2017 10:21:46 AM
<![CDATA[Palestine's Habayeb wins 2017 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature]]>
She also won USD 1,000 as well as translating and publishing her novel and distributing it all over the world.

The ceremony was attended by a number of intellectuals as well as Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz’s daughter Umm Kulthum.

Habayeb is a Palestinian novelist who has won multiple awards. Upon graduating from Kuwait University in 1987, she pursued careers in journalism, teaching, and translation before she eventually started to write professionally as a published author. ]]>
12/12/2017 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Four Christmas concerts organized at Cairo, Alex. Opera House]]>

The concerts are supervised by the company’s Technical Director Iman Moustafa and will be performed in collaboration with Cairo Symphony Orchestra led by Maestro Nayer Nagui.

The concerts will include a selection of celebrated Christmas songs and carols, in addition to the new songs, mostly arranged by Nagui.

For over a decade, Cairo Opera House has traditionally hosted its annual Christmas concerts as a joint effort combining the Cairo Opera Company soloists, an orchestra, and the Cairo Celebration Choir (CCC).

Since Nagui, the founder and conductor of the Cairo Celebration Choir, became the principal conductor and artistic director of the Cairo Opera Orchestra in 2011, the Christmas concerts became part of the Cairo Opera Orchestra's repertoire.

Cairo Opera Orchestra's repertoire has replaced the Cairo Symphony Orchestra which, prior to December 2012, had joined most of the previous Christmas evenings.]]>
12/11/2017 10:13:42 PM
<![CDATA[Remembering legendary Naguib Mahfouz on his birthday]]>

Author of 34 novels, over 350 short stories, five plays and dozens of movie scripts, Mahfouz was by all means the most disciplined writer ever. He wrote for one hour every day throughout his 70-year career, while he also smoked three cigarettes per day and walked by the Nile every morning.

He met weekly with new a generation of writers, artists and readers through an informal seminar, which was a habit he developed in the 1950s.

At the age of 82, Mahfouz was stabbed in the neck in 1994 by an Islamic extremist, in an assassination attempt after a huge wave of hatred that followed the “fatwah” (religious edict) made by Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran against Arab-English author Salman Rushdie over the famous book “The Satanic Verses”.

Khomeini decreed that Salman Rushdie should be killed for writing that novel. Naguib Mahfouz, in spite of considering the novel disrespectful to Islam, took a position against inciting violence towards Rushdie.

This incident, however, drew attention to Mahfouz’s controversial novel “Awlad Haretna” (The Chidren of Gebelawi). It was deemed one of the most famous novels in the history of Arabic literature. The novel spoke about God and the prophets, and it creatively explained the philosophy of religion.

The controversy came from his design of the character of Gebelawi – a wealthy landowner and rough father who is neglects his descendants, leaving them in poverty and misery. With Gebelawi appointing his dark son Adham to run the business instead of his eldest son Idris, Mahfouz relates the story of Adam and Satan, then a quarrel between Satan and God, and later the story of Cain and Abel, where he kills his brother and the grandfather does not interfere; no punishment comes to the killer or is even discussed.

The stories of the world’s main prophets – Moses, Jesus and Mohamed – continue. He changes their names brilliantly, but clearly hints at which religious personality he is discussing in each new chapter. He avoids the miracles and humanizes the struggles in an effort to make the story about justice and fighting for the rights of the poor – who are all sons of Gebelawi and have equal rights in the wealth.

Naguib Mahfouz was blunt in expressing his ideas. He included politics, history and philosophy in his novels. He covered a lot of subjects, such as socialism, homosexuality and God. His novels were informative and showed the development of Egypt in the twentieth century.

Mahfouz’s first novel was “Khufu’s Wisdom”. He then wrote 35 novels afterwards and fifteen collections of short stories, alongside the “Echoes of an Autobiography” in 1994, according to an article by AUC press.

The iconic literary author was not only satisfied by writing short stories and novels, but also took the initiative to work on 25 film screenplays that featured specific writing techniques such as flashback. Egyptian cinema has witnessed over thirty Egyptian films that were based on Mahfouz’s novels and literary works.

He also wrote weekly columns in state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram and Al-Ahram Weekly in 1971, including “Naguib Mahfouz at Sidi Gaber: Reflections of a Nobel Laureate 1994–2001”.

Mahfouz was honored by the government, receiving the Egyptian State Prize for his writing twice. Promoting great collections of Arabic narratives locally and internationally, Mahfouz received countless honors, including an American University in Cairo honorary doctorate in 1995, and he was chosen as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Institute of Arts.

Following his death, Mahfouz’s works further resonated in the Egyptian literary scene. The AUC Press has become his main English language publisher and agent of all translation rights. The agreement was signed with Mahfouz prior to his death. There are around 600 editions in 40 languages for his works displayed at AUC Press.]]>
12/11/2017 10:01:34 PM
<![CDATA['Shape of Water' leads wide ranging Golden Globe nominations]]>
“The Shape of Water,” a surreal drama about a relationship between a river creature and a mute cleaner, collected seven nods across the board, including for best director; actors Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins; screenplay and score.

Del Toro said he was grateful for the recognition, adding in a statement: “Above all, ‘The Shape of Water’ is about love overcoming fear and embracing the Other.”

“The Post,” Steven Spielberg’s timely drama about press freedom, followed with six nominations, including for its director and stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

The Golden Globes are chosen by the 90-plus journalists of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but nominees often mirror the top films and actors nominated in January for the Oscars, the movie industry’s highest awards.

“The Shape of Water” and “The Post” are also seen as front-runners for Oscars. They will compete for the top drama prize at the Jan. 7 Golden Globe ceremony in Beverly Hills against small-town tale “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which also got six nominations; British World War Two tale “Dunkirk”; and “Call Me By Your Name,”.

Mother-daughter comedy “Lady Bird” got four nods, including for stars Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. However, first-time director Greta Gerwig was snubbed in an all-male list for her category.

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Nominees for the 75th Golden Globe Awards, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture category, (L-R) Mary J. Blige, Hong Chau, Allison Janney, Laurie Metcalf and Octavia Spencer are seen in a combination of file photos. REUTERS

Other comedy or musical film nominees included James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist,” racial horror movie “Get Out,” ice-skating saga “I, Tonya” and “The Greatest Showman.”

Movie studio Twentieth Century Fox and its Fox Searchlight unit for independent film dominated the nominations, sharing a total of 27 nods.

Celebrated actor Daniel Day-Lewis was recognized for “Phantom Thread,” which he has said will be his last film.

British actor Daniel Kaluuya got a nod for his breakout role in “Get Out,” a satire on modern race relations set within a psychological thriller.

Monday’s nominations included A-listers like Angelina Jolie, who got two for her producing work on Cambodian foreign-language entry “First They Killed My Father” and an animated film about Afghanistan, “The Breadwinner.”

For television, British royal series ”The Crown,“ ”Game of Thrones,“ ”The Handmaid’s Tale, “Stranger Things” and “This Is Us” will compete for the best drama series award.

“Black-ish,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Master of None,” “SMILF” and “Will & Grace” were nominated in the best TV comedy category.
12/11/2017 8:01:28 PM
<![CDATA[Ateleh El Moaalef El Moseky ensemble to perform in Cairo]]>

“Eight compositions will be performed, including two new ones – all of them written by Egyptian senior contemporary composers such as Youssef Greiss, Amr El Baz, Kamal Ahmed and Aziz Shawaan,” Mattar explained.
Beside Mattar, many senior and rising talents will perform through this exceptional artistic night, such as Amr Elbaz, Kamal Ahmed, Loay Ismail, Hala Fouad Mohamed Zanaty, Rania Omar and Mariam Al Mamlouk.

The event is organized and directed by Samer El Faramawy, activity coordinator at the Egyptian Museum of Modern Art.
12/11/2017 7:35:01 PM
<![CDATA[“In the Garden” mime performance staged at WANAS Center]]>
“In the Garden” is a satirical mime show that reflects the feelings of loneliness from a comedic perspective, combining joy with tears. It was performed once before and received high praise from the audience.

Mustafa Huzayen, Egyptian actor, director and mime performer, has received many awards in different theater and mime festivals in Cairo, such as El Sawy Cultural Wheel Mime Festival.

He founded his own mime company, "Mime Features", and produced many mime performances staged all over Europe and Egypt.

Mime and pantomime, or silent acting, is based on the movement of the body and signs that the actor performs on stage. It includes numerous forms that vary. In India, mime is combined with music and dance.

The inspiration behind mime comes from reality, tackling universal issues in fictional plots. In the postmodern era, mime was presented through masks, black and white face painting, or clothing, inspiring a number of mime crews to promote their stage names, such as “Oreo”, “The Story of the Mask” and “Gray Team”.]]>
12/11/2017 7:27:21 PM
<![CDATA[Netflix-Egypt December programs revealed]]>

American fantasy crime film “Bright” is listed on the top of the Netflix Original Film category. It is directed by David Ayer and written by Max Landis. The film revolves around the cooperation between a police officer from Earth and Orc Cop, who investigate crimes in the world of human and mythical creatures. Starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton, the film will be released on December 22.

“The Crown” Season II

In the Netflix Original Series category, the second season of the long awaited “The Crown” is back to screens on December 8.

Composed and written by Peter Morgan, “The Crown” is a biographical drama television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The second season covers the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956 and the Profumo affair, a political scandal in 1963. It is stars Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby and Eileen Atkins.

“Vikings” Season IV

Created by Michael Hirst, “Vikings” is a historical drama television series tackling legendary Norse heroes and other stories taken from the history of the Vikings.

It stars Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, Clieve Standen and Jessalyn Gilsing. Netflix will continue screening the fourth season of “Vikings” through December.

“You Can’t Fight Christmas”

Celebrating Christmas, Netflix will show various holiday films, including “You Can’t Fight Christmas”, a romantic comedy revolving around the decorator of the Chesterton Hotel lobby Christmas display. She finds herself against the grandson of the hotel owner, who hates Christmas, so she uses all her Christmas charms to win him over.

Having a unique edge in the entertainment industry since 1997, first as a DVD rental company, Netflix continues to successfully grow among internet users as it establishes new trends in “binge-watching” culture. The world’s leading internet entertainment service has become popular in the past few years in the Middle East and has been open in the Egyptian market for over two years now. To expand its viewership, Netflix plans to tailor special shows for Egyptians in 2018.

With over 100 million members across 190 countries, Netflix marks its 20th anniversary as the team explains how the company grew into a massively popular entertainment service provider.

Netflix had been previously accessible only in the U.S. as a licensed service provider 10 years ago and prevailed in its first expansion plan seven years ago. The hit series “House of Cards” was among the “Netflix Originals” that launched three years ago as part of the content made specifically for Netflix. Simultaneously, the company decided to establish a global launch and enter new markets like Egypt.]]>
12/11/2017 7:22:07 PM
<![CDATA[Antiquities minister to inaugurate St. Catherine's' library on Saturday]]>
Director General of Research and Archaeological Studies and Scientific Publications in Lower Egypt and Sinai Abdul Rahim Rayhan told MENA that the library contains six thousand manuscripts, including 2,319 in Greek, 284 in Latin, 600 in Arabic in addition to Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopian, Armenian, English and French manuscripts as well as other religious, historical, geographical and philosophical ones.

The oldest manuscripts date back to the 4th century, Rayhan noted.

He pointed out that mosaic of the Transfiguration depicts the Christ's transfiguration and is considered among the oldest and most beautiful mosaics in the East, it dates back to the sixth century.

Christ is portrayed in an oval halo between Moses and Elijah and at the sides three apostles, John, James and Peter, pictured in different poses]]>
12/11/2017 3:34:44 PM
<![CDATA[Discover Cairo’s beauty through Everyday Cairo Exhibition ]]>
Founded by Mattias Pruym in 2014, Everyday Cairo Exhibition aims to shed light on different forms of beauty and magic in Cairo’s streets, according to Everyday Cairo official Facebook page, "Everywhere in Egypt has a story."

A wonderful collection of street photographs taken by amateur and professional photographers will be displayed. The photos were taken by Egyptians and foreigners.

There is a number of regular contributors taking part in the exhibition, namely Gehad Hamdy, Heba el-Kholy, Ayman Aref, Mohamed Osam, Ahmed Kamnana, Mohamed Shokry, Asmaa Gamal,, Shaymaa Idris, and Amir Makar.]]>
12/11/2017 3:10:53 PM
<![CDATA[Using arts and drama to fight violence against women]]>
Several seminars were held in retrospect of the campaign included, “Anti-Violence Against Women,” led by film critic Magda Morris and a number of distinguished guest speakers, as part of the 39th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF).

The recent terrorist attack on Al-Arish left a sad note over the seminar. “Nearly two hundred families woke up today without a father, only women playing both roles,” stated Rania Yehia, counselor at the Egyptian Center for Woman's Rights. Despite many cultural institutions suspending their activities in Egypt, in mourning for the victims of Rawdah Mosque, CIFF went ahead with its activities as a way to send a message to the terroist that their cowardly acts will not halt society.

Arts and drama are among the most effective ways to show the detrimental effect of violence against women especially since a significant portion of society is illiterate and visual media is their only source for information and a excellent platform for raising awareness.

“Hundreds of illegal mosques who preach that FGM and marriage of minor girls at the age of nine years old are a strong trigger for societal violence against women of all ages,” said writer Medhat el Adl.

Egyptian actress Youssra explained that drama has been used as a way to fight outdated notions about women for decades. In her series, “El Hessab Yegmaa” (A Full Bill) she showed the continuous struggle women face and how poverty often leads to crime. “The data collected from reality is much worse than we put in drama,” she said.

Actress Elham Shahin said in the seminar that the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 lead to discriminatory opinions that were hammered in the minds of viewers and listeners.

Violence against women is a global phenomenon, Australian Ambassador Neil Hawkins stated that in Australia one woman is killed every week by her partner.

“The seminar is an opportunity to address the issue and increase awareness of the violence against women,” said Jorg Schimmel, Deputy Director of the United Nations for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

The Pyramids, Sphinx and Cairo Tower will be lite with orange lights until December 10th in solidarity with the UN’s strategy of zero tolerance for violence against women.

“Violence against women is shown across ethnicity, socioeconomic levels and geographical location,” Schimmel stated, however cinema and drama have an important role in combating the phenomenon by changing societies views and by simply stating that women have the right to live without violence in their lives.

Nearly 115,000 girls skipped school, 7.8 million women have been victims of violence, according to Yehia who spoke about the economic cost of violence and discrimination against women, adding that health care expenses used by women to recover from violence amount to EGP 2.7 billion alongside legal expenses.

Writer Atef Beshay pointed out that we need a cultural revolution to awaken society in parallel with actually helping women who have experienced violence.

Olfa Salami, counselor at the Ministry of Social Solidarity pointed out the efforts made by the ministry to help violence victims, between campaigns to stop marriage of underage girls, FGM, to the visa card program that supports nearly two million needy families with EGP 450 per month. ]]>
12/11/2017 2:57:49 PM
<![CDATA[ Mohamed Fouad to perform in El-Mansoura]]>
Fouad recently participated in the century concert that took place on December 1 at Cairo Stadium. The concert hosted a group of the most prominent 1980s and 1990s singers.
Besides Fouad, the concert featured Simone, Hassan Abdel Megeed, Hossam Hosny, Hanan, Ehab Tawfik, Alaa Abdel Khalek, among others.

Fouad is a popular Egyptian singer who was born in 1961; he started his singing career in the 1980s. Fouad started to gain fame after he released his first Album titled "Fe el seka" (In the way) in 1983. ]]>
12/11/2017 2:55:36 PM
<![CDATA[Haitham Dabbour: Photocopy is an extremely special experience]]>rative Film at the closing ceremony of the GFF first edition on September 29. Written by talented script- writer Haitham Dabbour and directed by Tamer Ashry, Photocopy stars the veteran Mahmoud He- meida and Shereen Reda alsongside Farah Youssef, Aly Tayeb and Ahmed Dash.

Dabbour began his career with short movies and documentaries, with Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad and the Politician being the most famous. The documentary was split into three segments and directors Tamer Ezzat, Ay- ten Amin and Amr Salama each took over one part. “It screened in Egyptian cinemas in 2011 and was the first documentary to be featured commercially for a long time,” Dabbour says, adding “It was well received by the audience” when it premiered at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.

Dabbour later wrote a number of short movies for the BBC which were all nominated for awards. “One of my favorite short movies that was well re- ceived by all is Fardy (Individually), released in 2013 and starring Khaled El Nabawy. It was the first short movie starring El Nabawy,” Dabbour says, and was screened at the Tangier International Film Festival and BAFTA.

Dabbour then started working on long feature movies like Photocopy, a script that was nominated for the Sawiris Cultural Awards. He explains that he worked a lot on the script to develop it before reach- ing its final version, starting in 2013 and finishing over a year later, in 2014. “Photocopy represents a very special status to me, actually a unique, soft and tender one, not for me only, but for the hero and the heroine as well, the veteran actor Mahmoud Hemei- da and the heartthrob Shereen Reda who each plays a multilayered character,” Dabbour elaborates.

Photocopy tackles issues and problems facing the elderly, topics that are rarely addressed in Egyptian cinema. “The main challenge that faced me while writing such a different movie is to maintain high artistic sides and values, and at the same time remain amusing for the audience so they do not easily get bored,” explains Dabbour, who is proud of the balance he achieved. Carthage International Film Festival and other festivals have contacted the cast to screen Photocopy in their upcoming editions.

“What made me really proud that Photocopy won the best movie award at GFF is that the other competing movies were all high-quality movies, GFF management truly created an amazing mov- ies program. This is exactly what made it a precious award, to win while competing with strong movies,” says Dabbour who has just finished writing a movie script titled Eyar Nary (Cartridge). Shooting began last month with Karim El Shenawy directing. “The most important stage for any script is the develop- ment stage, it is even more vital than the writing stage, the final Photocopy script was the seventh one, and the last version of Eyar Nary that we are now shooting is the ninth,” says Dabbour.

Despite his successes, Dabbour, whose recent Ayesh (He Is Living) won the Sawiris Cultural Award in 2016 for best script, continues to work on devel- oping his talents. “The cinema market nowadays is different, you need to have a movie that not only can compete in the local market and achieve high rev- enues, but is also able to exist in international festi- vals and be appealing to the Egyptian, Arab, English and European audience,” he says. “You need to have a movie that you can communicate with the whole world with, this is the true challenge.”

That’s why Dabbour sees it is very important to discuss the script with artists from different cul- tures, because this will add to the movie. “For exam- ple, the movie storyline revolves around how a young person is strongly attached to his mother, this rela- tion is normal in the Middle Eastern culture, but for the Western one it is a little bit weird, so we must add another line to the script to make it easy for them to understand it, some may view this as a tiny detail, but these tiny details are what truly make great movies]]>
12/11/2017 2:53:27 PM
<![CDATA[Rock band Qarar Ezala to perform in Alexandria ]]>
The band will play many songs from their new album, in addition to revealing many secrets about how the album was made.

The concert is part of the first PerForm Forum that will take place from December 13 to December 21.

The band is introducing alternative rock music with Arabic lyrics. The songs discuss many political and personal issues from the youth’s point of view. Through their music, they aim to replace negative ideas and negative behaviors with better and more progressive ones.

Qarar Ezala performed a few concerts this year at El-Oroba Mall in Tanta and the International Summer Festival at Bibliotheca Alexandria.

Formed in 2012, The trending Egyptian rock band's last concert in Cairo was two years ago at El-Sawy Culture Wheel.

The band consists of Yassen Mahgob on vocals and composition, Mohamed Allam on drums, Ahmed Hamdi on guitar, Mohamed Abdel Qader on guitar, Omar Adel on bass guitar, and Mina Awny on keyboard. ]]>
12/11/2017 2:40:19 PM
<![CDATA[EMS prevents Sherine from singing until Jan 2018]]>
“We should turn this page and be all fully dedicated to support our country culturally and artistically at this current historic stage to achieve the aspirations of the great Egyptian people,” the renowned Egyptian singer and the syndicate Head Hani Shaker stated, commenting on the syndicate's decision.

Sherine was officially banned from singing for insulting her home country during a performance.

The decision was provoked after the singer made an ill-humored joke during one of her recent concerts in Lebanon, where one of the fans asked her to perform “Mashrebtesh Min Nilha” (Have You Taken a Swig From Egypt’s Nile?). Abdel Wahab replied that she would go through Schistosomiasis if she drank it; a phrase which was deemed by some social media users as inappropriate.

“We will continue drinking the Nile’s water and will stop listening to Sherine’s song,” was the name of the hashtag that launched immediately in response to her answer. The Hashtag topped trends in Egypt for the past few hours.

The Health Ministry previously released a statement in which it contended that it has long fought Schistosomiasis and reduced its prevalence to 0.2 percent.

Abdel Wahab, 37-years-old, is consistently hailed as one of the most talented and successful singers of her era, being dubbed as “The Queen of Emotions” for her popular romantic ballads.]]>
12/11/2017 2:27:41 PM
<![CDATA[Jordanian band Autostrad to perform in Cairo after 3 years absence ]]>
Established in 2007, Autostrad produces music resonating from daily life in Jordan. The rock band focuses on romance, patriotism, and socioeconomic struggles in Jordanian society and the Arab region.

The band’s vocalist and bassist Demerjian----- has previously stated in an interview by the UAE-based newspaper The National that they’ll be able to be globally recognized once they have the freedom of expression through their music.

Portraying actual human struggles, the band’s lyrics gained popularity not only among youth in Jordan but also in many Arab regions. Autostrad has participated in Dubai’s Step 2017 conference and took the stage with many other Arab musicians such as the Lebanese Mashrou’ Leila, where they delivered certain messages related to the Arab youth struggles.

Through a tour to the Middle East, Autostorad band succeeded to first reach international stages in 2015 when the Arab British Center invited them to perform in London.
Jordan’s prominent underground band has previously led a concert at El Sawy Culture Wheel last Friday, marking their first concert in the country after three years of absence.

12/11/2017 2:23:16 PM
<![CDATA[Alexandria to introduce audiences to Fernando Perez’s musical world]]>
Perez is a Spanish musician, who play s different genres of music including African Bulgarian, Greek, and Persian The ambitious musician has spent his artistic life roaming the world to learn new genres of music from different countries, according to his official website.

He was inspired first by the culture of each country before producing its popular music and experiencing the spirit of this music. In efforts to apply this concept, he lived for years in exotic places as Egypt , Hawaii, Africa, China, South, Central and North America, Spain, India, , among others.

. Perze has previously performed in Egypt at the Cairo Opera House and has participated in “Alexandria International Festival 2017”, alongside his collaborations with with Egyptian musician Grammy and BBC winner Fathy Salama.

Perez have released 11 CDs and books and has delivered educational productions through online guitar lessons playing different melodies such as classical and flamenco, African, Hawaiian, Kika kKila (steel guitar).
12/11/2017 2:21:09 PM
<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas: government]]>
"Commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the kingdom as of early 2018, for the first time in more than 35 years," the culture and information ministry said in a statement, adding that the government will begin licensing cinemas immediately.

Reviving cinemas would represent a paradigm shift in the kingdom, which is promoting entertainment as part of a sweeping reform plan dubbed "Vision 2030", despite opposition from conservatives.

"This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the kingdom," information minister Awwad Alawwad said in the statement.

Hardliners, who see cinemas as a threat to cultural and religious identity, were instrumental in shutting them down in the 1980s.

Saudi Arabia's highest-ranking cleric warned in January of the "depravity" of cinemas, saying they would corrupt morals.

But authorities appear to be shrugging off the threat.

Saudi filmmakers have long argued that a ban on cinemas does not make sense in the age of YouTube.

Saudi films have been making waves abroad, using the internet to circumvent distribution channels and sometimes the stern gaze of state censors.]]>
12/11/2017 2:16:55 PM
<![CDATA[Rocker Homme under fire for kicking photographer]]>
The rock guitarist and vocalist was playing Saturday in Los Angeles at an annual holiday festival of radio station KROQ when video shows him slamming his foot into the face of a photographer in the pit next to the stage.

Chelsea Lauren, who shoots for Shutterstock, an agency that provides stock photos, said she spent the night in the emergency room and Sunday was still suffering a sore neck, a bruise in the eyebrow and nausea.

"Assault in any form is not okay, no matter what the reasoning," she wrote on Instagram.

She speculated that Homme may have been impaired by drugs or alcohol. She posted another picture in which Homme smiled as blood trickled down his face after he stabbed himself in the forehead on stage.

"I was where I was allowed to be, I was not breaking any rules. I was simply trying to do my job," Lauren wrote.

Homme apologized and described the incident as an accident. He said he was a "in a state of being lost in performance" and also kicked equipment.

"I would never intentionally cause harm to anyone working at or attending one of our shows and I hope Chelsea will accept my sincere apology," he wrote on Twitter.

His explanation triggered a stream of negative reactions on social media, with some people urging that he face charges.

Homme, 44, known for his rugged, high-powered rock, is a founding member both of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, although he was not present in Paris when the latter band's concert was attacked as part of a 2015 assault by supporters of the Islamic State group.

Based in the desert of southeastern California, Homme is also a prolific producer and collaborator, notably working with punk legend Iggy Pop on his latest album.]]>
12/11/2017 2:12:28 PM
<![CDATA['Coco,' a charmer from the Land of the Dead, lives on]]>
The colorful film tells the story of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young Mexican who longs to become a musician despite his family's unrelenting ban on music. He stumbles into the Land of the Dead, where trickster Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) helps him unravel a surprising family secret.

"Coco" has taken in $135.5 million since its release over the long Thanksgiving weekend, and is already the top-grossing film ever in Mexico. It is one of just four films to lead the North American box office for three weekends in a row this year, according to Variety.com.

But that is expected to change with the much-anticipated release next week of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," predicted to net up to a mammoth $200 million in its opening weekend.

Second on North American screens this weekend was Warner Bros.'s "Justice League," taking in $9.6 million, for a four-week total of $212 million. Its all-star cast features Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman and Jason Momoa as Aquaman, plus Ciaran Hinds as a supervillain.

Third was Lionsgate's feel-good film "Wonder," which netted $8.5 million. The movie, starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay, tells the story of a determined fifth-grade boy with a facial deformity who must deal with rudeness and bullying by schoolmates.

Shooting up to fourth place was "The Disaster Artist," distributed by A24, a comedy-drama directed by James Franco about the making of 2003 cult movie "The Room," reputedly one of the worst films ever (it made a grand total of $2,000 when first released). Starring Franco, Seth Rogen and Alison Brie, "Disaster" took in $6.4 million for the weekend.

And in fifth was "Thor: Ragnarok," featuring the self-effacing humor of Chris Hemsworth as the powerful Norse god and Cate Blanchett as death goddess Hela. The Disney film netted $6.3 million, bumping up its six-week total to $301 million.

Rounding out the list were:

"Daddy's Home 2" ($6 million)

"Murder on the Orient Express" ($5.1 million)

"The Star" ($3.7 million)

"Lady Bird" ($3.5 million)

"Just Getting Started" ($3.2 million)]]>
12/11/2017 2:10:41 PM
<![CDATA[Hallyday returns to cherished Caribbean island for burial]]>
The star, who died of lung cancer on Wednesday aged 74, asked to be laid to rest there in a choice that has disappointed some fans and loved ones who would have preferred his grave to be more accessible on the mainland.

The coffin was flown to St Barts on a Boeing 757 with 62 passengers onboard, including his wife Laeticia and their two children who will lead a private burial ceremony on Monday.

Several hundred fans -- some of whom had travelled from mainland France -- gathered outside the funeral home where their musical hero's body was taken on a Caribbean island that was battered by hurricane Irma just two months ago.

One by one they filed past the white, flower-decked coffin to bid good-bye, some posing for photos, others sipping from cans of beer.

Many had dressed in white, a traditional colour of mourning in the Caribbean.

"I used to see him in my store, he was a sweetheart," one mourner from St Barts told AFP. "To see his coffin, it hurts."

Jean Pierre and Chantal, both fans dressed in Johnny t-shirts, took an eight hour flight from Paris to see off their idol in the tropical paradise.

"We understand why he wants to be buried here where things were good with his family," Chantal told AFP. "Even though it cost us, we did not hesitate."

Veteran fan Fred Bouton, 54, added: "I wanted to be with him right to the end because he always gave everything."

- 'So far away' -

Once condemned as the rock 'n' roll "corrupter of youth", Hallyday went on to become a very French cultural icon.

With an untipped Gitanes cigarette often at his lip, he held France entranced for five decades with his spectacular stage shows and equally colourful private life, reinventing himself for each generation.

He was given a state funeral in all but name on Saturday after a death, which prompted an outpouring of emotion for a singer not seen since the passing of Edith Piaf.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Paris to watch his white coffin, escorted by some 700 bikers, travel down the Champs Elysees.

Hallyday's final resting place will be a small sea-side cemetery on a part of St Barts popular with surfers.

Local politician Bruno Magras said Hallyday often talked about his burial wishes.

"He told me several times that he wanted to be buried here, that he didn't want to go to Pere Lachaise," he said, referencing France's most famous cemetery where many of its national and artistic titans are buried.

But many have found it hard to imagine the singer resting so far from his fans.

"It is with a broken heart that I must come to terms with the fact that Johnny will be buried today," his first wife, singer and actress Sylvie Vartan, said in a statement to AFP.

"I'm really sad that Johnny will now be so far away from all of us who love him so much," she added.]]>
12/11/2017 2:08:33 PM
<![CDATA[Mansour receives 6th IWC Filmmaker Award at DIFF]]>
“It is my pleasure to again be part of the IWC Filmmakers Award jury; I am always intrigued by the different voices and perspectives of the projects we get to judge,” Blanchett said.

The jury was headed by Blanchett for the third time, the members were Tunisian- Egyptian actress and IWC brand Ambassador Hend Sabri, IWC CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr, DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Uma and DIFF artistic director Masoud Amralla al-Ali.

Mansour received a grant of $ 100,000 for her project “Miss Camel” and an IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36 with a blue dial (Ref. IW458312) from the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer.

“Miss Camel” revolves around Hayla, a blossoming Saudi teen who is exerting immense efforts to escape her arranged marriage and fulfill her ultimate life goal of attending art school outside Saudi Arabia.While scheming to make her way to join Art College in a neighboring Gulf state, she discovers at her cousin’s wedding that she can communicate with animals.

“We at IWC consider filmmaking an integral part of cultural creation and an art form which contemplates a wide range of themes central to humanity. Being storytellers ourselves, we deeply appreciate the creativity, courage and passion that talented filmmakers invest into their work and we are proud to support them with the IWC Filmmaker Award,” Christoph Grainger-Herr, CEO of IWC Schaffhausen said.

“The number and quality of entries that we receive continue to astound us, and this year was no different. We appreciate the vision and creativity of the filmmakers of the region, and through this award, we aim to help them make this vision a reality,” DIFF Chairman and member of the IWC Filmmakers Award jury Abdulhamid Juma added.

Mansour received the award in a ceremony that was held at the IWC “For the Love of Cinema” gala event in the One&Only Royal Mirage’s Arabian Court during the 14th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

The main theme of the gala ceremony was celebrating the achievements of women in cinema and filmmaking.

The gala ceremony included an emotional dance routine and a breathtaking performance by talented singer Christine Said. The after-party was kicked off by the soulful powerhouse duo from London HanLei.

The IWC “For the Love of Cinema” gala was presented by the famous TV presenters Raya Abi Rached and Wissam Breidy. Among the celebrities attending were IWC brand ambassadors Sonam Kapoor, Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, Tuba Büyüküstün, Jessica Kahawaty, French actor Clovis Cornillac, and Egyptian actress Yousra. ]]>
12/11/2017 2:03:43 PM
<![CDATA[Mediterranean music project Estabena to perform at Dawar ]]>
Estabena is a multicultural band that performs folk music compositions taken from Mediterranean cultures. The band presents the cultures of Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon and Syria.

Although Estabena is a newly-founded band, they have given many live performances in different venues, such as Dawar, Bab 18 Art Space, Room Art Space and Café and El-Dammah Theater.

Originally borrowed from the Italian language, (estabena) means (we agree) in Egyptian slang.

The band consists of Chakib Ararou on guitar and vocals, Mahmoud Mohamed on violin, George Emad on percussions, and Mohamed Samy Negm on oud, in addition to two vocalists Luisa Russo and Emad Fathy.

Dawar is a cultural venue specialized in theatre and its branches; such as psycho drama, theatrical performances, and drama therapy (using drama to heal). Providing art exhibitions and other cultural events, the place hosts activities that are headed by professional experts, in addition to organizing a number of drama workshops. ]]>
12/11/2017 10:49:43 AM
<![CDATA[Legendary film critic Samir Farid; a spark in Egyptian cinema]]>
Work as a critic in the film industry is difficult; pointing out the shortcomings in anyone’s hard work is not a way to make friends. So the recognition of Farid’s work through the honorary prize of the 39th Cairo International Film Festival is a testament to his effect on the industry.

Samir Farid considered criticism a way to discover cinema, its language and its nature. He was in love with cinema; his criticism of films reflects his method to experience cinema and life.

Farid published over 60 books, most of which are about Egyptian cinema. Hollywood’s films usually didn’t capture his imagination quite like Egyptian films did, so he focused his work on the subject of cinema and politics in Egypt and how intellectual leaders such Youssef Chahine and Naguib Mahfouz dealt with these issues.

Samir was not only interested in the theory and execution of cinema but also its history and preservation. He aimed to understand the medium and its role in Egypt; he was the first to take an intellectual look at its evolution over the decades in his essay the “Six Generations of Egyptian Cinema”. He took it upon himself to archive about 5,000 Egyptian and Arab films to preserve Middle Eastern cinematic history for future generations; he made the cinematic memory of the region available to everyone.

The death of Samir Farid in February 2017 left a vacuum in his wake. He was not a just a critic but an institution. He founded festivals, created the associations of Arab and of Egyptian film critics, edited magazines, translated and published books and headed the CIFF in 2014.

By honoring Samir Farid in Cairo International Film Festival, we are rewarding a figure that has dedicated his heart and mind to Egyptian cinema.]]>
12/10/2017 10:35:17 PM
<![CDATA[Medina Beats Night to take place in Cairo]]>
Medina Beats is organized by W.A.R project and Onorient initiative. Both aim to revive the Arabic heritage and shed light on Arabic subcultures.

The night will start with screening two documentary films; "Rihla: The Cultural Paths of the Arab World" and "A Song for Nubia."

A wonderful music performance by Multinational independent band Estabena will follow the screenings.

Estabena is a multicultural band that performs many folk music compositions taken from Mediterranean cultures. The band represents the cultures of Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon and Syria.

Although Estabena is a newly-founded band, it performed many live performances in different venues such as Dawar, Bab 18 Art Space, Room Art Space and Café and El Dammah Theater.

Estabena means “We Agree” in Egyptian slang. Originally the word was borrowed from the Italian language.

The band consists of Chakib Ararou on guitar and vocals, Mahmoud Mohamed on violin, George Emad on percussion, and Mohamed Samy Negm on oud, in addition to two vocalists Luisa Russo and Emad Fathy. ]]>
12/10/2017 8:19:39 PM
<![CDATA['Pandora' animated film to screen at Teatro Eskindria ]]>
The film’s cast includes a number of impressive talents such as Esraa Mahmoud, Asmaa Samir, Mohamed Mekki, and Reda Beshr.

Based on the Greek famous myth Pandora, the film revolves around a poor young man who decides to face his problems with wizardry and spells.

Pandora is one of the most celebrated Greek myths. According to Works and Days poem by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod, she is the first Greek woman created on Earth by Zeus.

Zeus created her from water and dust, carrying phenomenal features such as beauty, and music. She was given a magical box which contains all the diseases and evil in the world and she eventually decides to open it when she can no longer contain her curiosity; unleashing all of its contents on the world. ]]>
12/10/2017 8:17:53 PM
<![CDATA[Ramadan 2018 series starring Emam, Youssef to air on Saudi TV]]>
Magnoum Production Company, the producer of the two series signed a contract with Saudi TV to screen “Awalem Khafia” and “Tayea” exclusively on its channel pertaining to Arab world countries but they will be aired on Egyptian TV as well.

“Awalem Khafia” stars the one and only mega star Adel Emam and “Tayea” stars the Egyptian star Amr Youssef.

“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.

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 in the entire Arab World received on September 22, the Creative Achievement Award during the opening ceremony of the first edition of 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 Best Actor Award in 1995 at Cairo International Film Festival for his film “The Terrorist,” Artistic Achievement Award in 2005 at Dubai International Film Festival, the Golden Star in 2014 at Marrakech International Film Festival and the Golden Tanit in 2016 at the Carthage Film Festival.]]>
12/10/2017 7:35:48 PM
<![CDATA[AFAC announces movies that won its grants]]>
The AFAC received 325 film projects in 2017, ranging from long feature movies and documentaries to short and experimental movies. The AFAC held two separate jury committees. The first was for short film projects and the second was for feature movies projects.

The cinema committees in general contain experts and film professionals who come from diverse backgrounds and nationalities.

The short films jury includes Palestinian-Jordanian filmmaker Yahya Abdallah, Lebanese filmmaker Sabine El Chamaa and Egyptian Coordinator of film programs and cultural art projects Ali El Adawi.

The feature movies jury contains Syrian filmmaker Ossama Mohammed, Moroccan director, writer and comic book creator Hicham Lasri, and Tunisian director and screenwriter Kaouther Ben Hania.

“We have a common feeling that an extra cognitive experience inhabits us today after an intense journey into the spiritual and aesthetic world of the cinematic works and cinematic texts hailing from Arab countries. The projects presented to AFAC’s Cinema grant 2017 almost converge in their insistence on addressing the psychological, political, and historical challenges that is endemic to the individual and to cultural society. In this sense, the cultural transcends the political and refutes its compromises; the humane and the aesthetical are above all authority and placed first in line,” a statement issued by AFAC mentioned.

The AFAC added that the vast number of applications in comparison to the available funds put the jury in painful moments of relinquishing the opportunity for projects that really deserve it because others deserve more. “We recognize that AFAC’s grant today provides an additional lung for filmmakers trying out freedom outside of set styles, and we recognize the authority of the market which compels us to push AFAC to launch more than one call per year.”

The 2017 Cinema winning projects are as follows:

“A Gaza Weekend” by Basil Khalil
“A Kasha” by Hajooj Kuka
“A Son” by Mehdi Barsaoui
“Amussu” by Nadir Bouhmouch
“Antibodies” by Assem Hendawi
“Bottles” by Yassine El Idrissi
“Displaced in Heaven” by Khaled Jarrar
“Divine Wind” by Merzak Allouache
“How Grandmother Became a Chair” by Nicolas Fattouh
“If It Were Not For Their Presence, We Would Have Thought the War Never Happened” by Ghassan Halwani
“In Vitro” by Larissa Sansour
“Mad Crossings” by Ayman Nahle
“Musical Apocalypse” by Jacques Debs
“On that Day” by Mohanad Yaqubi
“Quadrum” by Fadi Yeni Turk
“Saudade” by Roy Dib
“Searching for Kikhia” by Jihan Kikhia
“Strange Cities” are Familiar by Saeed Taji Farouky
“Tawaseef” by Ali Shiran
“The bridge” by Hala Lotfy
“The Return” by Meyar Al-Roumi
“The River” by Ghassan Salhab
“The World We Knew” by Kawthar Younis
“Weldi” by Mohammed Ben Attia
“What Comes Around” by Reem Saleh
“Wooden Rifle” by Alfoz Tanjour
“You Will Die At Twenty” by Amjad Abu Al Ala
“Yusra and Dorothy” by Salim Abu Jabal.]]>
12/10/2017 6:51:29 PM
<![CDATA['The Visit' theatrical performance to stage Teatro Eskendria]]>
Directed by Mohamed al-Gamsy, "The Visit" is based on contemporary Greek author Loula Anagnostaki's one-act play "Polé" (The City).

Shedding light on human suffering, the play explores human's inner conflicts. It also examines globalization's impacts on modern lifestyle and social communities.

"The Visit" was performed at different venues such as the Greek Culture Center. It was praised by the audience due to the impressive talents of the performers: Mohamed Nagla, Mahmoud Said and Yara Hassan.

Loula Anagnostaki was born on December 13, 1928, and died on October 8, 2017. She was one of the influential Greek dramatists. Her first three one-act plays "Dianyktereusē" (Overnight stop), "Polé" (The City) and "Parelasé" (Parade) were performed in 1965 in different countries such as Cyprus, Poland, France, Italy and the U.K.

Her major works are "E Synanastrophē" (Social encounter), "Antonio ē to menyma" (Antonio or the message), "Nikē" (Victory), "E Kaseta" (The cassette), and "O Ihos Tou Oplou" (The sound of the gun). ]]>
12/10/2017 3:04:24 PM
<![CDATA[CTDF to honor Mohamed Sobhy on Monday]]>
CTDF will organize a big ceremony to honor the veteran theatrical actor. The honoring ceremony will be followed by a seminar discussing Sobhy’s theatrical career. The ceremony will be attended by different media agencies, newspapers and TV channels.

Sobhy, is an Egyptian actor, writer and theatrical director who was born in Cairo in 1948. In 1967, he caught attention by playing the role of “Hamlet” during his final exams at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts. At the time he wrote, starred and directed “Hamlet,” using his unique theatrical vision.

Sobhy graduated with honors and was appointed as a demonstrator to the institute.

Sobhy started his theater career by performing in minor roles in famous plays alongside great actors, like Salah Mansour, Mohamed Awad, Fouad el-Mohandes, and Mohamed Negm among others.

His first minor yet influential role was in the famous play “Hello Shalaby” in 1970. Sobhy’s first leading role was in “Entaha el Dars Ya Ghabi” (The Lesson is Over, Stupid).

Sobhy’s theatrical repertoire includes “Al Joker” (The Joker), “Al Hamagy” (The Barbarian), “Weghet Nazar” (A Point of View), and “Carmen” among others.

He performed in many popular soap operas, the most famous being “Fares bela Gawad” (A Knight without a Horse) and the immortal series “Yawmeyat Wanees” (Wanees’s Diaries), which has aired seven seasons.]]>
12/10/2017 3:01:05 PM
<![CDATA[Ahmed Kamal joins the cast of 'Turab al-Mass']]>

Renowned Egyptian director Marwan Hamed previously announced that he discussed all the film’s details with its cast and they will start shooting within the next few days.

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 a movie based on the novel which bears the same name, written 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.

The movie features a notable cast alongside Yassin including Menna Shalaby, Maged el-Kidwany, Ezzat al-Alayly, Mohamed Mamdouh, Khaled al-Sawy and Sawsan Badr.]]>
12/10/2017 2:59:01 PM
<![CDATA[ 'Tale' Senay' to screen at DIFF on Monday]]>

Released in 2017, the film revolves around an Egyptian couple who seizes the American Embassy in Egypt after being denied visas to enter the United States.

The feature film stars a group of talented Egyptian actors and actresses, including Rasha Gawdat, Maged el-Kedwany, Mai Kassab, Abdel Rahman Abou Zahra, Bayoumi Fouad, Horeya Farghali, and Sayed Ragab. "Tale' Senay" is directed by Khaled Diab.

Featuring regional and international filmmakers who shed light on Arab culture, the festival’s “Arabian Nights” chose to screen "Talea Senay."

“Arabian Nights” is one of the most highly anticipated categories each December, as it celebrates the cultural diversity within the Arab world through the exceptional medium of film. This year’s lineup tackles pressing issues facing the world today and aims to overcome these boundaries, bringing communities together through compelling storytelling,” said Delphine Garde-Mroueh, Arabian Nights programmer in a press statement by DIFF. ]]>
12/10/2017 2:09:58 PM
<![CDATA[Kohli-Sharma set to marry in Italy: reports]]>
Rumours started swirling when Kohli pulled out of India's limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka and Sharma also ducked out of her busy acting schedule in December.

Indian TV channels have gone into overdrive over what they have billed as the "wedding of the year".

"A heritage property within a resort in Tuscany is being decked up for the wedding," the Hindustan Times said on Sunday.

"Arrangements for a typically Punjabi wedding are reportedly being made by the wedding planner," the newspaper added, citing unnamed sources.

The celebrity couple and their families have reportedly flown out of India for the week-long celebrations.

A grand reception is also planned in Mumbai on December 26.

There has been no confirmation from the couple.

The Indian captain has said he needed to rest because of his "massive workload", ahead of the national side's tour of South Africa in January.

Kohli and Sharma, both 29, started dating in 2013 after they met during the filming of a shampoo advert.

The high-profile couple made their first public appearance a year later during a football match.

Kohli is one of the world's highest-paid athletes and a huge star in cricket-crazy India, and Sharma is one of the top actresses in the multi-billion-dollar Indian film industry.

If the two stars do get hitched, theirs will be the latest in a list of Bollywood-cricket weddings.

From former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and actress Sharmila Tagore to the recent Zaheer Khan-Sagarika Ghatge union, India has a long history of marriages between cricket players and movie stars.]]>
12/10/2017 1:11:22 PM
<![CDATA[UK Princes William and Harry announce sculptor for new Diana statue]]>
Ian Rank-Broadley, whose effigy of the Queen has appeared on all UK and Commonwealth coinage since 1998, will design the statue, which now will not be unveiled until next year.

"Ian is an extremely gifted sculptor and we know that he will create a fitting and lasting tribute to our mother," Prince William and his younger brother Harry said in a statement.

In January, the brothers commissioned a statue in honour of their mother, who died in a Paris car crash 20 years ago to be erected outside their official London home Kensington Palace.

Diana, the first wife of the heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, was killed when the limousine carrying her and her lover Dodi al-Fayed crashed in a Paris tunnel in August 1997.

William was 15 and Harry was 12 at the time.

"We have been touched by the kind words and memories so many people have shared about our mother over these past few months," the brothers said. "It is clear the significance of her work is still felt by many in the UK and across the world, even twenty years after her death."

It had been hoped that the statue would be unveiled before the end of the year to mark the anniversary, but Kensington Palace said that it was now envisaged that the statue would be unveiled in 2019.

The first permanent memorial to her, a 210-metre (689-foot) long fountain was unveiled in Hyde Park in 2004 after years of bureaucratic wrangling and squabbling over the design.]]>
12/10/2017 1:09:31 PM
<![CDATA[Shenouda to celebrate Al-Masryeen ensemble 40th anniversary ]]>
Shenouda will review Al-Masryeen ensemble's career in the event organized by the National Center for Theater, Music and Folklore.

Formed by Shenouda in 1977, Al-Masryeen ensemble is one of the earliest ensembles in Egypt. The early line up included: Mona Aziz, Tahseen Yalmaz, Eman Younis, and Mamdouh Qasem.

The idea of forming the band came after Shenouda’s performances with his own band, where he introduced several Italian, Spanish and French songs.

Afterwards, he decided to use his musical talents to revolutionize Arabic music, so he started by composing Mohamed Mounir’s early albums "A’lemony Eeneky" (Your Eyes Taught Me) and "Benetweled" (We Are Born).

Following Mounir's albums, Shenouda composed the first album for his ensemble El-MAsryeen, entitled "Love You.No" (Bahebak.La2).

Among El-Masryeen’s hits in 1970s and 1980s are "Mathsebosh Ya Banat" (Don't Think That, Girls), and "Mashya El-Sanyora" (The Princess is Walking).

After the success of El-Masryeen, a wave of new ensembles followed in Egypt, such as 4M by Ezzat Abu Ouf, El-Asdekaa’ (The Friends) by Ammar el-Sherei and Tiba band by Hussein and Mody el-Emam.

Unfortunately, El-Masreyeen split up after several arguments between the vocalists in the band.

Recently, the band has been reformed by Shenouda and new members joined; namely Sara el-Hawawry, Sara Medhat, and Ahmed Sayed.
12/10/2017 12:54:46 PM
<![CDATA[French crime drama film “L’Outsider” to screen in Egypt]]>
“L’Outsider” (The Outsider) is a French crime drama film directed by Christopher Barratier based on the true story of Jérôme Kerviel, a French trader who committed the biggest case of trading fraud during the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, resulting in losses of 4.9 billion Euros.

The film follows Kerviel’s life beginning from 2000, from the start of his career at the French bank Société Générale. Focusing on the less common trading practices in the bank, and shows the chain of events that led to Kerviel’s massive fraud, turning him from a modestly paid accountant to the perpetrator of the world’s biggest case of fraud.

“L’Outsider” stars Arthur Dupont as Jérôme Kerviel, François-Xavier Demaison as Fabien Keller, Sabrina Ouazani as Sofia, and Tewfik Jallab as Samir.

12/10/2017 9:33:54 AM
<![CDATA[Celebs sleep rough to raise money for Scotland's homeless]]>
Around 8,000 people gathered in Princes Street Gardens in central Edinburgh to hear the likes of singer-songwriters Liam Gallagher and Amy MacDonald, and bands Deacon Blue and Frightened Rabbit, "busk" for the cause.

Live Aid founder Bob Geldof, Monty Python comic John Cleese, Olympian Chris Hoy, comedian Rob Brydon and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon were also among the well-known faces helping to keep participants fed and entertained through the night.

Geldof, who recalled sleeping rough in London when he first arrived in the city decades ago, hailed the turnout "magnificent" and said it was more than just a gesture.

"They’re also sleeping out in disgust at something so criminal in one of the richest countries in the world," he told AFP.

The event was organised by charity Social Bite, which has become a magnet for celebrity support in recent years.

Actors George Clooney and Leonardo Di Caprio have visited their Scottish restaurants, which are staffed in large part by people who have struggled with homelessness.

Geldof called it "a cafe where you get your dignity back".

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, said: "We’ve been really fortunate to get some high profile visitors.

"That really put the spotlight on our organisation, and really gave us a platform to do things like this, to really push things as far as we can, to make an impact and raise awareness about homelessness.

"Everybody attending has raised money -- some of them lots and lots of money -- so hopefully the event will raise between £3-4 million (3.4-4.6 million euros, $4-5.4 million) for homelessness, as well as putting it at the top of the political agenda."

- Inequality in Britain -

A study commissioned by Social Bite to accompany the event found that child poverty is the main driver of homelessness in Scotland.

"We knew, anecdotally from meeting lots of homeless people, that almost anyone you meet who is homeless have been dealt some really terrible cards in life and suffered really harrowing circumstances," added Littlejohn.

"When you learn that it is typically as a result not of individual decision making but of the structures of society and the cards that people were dealt, it really compels you to be much more compassionate to those individuals and restructure society so that they are not so marginalised."

A series of reports in recent weeks have exposed the scale of inequality in Britain.

A social mobility commission created by the British government found a massive gulf between the life chances of people living in London and the rest of the country.

A few days after the publication of their latest report, the commissioners resigned en-masse complaining the government in Westminster is too focused on Brexit to deal with the issue adequately.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) recently revealed the first sustained increases in child and pensioner poverty for 20 years in England, where homelessness rose by almost 50 per cent between 2009/10 and 2016/17.

However, homelessness dropped by nearly a third in Scotland -- which is run by a semi-autonomous nationalist government -- and it now has the lowest levels of poverty in Britain, according to the JRF.]]>
12/10/2017 9:03:24 AM
<![CDATA[Delayed Bolshoi 'Nureyev' opens with director under arrest]]>
In a move unprecedented in the Moscow theatre's modern history, the Bolshoi in July cancelled the world premiere of "Nureyev" just three days before opening night, after director Kirill Serebrennikov was questioned in a criminal probe.

Serebrennikov was placed under house arrest in August in a fraud case supporters say is part of a politically motivated crackdown on Russia's arts community ahead of presidential elections next year.

Management cited an under-rehearsed cast for the delayed premiere but speculation swirled that it had been pulled because of the investigation or the ballet's treatment of Nureyev's homosexuality.

Several audience members told AFP they had come to the opening night to show support for the director.

"I'm sure Kirill's talent will always be appreciated -- with all my heart I wish him creative freedom and I'm sure that all the people who were here tonight will wish the same thing," said 28-year-old film actress Alexandra Korendyuk.

The "wonderful" performance received a standing ovation, she said.

"For people who love the theatre and ballet it was very touching, everyone worked incredibly well -- and freedom to Kirill Serebrennikov," said actor Gurgen Tsaturyan, 46.

Some audience members were wearing t-shirts with the slogan "freedom to the director", he added.

Muscovites queued for hours to buy tickets for two performances of the new ballet when they went on sale last month, after the theatre announced in September the production would go ahead.

- Adults only -

Serebrennikov, who heads Moscow's innovative Gogol Centre theatre, is accused of defrauding the state of over $1 million (850 million euros) in arts funding.

The director has dismissed the case against him as "absurd".

A request from the Bolshoi to Russia's Investigative Committee that Serebrennikov be released to attend final rehearsals was not answered, the theatre's general director said Friday.

Dozens of prominent figures in Russia and international stars, including Cate Blanchett and Ian McKellen have called for Serebrennikov to be released without charge.

"Nureyev", choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, charts the life of the superstar dancer who defected from the Soviet Union and found new fame in the West before dying from an AIDS-related illness in 1993.

Although homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, prejudice is common and human rights activists report widespread harassment and abuse.

Theatre management insisted at a press conference Friday that it had not imposed any changes on "Nureyev" since July, but Russian journalists comparing a final run-through to a video of summer rehearsals said nudity had been scaled back.

The Bolshoi announced on Friday that the production would return to the theatre in May.]]>
12/10/2017 9:01:34 AM
<![CDATA[Why do the French love Johnny Hallyday?]]>
But if you asked people outside the French-speaking world who Hallyday was, most would greet you with a blank stare.

AFP explains the "Johnny" phenomenon, and why the singer's death has sparked such an emotional outpouring in France.

Why did France love his music?

Hallyday is the man who brought American-style rock 'n' roll to conservative post-war France, releasing his first record in 1960 and going on to sell 110 million.

He acted as a French-American cultural translator, copying Presley's quiff and leather trousers while belting out French versions of songs like "House of the Rising Sun".

He also moved with the times -- veering over the years from rock to prog and blues -- and was almost a caricature of a rock star, complete with the drug problems and tumultuous love life.

Hallyday may be best loved by the baby-boomers who came of age with him, and his power ballads were sometimes mocked as outdated.

But even though he had long since gone from being a heartthrob to a grandfatherly figure, even the young can still sing along to his biggest hits.

Is it just about the songs?

No. For many of those mourning, it's more about what he symbolised.

Like Elvis and the Beatles, Hallyday shot to fame in the 1960s as a symbol of youthful rebellion in a society that was shaking off the war and learning to loosen up.

And he was simply around for so long -- both on the stage and on the front covers of gossip magazines, having wed four women, one of them twice -- that for many it feels like the end of an era.

For others, Johnny provided markers in their lives from listening to his songs as children in the car on family holidays or attending his concerts as adults.

Much like France itself, he also had his ups and downs.

"If the artistic quality of his work remains a matter of debate, his ability to capture the contradictions of French society is obvious," sociologist Jean-Luc Fabiani wrote in Le Monde.

"His songs capture vulnerability and indecision, strokes of bad luck, and a capacity for resilience."

Is he really universally beloved?

It would be an exaggeration to say the entire nation is in mourning -- many young music fans in particular met his passing with indifference.

Hallyday also unleashed a political storm in 2006 for his decision to move into tax exile in Switzerland.

And he was often ridiculed by comedians as being rather stupid, though he insisted to AFP: "I'm not nearly as dumb as people think."

How has France reacted to his death?

TV schedules were hastily cleared for tribute shows as news of his death at 74 broke, and his songs are set to blare out before this weekend's football matches.

There were some calls for him to be granted a state funeral, but the presidency instead said he would be sent off with "people's tribute" in Paris.

Hundreds of motorcyclists will accompany his coffin on its way down the Champs Elysees -- Johnny was a life-long biker who adored his Harley -- and President Emmanuel Macron will speak in church.

In the press, there has been a flood of pieces about his qualities as a unifying cultural figure, with Macron himself declaring: "There is something of Johnny in all of us."

Why is he so unknown outside France?
This is something of a puzzle. His cult status was not dissimilar to that of stars like Edith Piaf or Serge Gainsbourg who are much better known abroad.

Some have suggested it's because he was so insistent on trying to copy American stars rather than sticking to "being French".

"There was something comical about his determination to copy –- and some would say murder –- every passing fashion in Anglo-Saxon popular music," John Lichfield wrote in the Guardian.

Hallyday longed to make it big in the US and recorded his third album in English.

He moved his family to Los Angeles in 2010 -- saying he loved going incognito -- and remained cheerful about his failure to crack America.

"My international career? It'll happen if it happens," Hallyday once told AFP.

"But I don't especially want to succeed elsewhere. It's better to be king in one's own country than a prince elsewhere."]]>
12/10/2017 8:58:33 AM
<![CDATA[Wassouf to perform in Sharm El-Sheikh on December 31]]>
Wassouf was born in Lebanon in 1961. He began his career at the age of 10 and gained a lot of recognition since then. Wassouf won many awards and he is known for his strong vocals. He has been performing for about four decades, releasing more than 30 albums.

Wassouf has a significantly large fan base in the Arab world. He is one of the most prominent Arab singers, selling more than 60 million records worldwide.

Wassouf released a lot of successful hits such as “Kalam El Nass” (Gossip), “Leil El Ashiqeen” (The Night of Lovers), “Tabeeb Garrah” (A Surgeon), “Dol Mush Habayib” (They Are Not Lovers) among others.
12/9/2017 7:01:33 PM
<![CDATA[Kirk Douglas, Hollywood Golden Age icon, turns 101]]>
Born as Issur Danielovitch in 1916, Douglas came from a Russian Jewish family who immigrated to Amsterdam, New York, where he was born. His family was poor, leaving Douglas to support them by performing various odd jobs as he grew up. The grand life of fame that awaited him in the future would have seemed like an impossible dream, though he still pushed on to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, thanks to his good grades that helped him land a scholarship.

His time studying at the Academy helped Douglas meet his life-long friend Lauren Bacall, who would prove to be instrumental in helping to kick start his career. Douglas’s debut as an actor came in Broadway in 1941, which he would continue to act in before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and before being sent home due to injuries he suffered. Once back, he was advised to change his name, and Kirk Douglas came to be.

Bacall, already quite an accomplished actress, helped Douglas land the lead role in his first movie, 1946’s “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers”, where he starred alongside Barbara Stanwyck, and he would catch his big break in 1949’s “Champion”, where his performance as the ruthless boxer Midge Kelly earned him an Oscar nomination. Crowds were wowed, and Douglas had hit it big.

Rising to the top, Douglas would earn two more Academy Award nominations with “The Bad and the Beautiful” in 1952 and 1956's “Lust for Life”, where he portrayed famous artist Vincent Van Gogh and also won him the New York Critic’s Choice award.

Douglas had become so successful that he even founded his own production company, Bryna Productions, which he named after his mother. With this studio, the actor would star in his most legendary roles yet, including Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 masterpiece, “Spartacus”, where Douglas’s role as the titular Roman slave who leads an uprising became not only one of his signature performances, but one of the most iconic acting in all of Hollywood.

“Spartacus” also challenged Hollywood’s blacklisting of people over suspicion of Communist, as Douglas hired Dalton Trumbo, who went on to have a successful career as a screenwriter. Douglas would eventually try his hand as a writer and director, finding more success with his books than his movies. His 1988 biography “The Ragman's Son” became a bestseller, and he survived a stroke that still affects his speech, which he would write about in 2003’s “My Stroke of Luck”.

Outside of his career, Douglas is also renowned for his immense philanthropy alongside his wife Anne, with acts such as helping to rebuild Los Angeles’s playgrounds; donating millions to charity, feeding the homeless and more. He credits this generous nature back to his mother, who always taught him to help others when possible. In 1988, Douglas was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

During the week leading up to his 101st birthday, Douglas was greeted by fellow Hollywood royalty Judi Dench, who also shares their date of birth and turns 83. He met her for the first time on November 30 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where he received the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film.

His son, Michael Douglas, carries on the family torch as an accomplished actor of his own right.

12/9/2017 6:38:09 PM
<![CDATA[Theatrical Professions Syndicate boycotts American movies]]>
“Theatrical Professions Syndicate announces that because of its national responsibilities and Arab national constants, we completely rejects U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to transfer the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine,” stated the syndicate.

The Syndicate added in its statement that “Trump’s decision is considered stark support to the Zionist entity that is raging against the Arab Islamic world and the Christian world as well, breaking all the resolutions of international legitimacy, and that it declares its full solidarity with our Palestinian brothers.”

“We are aware of the poisoned Zionist plan to be carried out by expelling our Palestinian brothers from their land to ease the establishment of the Israeli habitations and to settle the original inhabitants of the land in any nearby Arab desert after their apparent failure to approach one inch of Sinai because the Egyptian army confronted them courageously and patriotically, sacrificing our precious blood to protect Sinai.”

The syndicate ended its statement by calling all those working in the cinema industry to boycott American movies.]]>
12/9/2017 6:32:35 PM
<![CDATA[French Institute to give lectures on ancient Egyptian history ]]>
This month’s lecture will be dedicated to Dendera Temple and its magnificent architectural style. Its site includes different historical buildings such as Temple of the birth of Isis, Christian Basilica, Hathor Temple and the Sacred Lake.

The lecture will be given by Pierre Zignani, the director of the Archaeological Mission of the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology of Dendera.

Recently, the French have organized many lectures given by the chiefs of the French Archaeological Missions in Egypt to review their latest archaeological discoveries.

12/9/2017 5:56:02 PM
<![CDATA[Elton John performs at Dubai’s Autism Rocks Arena]]>

Elton John dedicated "Your Song" to his mum, Sheila, who passed away on Monday. ⚘💕 #EltonJohn #MyDubai🇦🇪

A post shared by Ellen Fortini (@ellenfortini) on

The original date for the concert was back in December 2016 before being pushed to January, though a further delay was caused by health issues which prevented John from being able to travel. John performed some 24 songs from his 50-year long career, including tracks from his latest album “Wonderful Crazy Night”.

One of the most acclaimed solo singers of all time, Elton John has sold well over 300 million records worldwide, with his single “Candle In The Wind” (1997) holding the record as the best selling single of all time, and has toured over 4,000 performances across 80 countries since 1970, with five Grammy awards to his name.

While fans at the Autism Rocks Arena were required to remain seated, it didn’t prevent any of celebrating John’s immense talent, especially after his performance of “Your Song”, which the singer dedicated to his mother who recently passed away.

Elton wrapped up the show with an encore of “Candle In the Wind”, putting a fabulous finish to a long-awaited tour.

12/9/2017 5:40:55 PM
<![CDATA[Animated film ‘Ethel & Ernest’ to screen at Magnolia ]]>
Based on the graphic novel "Ethel and Ernest" by English author Raymond Briggs, the film revolves around the life of a small family; Ernest, his wife Ethel and their son Raymond during World War II. It also traces major social changes in English society after World War II.

Released in 2016, it stars Pam Ferris, Jim Broadbent, Brenda Blethyn and Luke Treadaway.

It participated in different festivals such as Stuttgart International Trickfilm Festival 2017 and Melbourne International Film Festival 2017. It won the Jury Award for Best Animated Feature in Anima Mundi Animation Festival in 2017.
12/9/2017 5:30:08 PM
<![CDATA[Today in History – ‘Scarface’ premieres starring Al Pacino]]>

From director Brian De Palma, “Scarface” chronicles the rise and fall of Miami drug lord Tony Montana (Pacino), an immigrant from Cuba in the 1980s who arrives with his friend Manny Ribera (Steven Bauer) at the shores of the U.S., dreaming of a big life. He succeeds in taking over a drug cartel, but his time on the top soon comes to a crashing end as he succumbs to cocaine addiction, fueled by paranoia from his enemies who are out to get him.

“Scarface” was a loose remake of a 1932 gangster movie, which was based on the life of Al “Scarface” Pacino. The movie, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggiathe, was nominated for three Golden Globe awards and has become a cult classic since its release. Originally the film was criticized for its graphic violence.

12/9/2017 3:57:19 PM
<![CDATA['Welcome to Night Vale' podcast to be adapted into TV series]]>
“Welcome to Night Vale” is a twice-monthly podcast hosted by Cecil Baldwin. Set in the fictional desert town of Night Vale, where bizarre supernatural incidents are reported via community updates with a humorous style. The podcast was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, who will serve as executive producers for the TV series.

Harper Perennial will also publish script-books for seasons three and four of the podcast, which will include introductions by the cast and creators with illustrations from Jessica Hayworth.

12/9/2017 3:49:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt movie 'Balash Tebosny' screens Saturday at DIFF]]>
The film revolves around director Tamer who struggles to deal with an actress, who quits a kissing scene and the whole film industry after she decides to don the hijab; the film stars Yasmine Rais.

“Balash Tebosny” is directed by Egyptian-American writer and director Ahmed Amer. Amer has previously released the worldwide recognized hit film "Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim.” “Balash Tebosny” will be closing the Arabian Nights lineup at DIFF.

“Arabian Nights is one of the most highly anticipated categories each December, as it celebrates the cultural diversity within the Arab region through the exceptional medium of film. This year’s lineup tackles pressing issues facing the world today and aims to overcome these boundaries, bringing communities together through compelling storytelling,” said Delphine Garde-Mroueh, Arabian Nights Programmer in a press statement by DIFF.

DIFF has previously announced that 11 films will be participating in the Arabian Nights segment as part of its 14th edition of the festival.]]>
12/9/2017 3:46:09 PM
<![CDATA['The Mountain between Us" to screen in Cairo ]]>
Based on "The Mountain between Us" novel by Charles Martin, the film revolves around Ben Bass played by Idris Elba, and Photojournalist Alex Martin, played by Kate Winslet, who had a tragic airplane crash. They find themselves on top of a remote mountain covered in snow and in order to survive they have to communicate and work hand in hand.

Directed by the prominent Palestinian director Hany Abu Asaad, the film premiered in the Toronto International Film Festival 2017. ]]>
12/9/2017 3:07:39 PM
<![CDATA[Hurghada Airport thwarts smuggling of 102 artifacts]]>
The seized artifacts date back to different eras including Greek, Roman and Ottoman periods, in addition to many antiquates which belong to Egyptian Jewish families.

One of the seized artifacts [Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page]

They include more than 80 historic coins, in addition to five stone plates with Hebrew texts.

The seized artifacts will be exhibited in different museums such as the Museum of Islamic Art, the Egyptian Museum and the Manial Palace Museum.

One of the seized artifacts [Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page]

Recently, the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Police managed to thwart the theft of artifacts in different areas in Egypt including Assiut.]]>
12/9/2017 2:24:46 PM
<![CDATA[Trailer for sci-fi action film ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ drops]]>
Adapted from a Japanese graphic novel by Yukito Kishiro titled “Gunnm”, the film stars Rosa Salazar as the titular Alita, an android recovered from a scrap-yard by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christopher Waltz). As she aims to recover her lost memories, Alita joins Ido working as a bounty hunter, and learns about her immense combat abilities, which could be the key to saving the corrupt world she lives in.

The film is shot digitally in a similar fashion to Cameron’s “Avatar”, mixing CGI with live-action to an almost uncanny extent.

“Alita: Battle Angel” will be released July 20, 2018.

12/9/2017 2:09:41 PM
<![CDATA[‘Obsession, A Fashion Photography’ talk by Sherif Elbouhy at Photopia]]>
Elbouhy was born in 1981 in Port Said, where the mixture of cultures inspired him. Now working as a fashion photographer, Elbouhy rose from the very bottom to get to where he is today in spite of the hardships he faced along the way. He has worked on projects for the government to photograph the Suez Canal Terminal Port in addition to his extensive career in fashion and portraits.

The talk will go discuss his life, career challenges he has faced in the past and now, his gear, techniques used to light portraits and how to deliver a unique voice and point of view through photography.]]>
12/9/2017 2:08:12 PM
<![CDATA[Two newly discovered tombs in Luxor]]>
The two newly discovered tombs are located nearby the Osrahat Tomb and the Amenemhat tomb

El-Enany formally announced the discovery these tombs in addition to announcing the start of the restoration of the compartment of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut known as Djeser-Djeseru (Holy of Holies).

The newly discovered tomb collections – Ahmed Marei/Egypt Today

The two tombs belonged to two top officials from the ‘New Kingdom’, contained a rich funerary collection, a large number of ushabti funerary figurines, gilded coffins, mummies wrapped in linen and funerary mask and as well as colored inscriptions on the walls and corridors of the two tombs and a wall painted with a dazzling gold.

The two newly discovered tombs were discovered by an Egyptian mission headed by Mostafa Waziry the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The mission has previously discovered the tomb of god Amun-Re’s goldsmith in Draa Abul Naga in September.

Mostafa el Waziry inside one of the newly discovered tombs – Ahmed Marei/Egypt Today

In September all eyes were on Egypt as news of the discovery of an 18th dynasty
(1549/1550 BC to 1292 BC) tomb was announced. The tomb, unearthed in Luxor,
Upper Egypt, belonged to Amun-Re’s goldsmith, Amenemhat (Kampp 390), Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani announced in a press conference last month.

The tomb was found to contain a number of coffins carrying the remains of the goldsmith, his wife and his son. It also housed a large well with a depth of eight meters, as well as artifacts, pottery vessels and ushabti statues and equipment used by the famous Pharaonic gold trader.

The newly discovered tomb collections – Ahmed Marei/Egypt Today

‘’The newly discovered tomb has lead the archaeologists to the entrances of new tombs that are about to be discovered,’’ recounted Waziri, during the conference that followed the discovery, which was attended by Governor of Luxor Mohamed Badr, the Cypriot ambassador and members of both local and international media.

Famed Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass described this discovery as “one of the most important discoveries in the modern era.” Waziri agrees, announcing he is confident that this tomb, which is located in the West Bank in Luxor, will be an even more important find than the Osrahat cemetery, which was discovered last April.

The newly discovered tomb collections – Ahmed Marei/Egypt Today

The number of ushabti statues discovered was about 1,400 as well as to mummies and masks belonging to the owner of the tomb that are plated with different colors.

It is worth mentioning that Some 27 statues and parts of Goddess Sekhmet’s statue were discovered in the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep in Kom el-Hettân area located in Luxor’s left bank by the Egyptian-European mission on December 3.

Waziry announced that the discovered statues are made of black granite, the largest of which is two meters in height.

The newly discovered tomb collections – Ahmed Marei/Egypt Today

Some of the statues depict the Goddess Sekhmet sitting on the throne holding in their left hands ‘The Ankh’, which is a pharaonic hieroglyphic ideograph symbolizing life, while the others show Sekhmet standing holding a mace of papyrus, their heads decorated with the sun and Ouroboros snakes.

Professor Sorozyan, the head of the mission, recounted that some of the statues were discovered in a good condition while the others were in a bad condition as they were found in the deep layers of the ground.

Sorozyan added that the mission is currently cleaning and restoring the statues with the intention of displaying them in the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep. ]]>
12/9/2017 1:33:30 PM
<![CDATA[Egybadour to perform at Room Art Space & Café ]]>
Egybadour was founded in 2012 by Mohamed Abo Zid and two of his French friends Bertrand Mahiou and Etienne Porhel. Many other members have since been incorporated into the original line up.


Aiming to enriching the music scene in Egypt, Egybadour presents different music trends taken from the Egyptian and French cultures to spread a message of peace.

The band previously performed in a number of venues including El Sawy Culturewheel, DAMA Theater, French Culture Institute in Cairo, and the Faculty of Music Education of Helwan University.

Egybadour consists of Mohammad Abu Zaid on oud and mandole, Bertrand Mahiou on oud, guitar and recorder, Alain Robert on tabla and percussion, Philippe Humbert on clarinet and the two singers, Jeanette Zaki and Luisa. ]]>
12/9/2017 12:50:18 PM
<![CDATA[Why do the French love Johnny Hallyday?]]>
But if you asked people outside the French-speaking world who Hallyday was, most would greet you with a blank stare.

AFP explains the "Johnny" phenomenon, and why the singer's death has sparked such an emotional outpouring in France.

Why did France love his music?

Hallyday is the man who brought American-style rock 'n' roll to conservative post-war France, releasing his first record in 1960 and going on to sell 110 million.

He acted as a French-American cultural translator, copying Presley's quiff and leather trousers while belting out French versions of songs like "House of the Rising Sun".

He also moved with the times -- veering over the years from rock to prog and blues -- and was almost a caricature of a rock star, complete with the drug problems and tumultuous love life.

Hallyday may be best loved by the baby-boomers who came of age with him, and his power ballads were sometimes mocked as outdated.

But even though he had long since gone from being a heartthrob to a grandfatherly figure, even the young can still sing along to his biggest hits.

Is it just about the songs?

No. For many of those mourning, it's more about what he symbolised.

Like Elvis and the Beatles, Hallyday shot to fame in the 1960s as a symbol of youthful rebellion in a society that was shaking off the war and learning to loosen up.

And he was simply around for so long -- both on the stage and on the front covers of gossip magazines, having wed four women, one of them twice -- that for many it feels like the end of an era.

For others, Johnny provided markers in their lives from listening to his songs as children in the car on family holidays or attending his concerts as adults.

Much like France itself, he also had his ups and downs.

"If the artistic quality of his work remains a matter of debate, his ability to capture the contradictions of French society is obvious," sociologist Jean-Luc Fabiani wrote in Le Monde.

"His songs capture vulnerability and indecision, strokes of bad luck, and a capacity for resilience."

Is he really universally beloved?

It would be an exaggeration to say the entire nation is in mourning -- many young music fans in particular met his passing with indifference.

Hallyday also unleashed a political storm in 2006 for his decision to move into tax exile in Switzerland.

And he was often ridiculed by comedians as being rather stupid, though he insisted to AFP: "I'm not nearly as dumb as people think."

How has France reacted to his death?

TV schedules were hastily cleared for tribute shows as news of his death at 74 broke, and his songs are set to blare out before this weekend's football matches.

There were some calls for him to be granted a state funeral, but the presidency instead said he would be sent off with "people's tribute" in Paris.

Hundreds of motorcyclists will accompany his coffin on its way down the Champs Elysees -- Johnny was a life-long biker who adored his Harley -- and President Emmanuel Macron will speak in church.

In the press, there has been a flood of pieces about his qualities as a unifying cultural figure, with Macron himself declaring: "There is something of Johnny in all of us."

Why is he so unknown outside France?

This is something of a puzzle. His cult status was not dissimilar to that of stars like Edith Piaf or Serge Gainsbourg who are much better known abroad.

Some have suggested it's because he was so insistent on trying to copy American stars rather than sticking to "being French".

"There was something comical about his determination to copy ?- and some would say murder ?- every passing fashion in Anglo-Saxon popular music," John Lichfield wrote in the Guardian.

Hallyday longed to make it big in the US and recorded his third album in English.

He moved his family to Los Angeles in 2010 -- saying he loved going incognito -- and remained cheerful about his failure to crack America.

"My international career? It'll happen if it happens," Hallyday once told AFP.

"But I don't especially want to succeed elsewhere. It's better to be king in one's own country than a prince elsewhere."]]>
12/9/2017 12:20:49 PM
<![CDATA['Star Wars' stages 'Last Jedi' premiere]]>
Hotter than one of Yoda's root leaf curries, the movie is expected to cash in on 12 months of relentless hype with one of the biggest domestic opening weekends ever.

A galaxy of stars and lucky fans from near and far, far away will descend on downtown Los Angeles -- the first moviegoers in the world outside of the production to see the eighth installment of the blockbuster space saga.

All eyes will be on the initial flood of social media reaction, encouraged by Lucasfilm, although the studio has embargoed detailed reviews until 9:00 am Los Angeles time (1700 GMT) on Tuesday.

Fans will have to be patient before heading to Twitter for the inevitable rhapsody of excited buzz, as "The Last Jedi" is the longest "Star Wars" movie ever, clocking in at 153 minutes.

That is about 10 minutes longer than "Attack of the Clones" (2002), although critics will be hoping the new movie doesn't overstay its welcome, like that unloved second episode.

The premiere comes six days before the movie's general release in US theaters, kicking off a run widely expected to be the most successful worldwide since 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

- Good versus evil -

Experts are predicting an opening weekend domestic box office of around $220 million, which would push it beyond "Jurassic World" (2015) into second place behind "Awakens" ($248 million).

The cast came together in LA with director Rian Johnson on Sunday to build buzz for "The Last Jedi," which sees the return of the characters introduced in J.J. Abrams's first entry in the rebooted trilogy.

Gwendoline Christie, who plays stormtrooper commander Captain Phasma, put the continued relevance of "Star Wars" down to its foundational mythology of good versus evil.

"I think it's because the world we live in is a changing and evolving place that it retains the simplicity of those elements," she said.

"But it really resonates with what it is to follow your own human, dark, narcissistic tendencies, where that will take you."

Christie was joined at the event by returning stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domnhall Gleeson and Luke Skywalker himself -- Mark Hamill.

There were new faces too: Kelly Marie Tran as Resistance maintenance worker Rose Tico and Laura Dern, who plays Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo.

"The Last Jedi" -- filmed on the west coast of Ireland and at Pinewood Studios near London -- marks the last appearance of Carrie Fisher, who died last December, having already wrapped her scenes.

- 'Dire situation' -

One of Lucasfilm's trailers hinted darkly at a possible untimely demise for Fisher's iconic General Leia Organa at the hands of her son Kylo Ren.

Written by Johnson, "The Last Jedi" picks up directly where "The Force Awakens" left off, with Rey (Ridley) looking to Luke to teach her about The Force.

It is expected to presage adverse times for the Resistance -- prompting comparisons with the middle chapter of the original trilogy, "The Empire Strikes Back."

Like Fisher and Hamill, Harrison Ford was a "Star Wars" mainstay as loveable rogue Han Solo -- but the character is missing from the latest chapter, having been killed off.

"There hasn't been a 'Star Wars' movie yet that has explored war the way 'The Last Jedi' has," said Boyega.

"It's very messy. The categorizing of good and evil is all mixed together."

"It's a dire situation, it's critical. The Resistance is on its last legs," added Isaac.

"When you're trying to survive, the First Order's right on top of us, it is like war, where you've got to keep moving to try to survive. You feel the momentum of everything that happened in 'The Force Awakens' just pushing to a critical mass."]]>
12/9/2017 12:12:53 PM
<![CDATA[Independent singer Nour Khan will perform at 3elbet Alwan]]>
Khan is well known for her contributions to the underground music scene; she is a rising underground vocalists and is celebrated for her hit single “Ghorbaa” (Strangers).

An organizer of numerous vocalist workshops for beginners, Khan has produced anime songs and participated in the festival EgyCon.

“Ghorbaa” was released in 2013 and was a collaboration between Khan and Egyptian musician Abdallah Mohamed. The lyrics to the track were taken from a poem by Samih al-Qasim. It has been played four million times on Soundcloud.

Currently, she is working on her first EP in collaboration with other talented musicians.

Khan has performed at various venues including Azraq W Buny Art Studio Showroom, Room Art Space & Cafe and Bab 18 Art Space.]]>
12/9/2017 12:10:10 PM
<![CDATA['X-Men' film director Bryan Singer sued for alleged sexual assault]]>
Singer has denied the accusation.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday on behalf of a man named Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, said the alleged assault took place in the Seattle area at a party aboard a private yacht at which alcohol was served, according to court documents.

In the lawsuit, Sanchez-Guzman alleged that Singer was a guest at the party and took him on a tour of the yacht and sexually assaulted him. The lawsuit charges Singer with sexual assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and sexual exploitation of children.

Singer’s spokesman, Andrew Brettler, said the allegations were false, and this case would fail like another case brought against Singer in 2014 did.

“Bryan categorically denies these allegations and will vehemently defend this lawsuit to the very end,” Brettler said in an email.

Reuters was unable to independently confirm any of the allegations made in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit asks for damages to be determined at a trial.

The accusation against Singer is one of a number against prominent American men in politics, media and entertainment who have been accused in recent months of sexual harassment and misconduct.

The lawsuit comes days after Singer, 52, was dropped as the director of 20th Century Fox film “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Entertainment trade publications including “Variety” and “The Hollywood Reporter”, citing unnamed sources, said Singer had clashed with the film’s lead actor and failed to turn up on the movie set.

Singer was previously sued for sexual misconduct in 2014 by a man named Michael Egan, who accused the director of abusing him as a minor. Singer called the claims “completely false” and a “sick, twisted shakedown” at the time. The lawsuit was later dismissed.]]>
12/9/2017 11:24:30 AM
<![CDATA[More 'Big Little Lies' on its way to television]]>
Kidman said the decision to make a second series was “inspired by the overwhelming response by audiences around the world.”

“I‘m so grateful to have this opportunity to keep exploring these female characters and make this series with my friends,” she added in a statement.

The dark female-driven drama centering on a murder mystery was released in February as a limited series based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty.

But it proved a huge hit for HBO with an average 7 million viewers per episode and won eight Emmys in September, including a best actress trophy for Kidman.

HBO did not announce a broadcast date for the second season and gave little details of the plot except to say that David E. Kelley had written seven scripts based on a new story by Moriarty.

The cable network said the second series “will explore the malignancy of lies, the durability of friendships, the fragility of marriage and, of course, the vicious ferocity of sound parenting.”

Kidman and Witherspoon, who both served as executive producers, will reprise their roles. HBO said that “most of the cast,” which also included Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz, are expected to return.]]>
12/9/2017 11:11:13 AM
<![CDATA[Abu Dhabi to acquire Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi': Christie's]]>
The latest twist in a saga over the painting came after a report in the Wall Street Journal which said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, was identified as the buyer of the painting in U.S. intelligence reports, according to people with direct knowledge of the information.

A Saudi official denied MbS had purchased the artwork.


“Christie’s can confirm that the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi is acquiring ‘Salvator Mundi’ by Leonardo da Vinci,” the auction house said in a statement.
“We are delighted to see that this remarkable painting will be available for public view at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.”

The painting, sold last month, become the most expensive painting ever sold. At the auction, the painting was purchased by an unidentified buyer bidding via telephone after a protracted contest of nearly 20 minutes at the auction house.

A document seen by Reuters showed that a Saudi prince was authorized to purchase the painting on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.

The document, dated Nov. 12, is addressed to Prince Badr bin Abdullah al Saud and thanks him for “agreeing to bid as undisclosed agent for and on behalf of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi for the artwork” at Christie’s auction on Nov. 15.

The letter authorizes the Prince to “bid up to a hammer price” of $500 million.
A UAE government official confirmed the painting belonged to the Abu Dhabi government and would be put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

“We own it,” the official said.
In November, MbS ordered Saudi security forces to round up members of the political and business elite, including princes and tycoons, holding them in Riyadh’s opulent Ritz Carlton hotel in what was billed as a war on rampant corruption.

“Contrary to media reports, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not purchase this art piece,” a Saudi official told Reuters.

“But, yes, His Royal Highness and His Highness Prince Badr Al Saud are good friends,” the official said.

The official added that the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism had subsequently asked Prince Badr to act “as an intermediary purchaser”.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened last month, said on its Twitter feed it was “looking forward to displaying the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo Da Vinci” and said the work was acquired by the Department of Culture and Tourism for the museum.

A spokeswoman for the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism confirmed the department had acquired the painting to be displayed at the Louvre, but declined to say whether it was bought by the Department.

The painting, only recently rediscovered, was the last da Vinci left in private hands and fetched more than four times Christie’s pre-sale estimate of about $100 million.]]>
12/9/2017 11:05:25 AM
<![CDATA[Malek in “Arab Stars for Tomorrow’’ program at DIFF]]>
The seond edition of “Arab Stars of Tomorrow” showcases five rising filmmakers from the Middle East and North Africa; Marwan Abdullah Saleh, Ahmed Malek, Maria Zreik, Ayman Al-Shatri and Manon Nammour.

The 2017 program contains two actors, Emirati Marwan Abdullah Saleh and Egyptian Ahmed Malek; both have a following at home and are on the cusp of international recognition. The Palestinian actress Maria Zreik has starred in festival favorites “Villa Touma” and “Ave Maria.” She is in two films screening at DIFF this year, “Wajib” and “Detained.”

The two directors selected this year are the Iraqi Ayman Al-Shatri and the Lebanese Manon Nammour. Both are making short films exploring contemporary life in their complex countries. Al-Shatri directed two award-winning movies, “Warm Night” and “Five O’Clock,” while Nammour’s “On The Ropes” premiered at Locarno Festival in 2016.

Who is Ahmed Malek?

Malek was born in September 1995 in Cairo. His first audition came at the age of eight when his uncle took him to perform in a commercial.

In 2005, Malek had his first role in the TV series "Ayamna el Helwa" (Our Good Days). A few years later, executive director Osama Farid asked Malek to perform the role of young Hassan al-Banaa, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the TV series "The Brotherhood,” considered to be the then 15-year-old‘s first breakthrough role.

After the January 25 Revolution, he disappeared from acting for a short time, as he decided to focus on political and revolutionary activities. When director Gamal Abdel Hameed offered him the role of a young Egyptian revolutionary activist in the series “The Backstreets” starring famous actors Gamal Soliman, Leila Elwi, Samy El-Adl and Gihan Fadel – he could not resist.

He paid attention to his audience and his talents which were finally recognized in 2012 after achieving great success in his role on the TV series “Ma’aa Sabek El Esrar” (With Premeditation).

In 2013, he played the role of a womanizing troubled teen in the series “Hekayt Haya” (Haya’s Tale), for which he won the DG Award for Best Young Actor.

Seeing Malek’s impressive performance, director Sherif Arafa asked him to audition for a pivotal role in the second part of his movie “El Gezira.”

Malek’s latest movie, “Sheikh Jackson,” was chosen as the opening movie for the first edition of El Gouna Film Festival, which took place from September 22 to 29. The film also screened at the 61st London Film Festival, which kicked off on October 4. Egypt selected Amr Salama’s, “Sheikh Jackson” as its candidate for consideration at the upcoming Oscars, set to take place in February 2018.

“Sheikh Jackson” stars Ahmed al-Fishawy and revolves around the death of the “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. The plot-line focuses on an aspiring Imam who loves Jackson’s music and imitates the pop star’s performances. His strong relationship with Salafism reflects the contradictions in his life.

He was chosen by Shnit International Short Film Festival (SISFF) to be a jury member in November 2017, alongside famous scriptwriter Tamer Habib and Egyptian director Mariam Abu Ouf.

Recently, he participated in the Helm Foundation’s campaign that was launched on social media, starring Egyptian actors Menna Shalaby and Malek, to make Cairo University accessible to people with disabilities.

The campaign's video features Shalaby as a visually impaired woman and Malek in a wheelchair. Both have challenges getting around Cairo due to the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities.]]>
12/8/2017 5:33:47 PM
<![CDATA[Today in History – ‘Sophie's Choice’ premieres]]>

Based on the 1979 novel of the same name by William Styron, director Alan J. Pakula casts Streep as the title role of Sophie Zawistowski, a Polish immigrant living with her Jewish lover Nathan Landau (Kevin Kline) in Brooklyn in 1947. The film is narrated by Stingo (Peter MacNicol), a writer from the American south who befriends the couple. He begins to learn more about Sophie’s dark past as the survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, he also learns of Nathan’s obsession with the Holocaust.

Stingo learns that not all is as is seems with the happy couple, as Nathan’s obsession and mental instability threatens to harm their relationship, while secrets from Sophie’s past threaten to bubble to the surface, with Stingo all the more determined to uncover the truth.

Streep was awarded the Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar for her performance.]]>
12/8/2017 5:07:17 PM
<![CDATA[“Qawaed Eleshq Al Arba’oun” play at Masrah El-Salam again]]>
The play’s plot line revolves around a 40-year old woman, Ella, who is in an unhappy marriage. As a reader for a literary agency, she becomes heavily engulfed by a book she is working on. Ella discovers the dynamic world of books, literature and poetry which ultimately changes her life.

The play stars Bahaa Tharwat, Ezzat Zain, and Amira Abou Zaid among others. Earlier this year, the play opened at Masrah El-Salam and made almost LE 2 million ($112,900). Based on the novel by Elif Shafak, the current adaptation of the play is directed by Adel Hassan.]]>
12/8/2017 4:10:45 PM
<![CDATA[Ali el-Haggar to perform at Heliopolis Library’s Theater]]>
El-Haggar announced that he will perform songs from his new album at the upcoming concert.

He will also be performing 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).

El-Haggar graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1979 and was influenced by the late Egyptian music legend Baligh Hamdy, who trained el-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, el-Haggar always wanted to sing the late artist’s sonnets; he grew popular after performing them in the 1980s. Around the same time, he also began blending authentic Arabic music with new technologies and sound effects.

In addition to his prolific album releases, el-Haggar has also performed in several theatrical plays, movies, and television shows.]]>
12/8/2017 4:09:16 PM
<![CDATA[Ryan Reynolds will star in live-action Pokémon film]]>
Rob Letterman of “Goosebumps” (2015) will direct the film, which is slated to begin shooting in London by January. The plot follows Detective Pikachu’s efforts to help rescue a child’s kidnapped parent. The film will also star Justice Smith from the upcoming “

Jurassic World

: Evolution” and Kathryn Newton from “Big Little Lies”.

Pokémon began as a Japanese video-game for handheld devices in 1998, which eventually spawned an entire franchise of an animated series, card-game and numerous game installments. The basic premise involves collecting creatures known as “Pokémon”, and pitting them in fights or trading them with others.

The character of Detective Pikachu comes from a 2016 video-game spinoff, and features the beloved Pokémon icon Pikachu as a mystery solving detective.]]>
12/8/2017 4:05:28 PM
<![CDATA['Death on the Nile' to be produced, 20th Century Fox confirms]]>Agatha Christie's “Murder on the Orient Express.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, actor/director Kenneth Branagh will likely return to direct the sequel and reprise his role as Hercule Poirot, while screenwriter Michael Green will write the script.

“Death on the Nile,” one of Christie’s most popular novels was previously adapted in 1978 staring Mia Farrow and Bette Davis. The boat used in the original production can be visited in Aswan. The book was published in 1937; it follows the famous detective on his holiday to Egypt, where he finds himself wrapped up in a murder case while taking a boat-trip on the Nile.

“Murder on the Orient Express” has grossed almost $240 million at the Box Office thus far.

12/8/2017 4:03:37 PM
<![CDATA[‘Zahret al-Sabar’, only Egyptian movie in Muhr competition screens today]]>
"Zahret al-Sabar" is the film representing Egypt in the Muhr Feature competition at the 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival.

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

Both have no money and nowhere to go, the two women meet a young guy named 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 just like the thorns of a cactus, yet becomes a journey of self-discovery for each of the three individuals.

An extraordinary unplanned friendship grows between Aida, Samiha and Yassin like a dazzling flower blooming from a thorny cactus.

The movie stars Menha al-Batraoui, Salma Samy and Marwan al-Azab, directed and written by Hala al-Khoussy.

The Festival management chose veteran Egyptian director Magdy Ahmed Aly to head the "Muhr Emirati" competition.

"Muhr Emirati" contains long and short films; "Muhr Emirati" is also expected to honor prominent Emirati and Arab personalities in the film industry. The festival chose Aly to head the competition after the participation of his latest successful movie "Mawlana", which was well received by the festival, the audience and the cinema critics. ]]>
12/8/2017 2:52:21 PM
<![CDATA[Trailer for Jurassic World sequel released]]>

From director J.A. Bayona, best known for the 2016 fantasy drama ‘“A Monster Calls’,,”, the film involvesthe newest installment in the “Jurassic Park” franchise directly follow spicks up where the end of the last film,the last film left off.

with Dinosaur-tamer researcher Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) tryingattempts to convince former park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) to accompany him on hisa mission to rescue all of the dinosaurs onfrom the island before a volcano eruption wipes them out. Jeff Goldblulm reprises his role as scientist Ian Malcolm from the original franchise.

The script is written by Colin Trevorrow, the director for of the previous installment, and Derek Connolly.

‘“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’” will be released on June 22, 2018.]]>
12/8/2017 2:04:44 PM
<![CDATA[Netflix to adapt popular sci-fi novel ‘Old Man’s War’ into film]]>
Published in 2006, “Old Man’s War” is set far in the future, where senior citizens can choose to be enlisted into a space war and have their minds uploaded into powerful, young new bodies, in exchange for fighting aliens.

The story follows John Perry, a 75 year old widower who revels in his new life as a powerful space marine. He discovers a bizarre secret when he encounters a soldier who resembles his wife when she was young.

Nominated for a Hugo Award, “Old Man’s War” was the first in a series of six books. The Netflix adaptation will be produced by Jon Shestack Productions and Madhouse Entertainment.

If successful, the film could prove to be a brand new original franchise for Netflix, with an entire universe of content for them to adapt.]]>
12/8/2017 1:58:50 PM
<![CDATA[Hysteria to perform Disney songs at Magnolia]]>
Their show is themed “Disney Be El Araby” (Disney in Arabic); the band will cover different songs from Disney films and shows, in Arabic.

Founded in 2014 by Mohamed Abdel Qader and Hoda Nossier, Hysteria aims to perform happy and upbeat music.

Hysteria previously carried out other projects including classic comic monologues, Spacetoon songs, and a musical composition of “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo.]]>
12/8/2017 1:56:32 PM
<![CDATA[Allison Janney puts her spin on ice-skating scandal in 'I, Tonya']]>
Not only was the part of the hard-driving mother of U.S. skater Tonya Harding written expressly for Janney, it also took her back to a world she knows intimately.

Figure skating was Janney’s childhood passion and although she doesn’t perform any double axels in “I, Tonya,” her role is expected to bring the former “West Wing” actress her first Oscar nomination next month.

“I had dreams of being an Olympic figure skater. I had a coach, I worked really hard and I trained early in the morning and after school and I was obsessed with it. I was quite graceful on the ice but I‘m six feet tall and ultimately didn’t think I was going to be able to do the jumps that were required to go to the Olympics,” Janney, now 58, said.

Dark comedy “I, Tonya,” opening in U.S. movie theaters on Friday, is based on the life of Harding (played by Margot Robbie) and the infamous 1994 attack on her Olympic rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Kerrigan was clubbed in the thigh in an attack orchestrated by Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, that led to Harding being banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

Janney plays LaVona Harding, who bullies and beats her young daughter to reach the top of a sport.

“She is sort of a monster on the page and I had to find her humanity, and what she wanted in life. I think if you asked LaVona, she would say she gave her daughter an incredible upbringing and made her a champion,” Janney said.

While Robbie and screenwriter Steven Rogers met with Harding and Gillooly, Janney had little to go on to play LaVona except for a 1980s student documentary.

“I could see so much defensiveness in her and denial about not caring for her daughter ... She sort of brushed it off in a way that made me think ‘Wow. She does care’,” said Janney.

Janney well recalls the Harding-Kerrigan incident but she came away from the film with a different view.

“I definitely had a lot more compassion for Tonya Harding watching this movie. I don’t think we exonerate her completely but I don’t think she is as guilty as we all remember her to have been,” she said.]]>
12/8/2017 11:34:56 AM
<![CDATA[J.K. Rowling defends Johnny Depp casting in next 'Fantastic Beasts']]>
In a statement on her personal website, Rowling said filmmakers had considered recasting the role of villain Gellert Grindelwald for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of
Grindelwald,” the sequel to 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”.

But she said the circumstances of Depp’s 2016 divorce from actress Amber Heard were private and should be respected.

The Warner Bros movie, due to be released in November 2018, is the second of a planned five movie spinoff franchise from the blockbuster “Harry Potter” films.

“‘Harry Potter’ fans had legitimate questions and concerns about our choice to continue with Johnny Depp in the role,” Rowling wrote.

”The agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a desire to get on with their lives, must be respected.

“The filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies,” Rowling said.

Depp’s marriage to Heard ended in divorce amid bitter allegations of domestic abuse and blackmail.

After reaching a private settlement in August 2016, the couple issued a joint statement saying their relationship was “intensely passionate and at times volatile but always bound by love,” and that there was “never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”

Warner Bros. said in a statement on Thursday that it supported the decision to keep Depp. Director David Yates and producer David Heyman also said in a joint statement that while recognizing “the magnitude of the issues raised” they stood by the decision to cast Depp.

Depp’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.]]>
12/8/2017 10:59:49 AM
<![CDATA[Are Earthlings alone? Half of humans believe in alien life]]>
On the eve of the release of “The Last Jedi”, researchers published findings that 47 percent of more than 26,000 respondents believe “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe”.

An even greater 61 percent said “yes” when asked if they believe in “some form of life on other planets”. Roughly a quarter said they do not believe intelligent life exists beyond Earth, researchers at Glocalities said.

Among those who believe we are not alone in the universe, 60 percent said we should try to seek contact with alien civilizations, it found.

It was not the first survey to collect views on extraterrestrial beings -- questionnaires in Germany, Britain and the United States have found similar rates -- but researchers said this was the largest poll of its kind with such global reach.

“The high score on the belief in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations and the distinct profile of these people partly explains the immense popularity of space movies such as Star Wars,” said research director Martijn Lampert.

“People who believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations are not a marginal minority,” he said.

The most believers in intelligent alien life were in Russia, at 68 percent, trailed closely by Mexico and China, with the down-to-earth Dutch bottoming out the list at 28 percent, the poll found.

The interviews were conducted in 15 languages between December 2015 and February 2016 in countries representing 62 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of the global economy.

“The Last Jedi,” the eighth installment of the blockbuster “Star Wars” series, debuts in theaters next week.]]>
12/8/2017 10:58:10 AM
<![CDATA['SUPERPUTIN' exhibition gives Russian leader a pop-art make over]]>
The exhibition, dubbed “SUPERPUTIN”, features around 30 paintings and sculptures of the Russian leader in a variety of different styles, all of which were made by Russian artists.

In a happy accident of political theater, the exhibition opened on the day that he announced his bid for a fourth term as Russia’s President.

The exhibition runs from today in the UMAM museum in Moscow until Jan. 15.
12/8/2017 10:47:40 AM
<![CDATA[Louvre Abu Dhabi to display Leonardo's 'Salvator Mundi']]>
“Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is coming to #Louvre Abu Dhabi,” Louvre Abu Dhabi said on its twitter feed late on Wednesday.

It did not say whether the piece would be on permanent display nor did it shed any light on the buyer’s identity.

A museum spokesperson said it had no further comment at this stage.
The New York Times reported that the winner of the sale at Christie’s on Nov. 15 was a Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, citing documents provided to the newspaper from inside Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi opened its Louvre last month, positioning itself as a city of cultural tourism with a display of hundreds of works that it hopes will draw visitors from around the world.

Surrounded by water on three sides, the museum houses 600 artworks it has acquired alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions in its 23 permanent galleries.

The artists range from Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso and Cy Twombly.

The Museum already houses one of Leonardo’s finest works.
The Renaissance master’s ‘La Belle Ferronniere’, or Portrait of an Unknown Woman, done between 1495 and 1499 and recently restored, is on loan from the Musee du Louvre in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron was the guest of honor at the opening, along with other heads of state.
"Salvator Mundi," an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500 by Leonardo da Vinci, is on display for the media at Christie's in New York, NY, U.S., October 10, 2017. Courtesy Christie's New York/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
12/8/2017 10:46:18 AM
<![CDATA[Ancient Egypt VI: Ancient Egyptian cuisine ]]>
Bread as main element on the table
The strong presence of bread in Egyptian cuisine nowadays is in fact inherited from our ancient Egyptian ancestors. Ancient Egyptians baked bread from different kinds of flour, mainly with barley or wheat.Bread was a staple for both the poor and the rich; bread was often sweetened with honey or dates, or flavored with sesame, aniseed or fruit, according to "Ancient Egyptian Food" article published on Tour Egypt website and written by researchers Jimmy Dunn and Sarah Phillips.

Wine in ancient Egypt
Due to the fertility of the Nile Delta’s soil, Egypt witnessed an impressive diversity in crops. They also managed to extract different juices and syrups from fruits.
Evidence shows that they made beer from barley, and beer was mainly drunk by the lower classes while grape wine was produced for the higher social classes.

Vegetables and fruits
According to the iconic Greek historian Herodotus, ancient Egyptians made use of the lands of Kemet, the ancient name for Egypt's lands. Ancient Egyptians planted many kinds of vegetables to use them in different cooking processes like beans, chickpeas, lentils, green peas, garlic, lettuce and onions. Many Egyptians used onions and garlic as treatments for many diseases.

Moreover, the different social classes counted on dates as a sweetener; whereas noble classes sometimes had additional sources like honey, according to "Life of the Ancient Egyptians" book by Czech author Eugen Strouhal.

Meat, fish and poultry
Unfortunately, meat was only available for the tables of the higher classes; they would get it from different sources like cows, goats, and sheep. They also ate certain kinds of fish like perch, catfish, and mullet. In terms of poultry, they would often cook ducks. While most of the time lower classes counted on fish and poultry, ancient Egyptians are considered one of the first civilizations that managed to make salted fish especially during the spring fest, “Sham Al Nasim.”]]>
12/7/2017 10:41:42 PM
<![CDATA[‘Zat Makan’ traces Mekkawi Said’s passion for Downtown]]>
“How I smelled the air breeze that surrounds your tree branches… how I wished and dreamed to write about you, I tried, and finally I wrote and expressed some of your beautiful features.” Through his words, writer Mekkawi Said opened Ahmed Shawky’s film “Zat Makan” (The Identity of a Place) with a love letter to his inspiration, his beloved Downtown Cairo. The short documentary film follows Said in Downtown Cairo, showing his writing career and Downtown’s history.

Through the film, Said insists that Downtown Cairo is important for the whole world as “it is an incredible cultural site. Any author should get approval from Downtown’s audience first.”

Downtown has many different cultural platforms that give chances to different writers to express their thoughts and talents such as the cultural cafe's that once hosted various literary seminars.

He started his literary career in Downtown; its audience and its history are the main elements of his writing and his success, which inspired his 2010 film “Moqtanaiat Wust el-Balad” (The Holdings of Downtown).

Said explains that Downtown occupies a position in the hearts of the Egyptian people, as it was the center of major revolutions throughout history such as Ahmed Orabi’s revolution against Khedive Tawfik in 1881, and the January 25th revolution in 2011.

Born in 1956, Said started his career by writing poetry and was inspired by his contemporaries such as Ahmed Abdel Moaty Hegazy and Salah Abdel Sabour. He also released his first short-story collection entitled "Al-Rakd Waraa’ al-Dawa’" (Chasing the Light) in 1981.

His book "Taghreedet al-Baga’a" (The Swan Song) was nominated for The Arabic Booker Award in 2008.

Renowned for his love of Downtown Cairo, Said held various seminars and book discussions in different venues within the area.

He has published a number of successful novels such as "Al-Maidan Wa Tagleiatoh" (Tahrir Square and its Manifestations) and "Moqtanaiat Wust el-Balad" (The Holdings of Downtown). ]]>
12/7/2017 9:38:13 PM
<![CDATA[Today in History – ‘Ocean's Eleven’ starring George Clooney premieres]]>George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and other Hollywood A-Listers.

A remake of the 1960 film starring Frank Sinatra, director Steven Soderbergh casts Clooney in the role of Danny Ocean, a con artist who is recently released from prison and already begins hatching a plan for what might be the biggest heist in history.

After reuniting with his partner, Rusy Ryan (Pitt), they travel the country to gather a total team of 11 men to help pull off the caper, including the likes of Frank Catton (Bernie Mac) and Linus Cadwell (Matt Damon). Ocean plans to rob three separate casinos of $150 million.

Rusty quickly discovers there’s more to the caper than what Ocean let on when he discovers that Ocean’s ex-wife, Tess, is going out with Benedict. Can Ocean get the cash and his wife back, or is he getting in way over his head?

“Ocean’s Eleven” was an immense blockbuster success, grossing over $450 million worldwide. The film was followed by two sequels; “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007, which in total grossed around $1 billion at the box office.

An all-female spinoff starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna and Anne Hathaway titled “Ocean’s Eight” is slated for a June 8, 2018 release.

12/7/2017 6:50:25 PM
<![CDATA[Irish artist Bryony Dunne's 'Amriya' exhibiting at Medrar]]>
Dunne is currently based between both Cairo and Dublin, and uses various mediums such as photography and documentary film to explore mankind’s relationship to nature along with the historical connection between Egypt and Ireland. Zoology and Colonial history deeply inspire her work, and for “Amriya” Dunne’s installation features footage and photographs from Giza Zoo, Dublin’s Natural History Museum and Cairo’s Agricultural Museum, among others.

“Amriya” is named after a 70-year-old Bedouin woman who Dunne was inspired by, which expands from a short film Dunne made back in 2014 about the woman and her orchard. The exhibit will feature photographs, sculptures and an installation that are the fruits of Dunne’s labor across four years of work of her two documentary projects in Egypt and Ireland.

A live performance by sound artist Asem Tag will be held on the opening night of the exhibit.]]>
12/7/2017 5:11:22 PM
<![CDATA[‘Star Wars’ lead actress warns social media is bad for mental health]]>
Speaking with Radio Times, Ridley said that she had left social media for the sake of her mental health, having quit last September and feeling no need to return.

According to the BBC, she also stated:

“The more I read about teenage anxiety, the more I think it's highly unhealthy for people's mental health. It's such a weird thing for young people to look at distorted images of things they should be."

Ridley had attracted the anger of some users after being accused of hypocrisy for condemning gun violence in her Instagram account, despite the fact that her “Star Wars” character used a fictional blaster gun. Though she had been acting for some time, Ridley achieved massive international attention and acclaim following her casting as the lead of the newest installment for the wildly popular sci-fi franchise.

In her interview, Ridley remarked that her life changed considerably since then.

"I'm definitely recognized more, but I find the whole taking pictures thing weird. I'd prefer to have a conversation than someone asking for a picture, but I guess people feel the need to prove they've had the interaction through social media.”

Ridley’s upcoming film “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will be released on December 15 in the USA.]]>
12/7/2017 4:46:11 PM
<![CDATA[Dexter Fletcher is the new director for Bohemian Rhapsody]]>
Nominated for a BAFTA Film award for his 2011 directorial debut “Wild Bill”, Fletcher is an accomplished actor-turned-director who has starred in numerous film and theatre adaptations throughout his career. He is also the director of 2016’s “Eddie Eagle”, which featured Hugh Jackman and won the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award.

Following Singer’s frequent absences and reported unprofessional behavior, 20th Century Fox has confirmed the project will resume shooting next week. It is hoped that Fletcher will be able to get the project back on track for its slated December 25, 2018 release. Singer had managed to finish shooting principle photography before he was booted from the project, thus the question of who receives directorial credit is still up in the air.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” will feature Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek as the legendary Freddie Mercury. ]]>
12/7/2017 4:41:27 PM
<![CDATA[Ramsi Lehner generates new leads in Egypt’s visual & performing arts]]>
Among the inspirational icons who sought to add edge in a modernized cinematic scene in Egypt is Ramsi Lehner, an Egyptian actor and an expert in visual and performing arts who has toured internationally with Temple Independent Theater Company.

Commencing his way in performance, design, directing, and coaching, Lehner spoke to Egypt Today in an interview earlier about the cinematic scene in Egypt, his coaching techniques in acting, and assessing a potential rise in independent films.

A founding member of the Alumni Community Theater (ACT), he has previously performed as an actor in feature films by Jean-Jacques; “Black and Gold” and “Harag we Marag” (Chaos and Disorder) by renowned film director Nadine Khan. Khan’s film has received the Best Film Jury Award at Dubai International Film Festival in 2012.

He mentioned that “Harag we Marag” has been one of the most special and unconventional experiences he was enrolled in by playing the role of an unemployed young man of a low socioeconomic class which he described as one of his “challenging” roles.

“The project was just beautiful and seeing its outcome and how Khan approached the film and recited the story with a very visual language made me feel that this is a work that is so different on so many levels,” Lehner elaborated.

Lehner has also pointed out other actors and filmmakers who inspire him and are effective agents of change in today’s cinema, including Egyptian filmmaker Sherif Bendary who was internationally praised for his “Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim”. Bendary is a unique director who has given attention to details, according to Lehner, and is able to effectively use visual language to communicate a story.

“I have worked with him before on a couple of other projects; he is very detailed-oriented yet also looks at the bigger picture. He also knows how to bring his characters forward and a proof of that is that the goat in the film became an essential character of the story and managed to trigger inner emotions within viewers,” Lehner added.

An expert in performing arts, Lehner emphasized that an inspirational actor is usually characterized by the ability to transform his/her personality and display discipline and focus while allowing themselves to be vulnerable in presenting the character they’re playing. He cited Egyptian actor Mahmoud Hemeda as his role model in featuring such capabilities.

Lehner often tells his participants in his workshops that if they find any role comfortable in performance it usually means that something is wrong with the actor. For example, an actor should express the character’s insecurities not their own personal insecurities.

“If an actor is bringing a character to life he/she has to go deep in to this character’s comfort, frustration, and insecurity. Even if there are things in the character that you don’t understand or you can’t relate to, you have to find a way to relate to them despite the difficulty of doing so,” he discussed.

Development of the Egyptian film industry doesn’t only need professional actors/filmmakers who are capable of displaying certain disciplines but also other aspects of the scene need to be considered such as economic value contributing to edged productions. Arts tend to be put aside during times of economic crisis such as the one Egypt is enduring, according to Lehner, however some funds are being provided by the Ministry of Culture despite its limited quantity.

Audience awareness is another considerable aspect to the rise of the film industry, specifically the independent film scene. When asked about Egypt’s status in the independent film scene, Lehner highlighted the importance of marketing and promotion as key players in spreading awareness among viewers about independent films.

“A movie like ‘Harag we Marag’ is an independent film that was not seen in cinemas, it may have been seen later in art venues, but I think the bigger problem is the marketing. There has to be stronger marketing for these types of movies. The power of marketing shouldn’t be underestimated. It is hard to define how people think of this movie because they’re not aware it exists in the first place,” he elaborated.

He also added that despite the lack of budget to promote Indie films through an effective marketing campaign, a different visual language is growing slowly in the scene and that it is only a matter of time before audiences can expect a good future for the independent film scene in Egypt.

“It takes people time to realize that people like film directors Amr Salama and Nadine Khan are catalysts for change. When people are accepting of different techniques of filmmaking or different genres, new opportunities will peak in the scene,” Lehner said while citing the evolution of theatrical arts in Europe as an example of how art requires patience and time to develop.

Audience acceptance is a major incentive behind cinema evolution and one of the elements in loosening censorship in Egypt. Lehner expressed how Egyptians often censor themselves once they recognize their limits.

“The community itself has a mass conscious unit that acts as a bigger censor than government-owned institutions. The censor is often “the one” who says, you know this is something that will upset the people, why bother? Therefore it is important to say where censors come from and dissecting them from the beginning,” he clarified.

Lehner is currently preparing for possible new works to be released next summer in parallel to his film and theater coaching workshops in Egypt’s downtown where he teaches participants the required techniques to focus on basics of a character’s physicality, tensions, and recognizing their own personality.

In recognizing one’s personality, acting becomes a message delivered to one’s inner self, according to Lehner who believes that acting taught him compassion and empathy.

“Not every character I play I would usually allow in my personal life or find likeable. In fact I would say most of the characters I play I would not be friends with in real life. So acting is an non-judgmental evaluation of exercising compassion and empathy within myself towards a character on paper,” he explained.

An ambitious performer adding value to the industry, he seeks to deliver in the scene, Lehner is anticipating new roles he would gladly play, including characters in which he has to change himself physically to portray.

“I would like to be involved in works in which I can change something physical about myself whether it is with makeup and being completely transformed and unrecognizable or through voice and accent changes. Doing something with my body to create an ability of the character is certainly different than the roles I play, where 90 percent of them are straightforward emotional,” he stated.

In retrospect of hoping for change in the Egyptian film industry, Lehner urges young rising artists including filmmakers, directors, and actors to be themselves and recognize their true inner self without imitating their role models or idols.

“The more a young artist understands himself/herself, the more he/she will offer something that nobody has. An actor’s body, voice, and personality are essential tools for developing in the filmmaking scene.

Lehner concluded that patience is a true virtue required for rising participants in the film career, saying that persistency and experiencing each audition without fear of the camera or judges are sincere advice to rising filmmakers.]]>
12/7/2017 4:35:54 PM
<![CDATA[Fashion photographer Bassam Allam to host a talk in Photopia]]>
Currently operating from Munich, Germany, Allam is a 29 year old creative concept photographer who has worked for magazines such as Vogue Arabia. His unique style features a focus on the surreal and cinematic shots to create striking, memorable imagery. Self-taught, Allam began his photograph journey while living in Cairo, and in 2011 moved to Germany in order to earn his Masters in Sustainable Architecture at the Technical University in Munich.

Having collaborated with some of Egypt’s top designers, Allam is also renowned in the international scene and has contributed for Daily News Egypt, the US’s Dark Beauty Magazine, Germany’s Super Paper and many others.

Marking a return to Photopia after three years, this interactive talk will go over various points, such as a Q&A session, finding inspiration and gathering knowledge, an introduction that discusses fashion and choosing your genre, questions aimed at asking how and why you are shooting and much more.
12/7/2017 3:41:30 PM
<![CDATA[‘Salvatore Mundi’s’ mysterious buyer is Arab Prince ]]>
Stepfeed’s Managing Editor Jason Lemon revealed that “Salvatore Mundi’s” mysterious buyer is Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud.

Lemon explained;

“The New York Times has reported

this week that Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, a somewhat unknown Saudi royal from an obscure branch of the royal family and no known interest in art collecting, made the record-breaking purchase.”

Also, The New York Times posted documents that emphasized the cultural and artistic role of Prince Bader in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Prince Mohammed also put Prince Bader in charge of governing a commission overseeing the development of Al Ola, which contains an important archaeological site. Enhancing the touristic value of the site has been listed as an important priority of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 plan,” Lemon explained.

Another mysterious fact regarding the painting was revealed when the official Twitter account of The Louver Abu Dhabi posted on Monday that the painting will be among the exhibited works in the museum.

Last month, Egypt Today published an article where art experts speculated over the identity of “Salvatore Mundi’s” buyer. Opinions mostly conceded that the buyer is most likely an Arab hailing from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, or Qatar.

“Salvatore Mundi” is a portrait of Jesus Christ that dates back to year 1500. It depicts Christ in a vivid blue and crimson robe while holding a crystal orb. Da Vinci painted “Salvatore Mundi” while working on his prestigious “Mona Lisa” portrait.

Experts believe that the painting was originally dedicated to the British royal family, and it was kept in their possession until 1763. In 1900, the work was lost and was recently redeemed after being purchased by an art collector.

There were also doubts concerning the identity of the painter himself, but in 2011 it was proven that the painting is an authentic Da Vinci.

Art expert and critic Martin Kemp described the painting as “very soft”, featuring a Da Vinci trait. ]]>
12/7/2017 3:14:13 PM
<![CDATA['The Other Side of The Underneath' to screen at Cimatheque]]>
This bizarre avant-garde art-film focuses on a group of women in a therapy session for various psychological issues, including one who is schizophrenic. Through the use of disturbing imagery and music, the film’s disjoined narrative is fully invocative of its characters' mental struggles, and explores the nature of madness and its complex relationship to society, feminist thought and sexuality. It is a harrowing study of the systematic failings that plague both the mentally ill and women of all backgrounds.

Until recently, the film had been feared lost forever, though in 2008 the British Film Institute was able to re-release it.

12/7/2017 1:56:39 PM
<![CDATA[Prestigious panel set to preside over the 2017 Muhr Awards ]]>
The awards are made up of four categories: Muhr Emirati, Muhr Features, Muhr Short and Muhr Gulf Short.

Amongst some of the famous names included are acclaimed Egyptian director Magdi Ahmed Ali, who is best known for his prestigious accomplishments in contemporary Egyptian cinema. Several of his films include “Ya Donya ya Gharamy” (Life, My Love), “Girls' Secrets” and more recently “Mawlana” in 2016. Ali will be joined in the Muhr Emirati jury by Bahraini writer Fareed Ramadan and Emirati director Hani al-Shaibani.

The Muhr feature jury panel includes Egyptian director Ahmad Abdalla, who joins Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni. Andoni’s 2017 film “Ghost Hunting” was part of the 39th Cairo International Film Festival and received the Saad el-din Wahba Award for Best Arabic Film. Together they judge the competition alongside German actress Martina Gedeck, Iranian actress Sahar Dolatshahi, and French film director Dominique Cabrera.

Abdalla is a prolific director of over 20 films and boasts numerous awards to his name, having debuted with 2009’s “Heliopolis,” a film that is credited with helping to kick-start Egypt’s independent new-wave cinema.

Cabrera has worked on over 50 projects throughout her career, especially in the film festival circuits, having received much praise for her 2004's drama “Folle Embellie,” which won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The final jury is for both the Muhr Short and Gulf Short competitions, which is run by French short film director Gilles Marchand. He is best known for 2003’s “Qui a tue Bambi?” (Who Killed Bambi?), which was nominated for the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival. Other members of the panel include Tunisian director Mehdi M. Barsaoui, who won last year’s Muhr Short category award and Saudi actress Ahd Kamel, who was part of Haifaa al-Mansour’s “Wadjda” (2012).]]>
12/7/2017 1:52:28 PM
<![CDATA[New TV episode in front of Great Pyramid to be aired soon ]]>
The episode will include an interview with prominent Egyptian author and archaeologist Zahi Hawas and famous presenter Eman el-Hossary.

Recently, Hawas gave several interviews for various media platforms to discuss the latest rumors about the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid, especially about the recently discovered gap inside the Great Pyramid which was reported in international media outlets.

During a TV interview in November, Hawas revealed many secrets regarding the recently discovered gap in the Great Pyramid.

The recently discovered Great Pyramid gap was announced by the international Scan Pyramid mission under the authority of the Ministry of Antiquities. "The way the Great Pyramid was built makes it full of void spaces," Hawas stated.

The Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani formed a committee consisting of international experts to evaluate the latest Scan Pyramid project results; "The committee is headed by Hawas," the minister stated.

"In addition, there is a new Egyptian – American- Japanese archaeological mission planning to conduct research inside the Great Pyramid," Hawas announced. ]]>
12/7/2017 12:32:45 PM
<![CDATA[Damanhur Opera House to host Abdel Wahab’s music night ]]>
Conducted by Mostafa Helmy, the ensemble will include a number of rising stars such as Mai Hassan, Karim Zidan and Aiat Farouk.

The “Wahabiat” series aims to revive classical Arab music and introduce the Egyptian musical heritage to the younger generation. Most importantly, the series honors the musical contribution of Abdel Wahab, also referred to as the "Maestro of Generations."

The program includes the most celebrated songs by Abdel Wahab, such as “Khayef A’aoul Ely Fy Alby” (I am afraid to say what I feel), “Malish Amal” (I Have no Hope), and “El-Hob Gameel” (Love is Beautiful).
12/7/2017 11:45:44 AM
<![CDATA[Renowned actor Irrfan Khan to receive honorary award at DIFF]]>
The award is meant to celebrate his acting career of over thirty years, in which he has risen to international fame and acclaim. He is also well known for acting in many Indian films and international productions including the 2008 blockbuster hit “Slumdog Millionaire”.

The Chairman of DIFF Abdulhamid Juma explains in the statement that the Honorary Award is meant to celebrate Khan’s “dedication to acting and the film industry” and to recognize him as “one of the greats of acting and cinema”, in DIFF’s official press release.

Irrfan Khan began his career in Indian television and cinema. Born and raised in Jaipur, India, he earned a scholarship at the prestigious New Delhi Institute of Drama while doing his masters. He first received international recognition for the 2001 British film “The Warrior”, and his works have earned him numerous award nominations and international acclaim.

The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will commence on December 6 through December 13 , and will showcase well over 120 original films from the Arab world and beyond, promoting new talent and creativity.
12/7/2017 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Everything you need to know about DIFF]]>DIFF management chose to screen the American movie "Hostiles" in the opening ceremony.

The story of "Hostiles" starts with a native tribe killing a family, in the wilderness of Arizona. Only the mother Rosalie survives the attack but she is severely traumatized. Later she meets Captain Blocker and his soldiers, who are escorting home a long-time army prisoner to his ancestral lands in Montana.

Rosalie joins Blocker and his soldiers. They traverse Comanche territory, where local tribes attack anyone who crosses their land and Rosalie, Blocker and the soldiers had to fight the local tribes. "Hostiles" stars Christian Bale, Peter Mullan, Rosamund Pike, Adam Beach, Wes Studi, Q'orianka Kilcher, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane and Ben Foster. The movie is written by Scott Cooper, John Lesher and Ken Kao and directed by Scott Cooper.

This edition of the festival will honor the veteran writer Wahid Hamed, the famous actor Patrick Stewart and the well-known Indian actor Irrfan Khan.

"Zahret al-Sabar" (Cactus Flower) is the only Egyptian movie that will represent Egypt in the Muhr Feature competition at the 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival.

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

Both have no money and nowhere to go at first but then the two women meet a young guy named Yassin, while roaming in the streets of Cairo. The three of them attempt to find shelter for the night. Their journey is full of tough moments and challenges just like thorns of a cactus, yet it is considered a personal journey for each of the three individuals.

An extraordinary unplanned friendship grows between Aida, Samiha and Yassin like a dazzling flower blooming from a thorny cactus.

The movie stars Menha al-Batraoui, Salma Samy and Marwan al-Azab, directed and written by Hala al-Khoussy.

The Festival management chose veteran Egyptian director Magdy Ahmed Aly to head the "Muhr Emirati" competition.

"Muhr Emirati" contains long and short films; "Muhr Emirati" is expected to honor prominent Emirati and Arab personalities in the cinema industry. The festival chose Aly to represent the category after the participation of his latest successful movie "Mawlana." The movie “Mawlana” was well received by the festival, the audience and the cinema critics.

DIFF has previously announced that 11 films will be participating in the Arabian Nights segment as part of its 14th edition.

"Arabian Nights is one of the most highly anticipated categories each December, as it celebrates the cultural diversity within the Arab region through the exceptional medium of film. This year’s lineup tackles pressing issues facing the world today and aims to overcome these boundaries, bringing communities together through compelling storytelling," said Delphine Garde-Mroueh, Arabian Nights Programmer in a press statement by DIFF.

Featuring regional and international filmmakers who shed light on the Arab culture, the festival’s Arabian Nights will screen Egyptian film "Introduced Labor" by film writer Khaled Diab. The movie is showcasing the story of an Egyptian couple who take control of the American Embassy in Egypt after being denied entry to the United States.

Another Egyptian film will premiere at the festival which is "Kiss Me Not" by Egyptian-American writer and director Ahmed Amer. "Kiss Me Not" will be closing the Arabian Nights lineup. The film revolves around a director, Tamer, who struggles to deal with an actress, who quits a kissing scene and the whole film industry after she decides to wear Hijab. The film stars Yasmine Rais, the award winning director Khairy Beshara, Sawsan Badr, with an honorary to the late renowned director Mohammed Khan and Mohamed Mahan. Amer has previously released the worldwide recognized hit film "Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim."

"Since its inception, Arabian Nights has served as a platform for Arab and international filmmakers to cross borders and tell stories that address very real themes in the Arab world with compassion and creativity. We know this year’s slate will bring incredible and unique perspectives to the fore, and I know DIFF audiences will be as engrossed as I will," DIFF’s artistic director, Masoud Amralla al-Ali, commented on this year’s program lineup.

Dubai Film Connection (DFC), the co-production of Dubai Film Market, has selected 13 regional film projects to take place during the 14th edition of DIFF.

DFC will provide the required funding and connection to support regional filmmakers, according to an official statement released on DIFF’s website. "DFC has helped to bring more than 300 films from across the Arab world to global audiences, securing them international recognition on the way."

A number of institutions will provide financial prizes such as Centre National du Cinema (CNC), the Arab Radio and Television (ART), and DIFF.
The selected films will represent nine countries: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Tunisia, Iraq and Sudan.

"I Dreamt of An Empire" is the only Egyptian film on the short list of DFC selected films.

It was produced in 2013 by Kasem Kharsa from Egypt and Jessica Landt from Germany. The events of the film take place in 1980; it revolves around a professor called Musa who lost his son in Egypt’s war against Israel in 1956.

Three Egyptian films will be screened at the festival: "Sheikh Jackson," "Withered Green," and "Whose Country."
DIFF chose eight films to participate in Muhr Short Film Competition which are "The Crossing," "The President’s Visit," "Blue Fly Road," "City Soul," "Tashwesh," "Mediterranean," "When the Sky Began to Scream," and the Egyptian short movie "Into Reverse." Premiering at DIFF, "Into Reverse" is directed by Noha Adel, and captures the daily struggles female drivers in Egypt have to deal with.
Cinema for Children returns to the 14th edition of Dubai International Film Festival, which will run from December 6 to 13, with an exciting mix of films.

"As with previous years, we are all thrilled at the DIFF and devoted to showcasing the finest family films in the Cinema for Children. Tantalizing stories stemming from four different continents will touch hearts and minds, inspiring children and parents alike,” said DIFF’s Cinema for Children program manager Myrna Maakaron.

DIFF will showcase well over 120 original films from the Arab world and beyond, promoting new talent and creativity.

12/7/2017 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt marks 70th anniversary of UNESCO presence in Cairo]]>
The celebration was held at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization under the auspices of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.

The UNESCO regional bureau in Cairo is mainly meant to develop the scientific research in member states.

Egypt was amongst the first Arab States to ratify UNESCO’s constitution and proposed the establishment of a Permanent UNESCO Center in Cairo]]>
12/7/2017 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Renowned Egyptian writer to be awarded at DIFF’s opening ceremony ]]>
During its opening night, the MENA premiere of Scott Cooper’s Western epic “Hostiles” will screen, which follows the journey of a legendary Army Captain.

Recognizing the importance of films, DIFF will present four awards at its opening ceremony. One will be awarded to the renowned Egyptian writer, Wahid Hamed, for his decades-spanning career which has left a lasting impact on cinema in Egypt and across the region.

An award will also be presented to two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, who is an internationally acclaimed Australian actress and theatre director, featured in an array of successful and critically acclaimed films.

Since its inception in 2004, DIFF has become one of the region’s premiere film festivals not only for its international reach, but also for its status as a global platform for Arab cinema.
The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will showcase well over 120 original films from the Arab world and beyond, promoting new talent and creativity.

The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will commence on December 6 and end December 13.]]>
12/6/2017 7:51:20 PM
<![CDATA[Artist Lubaina Himid wins 2017 Turner Prize]]>
Himid was born in 1954 in Zanzibar, Tanzania. She is currently based in Preston, England; her work primarily addresses racial politics and the representation of black people in art. In particular, Himid’s work examines the legacy of slavery with a critical eye, aiming to center the black slaves first and foremost, rather than focusing on other perspectives.

Having worked as an artist since the 1980s, Himid has been highly respected in her field for quite some time. She was one of the leaders of the Black Art movement in the UK, and served as a curator to help give unknown artists more exposure. Her works exhibited in Hull date from the 80s until today and showcase her talent across a wide range of mediums, with works done in newspaper, paintings and wooden sculptures.

Chairman of the Tate Britain’s judging panel Alex Farquharson praised Himid’s work for addressing “difficult, painful issues,” according to the Guardian. Also speaking to the Guardian, Himid stated that she was happy to have won the award, and honored the many other black women who were never able to win, even after they were shortlisted.
Himid competed for the prize against three other artists, namely Rosalind Nashashibi, Andrea Büttner and Hurvin Anderson.

Founded in 1984, the annual Turner Prize is regarded as the UK’s most important art award. Once exclusively exhibited in London, the prize is now displayed out of capital, with this year’s location being Hull, the “the UK City of Culture 2017” at the Ferens Art Gallery.

12/6/2017 7:47:15 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. Ambassadors Fund grants Egypt $695,000]]>
During the visit, Goldberger said that cultural heritage is a great way to promote the mutual understanding between people of diverse backgrounds and nations.

“[Cultural heritage] endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity. We are very proud of our partnership with the Ministry of Antiquities to preserve this important site,” Goldberger explained.

The restoration is done by Egyptian organization “Megawra” to preserve the historic place and to resolve structural problems in the masonry walls, subsidence of floors, leaking roofs and disintegration of the decorative elements.

Megawra’s work is supported by a $695,000 grant from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.

Since 2003, projects in Egypt have received more than $1.5 million in support from the U.S. Ambassadors Fund, which has supported training workshops for Supreme Council of Antiquities officials and staff, as well as the conservation of monuments from the Pharaonic, Greco-Roman and Islamic periods that significantly contribute to the understanding and appreciation of these decisive eras in world history.

The Ministry of Antiquities announced on December 5, through a press statement, a new archaeological discovery during renovating Al-Imam Al-Shafie Dome.

The uncovered part is a previously constructed shrine that consists of an open courtyard and three prayer niches. The unearthed shrine is decorated with colored marble.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani and U.S. Embassy's Chargé d'Affaires Thomas H. Goldberger, as well as other officials from Ministry of Antiquities, visited Al-Shafie dome to check the latest renovation work in the site.

The director of the Historical Cairo project Mohamed Abdel Aziz stated that the renovation work at Al-Imam Al-Shafie started in March 2016; it includes restoring different historical buildings surrounding Al-Shafie dome, in addition to marble floors and wooden roofs.]]>
12/6/2017 6:52:20 PM
<![CDATA[Magnolia hosts a scenario writing workshop by Mariam Salem]]>
The workshop focuses on the theoretical and practical aspects of scenario writing. It includes general background about the process of writing, and essential scenario elements such as setting, characters and plot.

Salem is a rising Egyptian screenwriter, she graduated from the High Theater Institute in 2009. She has worked with various writing workshops, as well as working on animated TV shows “Bany Admeen Aasr El Teenen” (Dragons’ Era People), “Al Antekam” (Revenge) and other programs such as “Basmet Amal” (A Sign for Hope).


12/6/2017 5:29:13 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian documentary “Um Ghayeb” to screen at Zawya on Demeber 7]]>
The event is organized by the embassy of the Netherlands in Egypt and the embassy of Switzerland in Egypt Released in 2014, the film revolves around a woman “Um Ghayeb” who is infertile; she expresses her emotions and hopes of delivering a child for 12 years. She has to live within a community that spreads lies about her. “Um Ghayeb” is a local name used to refer to infertile women.

Because of its humanitarian subject and good production, the film received positive feedback from critics and festivals. It won with FIPRESCI for Best Documentary film award from International Federation of Film Critics in 2014, and it participated in different international festivals, such as Dubai International Film Festival, Carthage International Film Festival, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, and Sheffield International Documentary Festival. ]]>
12/6/2017 4:36:35 PM
<![CDATA[Fady el-Gawly exhibit 'How are you doing?' to run until Dec. 9]]>
The exhibition is an interactive art display where Gawly invites viewers to explore the artist’s experience with depression. Entering into a small room that serves as a representation of the artist’s emotional state, they will explore writings, photographs and other items that serve to physically express the artist’s struggle with depression. In this way, viewers are essentially taking a trip into his mind.

"How are you doing?" Exhibition.

A post shared by Fady (@fady_el_gawly) on

The project began through a series of self-portraits aiming to express the artist’s vision, thoughts and feelings in regards to depression, and eventually grew to become an interactive installation. ]]>
12/6/2017 4:31:46 PM
<![CDATA[Director Bryan Singer fired from Queen Biopic]]>
The news comes from a statement by 20th Century Fox released to the Hollywood Reporter on Monday, which follows an announcement on December 1, which stated that the production of the film in London would be temporarily shut down due to Singer’s absence.

Singer’s frequent no-shows resulted in cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel having to temporarily take the lead on the project. Actor Tom Hollander, who portrays Queen’s manager Jim Beach, reportedly quit the film over Singer’s unprofessionalism but had since returned to his role. Hollander wasn’t the only cast member to voice their displeasure; Malek, who portrays the band’s lead member

Freddie Mercury

, lost patience with Singer’s absences and sent a complaint to the studio before confronting Singer directly.

It was reported that Singer threw an object at Malek. Despite the two resolving their dispute, Singer did not return to set following the incident.

In his own statement, Singer said that, “Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true. While, at times, we did have creative differences on set, Rami and I successfully put those differences behind us and continued to work on the film together until just prior to Thanksgiving.”

However, Singer never returned to set following the Thanksgiving break despite repeated warnings. He had reportedly continued to stay in the U.S. for ten days beyond the allotted holiday, which was the final straw for 20th Century Fox and resulted in his termination. In his statement, Singer claimed that he was dealing with a sick parent. This isn’t the first time the director has failed to show up on set, with similar incidents reported during shooting for “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Superman Returns”.

A new director for the project is expected to be named within the week.]]>
12/6/2017 3:33:21 PM
<![CDATA[“Sidna Al Waly”: theatrical performance at El Sawy Culture Wheel ]]>
The play discusses the culture of revenge in Upper Egypt; it shines a light on the social and psychological motives for taking revenge, and examines its bitter impacts on society.
Directed by Moustafa Ali, the performance won the second place award at the Sakya Theater Festival 2017.

“Sidna Al Waly” was previously staged at Hosapeer Theater and AUC Al Falaki Theater.

Founded in 2011, the Ensan theatre troupe have had a number of previously successful performances including “Al Gawaz Abr Al Osoor” (Marriage through Time), and “Al Nesr Wi El Rosasa” (The Eagle and the Pullet). ]]>
12/6/2017 3:12:09 PM
<![CDATA[Mounir, Kotsiras: music in contact ]]>
Firstly, before proceeding to the in-depth analysis, Both Mounir and Kotsiras are highly connected to water streams.

Born in Aswan, Mounir inherited a sense of love and belonging to the Nile, even when he moved to Cairo, he took the Nubian/African culture with him.

Aiming to revive his native culture and music, Mounir’s music reflects Nubian native culture.

Brought up near to the magical spiritual salty taste of the Mediterranean, Kotsiras revives and develops Greek folk music but he is also influenced by different Mediterranean music styles such as the Egyptian style.

Besides his love for Egypt, Kotsiras revealed in his interview with Egypt Today, that he is a big fan of Egyptian music and also has strong relations with the Egyptian community in Athens, as well as with Greeks who were born in Egypt. Kotsiras also said that his mother was born in Alexandria.

Also, impressively both Mounir and Kotsiras show ultimate love towards beautiful Alexandria. In 1990, Mounir released an album entitled "Ya Eskindereya" (Wah, Alexandria).

In 1996, Kotsiras released his song "Alexandria," and used an Arabic/Egyptian word "Ya Salam" in the song.

In 2006, Kotsiras released a music video entitled "Kapou Tha Vrethome" (We will Meet Again) and it was filmed in Alexandria.

Mounir's contribution to the Arabic music scene is almost unbelievable. He is the first Arabic/Middle Eastern singer who mixed Jazz with Nubian heritage, in other words, he developed the inherited Nubian music scales, and combined it with new universal Jazz music. Furthermore, Mounir introduced many Nubian concepts in Arabic which is obvious in his song "Wist al-Dayra" (In the Circle's Center).

On the other coast of the Mediterranean, Kotsiras mixed the epic taste of Athens and the smell of the sea with the rebellious melodic tunes of Jazz and Rock music.

Kotsrias who is a fan of Latiak and remembika types of Greek folk music managed to revive a lot of the forgotten and ignored Greek musical heritage.

Orchestral instruments always captivate the minds of the composer. Many of Mounir's songs had orchestral music background, enhanced with magnificent tunes of Oud such as "Borg Hamam" (Pigeons Tower) (1995) and "Shababek" (Windows) (1981).

Kotsiras also expressed ultimate love for incorporating orchestral music; he performed many concerts alongside an orchestra, such as "Efta Potiria" (Seven Glasses) (1996) and "Pónos" (Pain) (2000).

Using oriental drum beats and oriental percussion alongside drums, Mounir masters performing dynamic songs based on folk drum beats, such as "Al-Nawasy" (Sidewalks) (2001). Drum beats are taken from the familiar beats of "Al-Zar."

Moreover, Kotsiras also kept the oriental drum beats style in his music which was obvious in "Ta Vimata" (The Footsteps) (2005). The drum beats are also taken from Al-Zar.

Also, basic oriental percussions including Tabla, and Duf were highly valued in both singers' music. For example, Mounir presented extremely oriental songs such as "Eqrar" (Endorsement) (2004), while Kotsiras introduced "Ti Na Kanw" (What to Do) (1996).

Both singers liked enriching their music with Rock tunes, especially in Live concerts, like in Mounir's "El-Kon Koloh Beydor" (The universe is spinning) (1981) and Kotsiras' “Piran Ta Stithia Mou Fotia.”

Also, they added female vocals to paint the music with more emotional and attractive colors, for example Mounir's "Sheta" (Winter) (1995) and Kotsiras "Ta Kalokaíria Mas" (Our Summer) (2016) both had female vocals.

Beside Jazz, Mounir added Rock tunes to his music, such as "Ezai" (How) (2011), also Kotsiras combined Rock music with folk Greek, such as "Káne to Himóna kalokaíri" (Make Winter inside the Summer) (2008).

It is worth mentioning that "Ola Ine Psemata" (All the Lies) (2013) by Yiannis Kotsiras is very close to Mounir’s musical style.

Also, music movements of “Eftah Albak” (Open Your Heart) (1994) and “Lei Lei Lei” (Work) (1996) are very close.

Both singers managed to introduce a number of sorrowful songs, like "Sah Ya Badah" (1995) and "An De M’ Agapas" (If you Don’t Love Me) (2006), in addition to "Soal" remixed version (Question) and "Adras Pou Den Eklapse" Live in 2010 (Man Doesn’t Steal).

Both of them sing about universal themes such as childhood, peace, love and freedom. Mounir and Kotsiras have the same aim, singing to introduce real art, and real music.
They open the doors for new ideas and experiences. Mounir expressed childhood feelings in many songs such as "Min Awel Lamsa" (From the early Touch) (1996) while Kotsiras introduced "Ke Pali Pedi" (Child Once Again) (2008).

Regarding "Ke Pali Pedi", Kotsiras’s music video starts with singing while stepping towards his car, this reminds us of Mounir's song "Ya Amai" (My Mother) (1978).
In "Ke Pali Pedi" music video, Kotsiras used many videos of his childhood; also Mounir recalls his childhood through "Kol el-Hagat" (Everything) (1989).

Aiming to spread peace, Kotsiras presented "Pass the Flame, Unite the World" (2004), while Mounir introduced "Al-Ard Wel Salam" (Earth and Peace) (2002).

Both singers share the same musical mood sometimes, as in Mounir's "Eidaya Fi Goyoby" (My Hands in My Pockets) (2010), and "Alby Mayeshbehnesh" (My Heart doesn't look Like Mine) (2012), “Fi Dayret El Rehla” (In the heart of the Journey), and Kotsiras' "Agapes Petaloudes" (Love Butterflies) (2016), "Hadra Thalasia" (Picture Frame) (1997), and "Ta Fevga" (I wish I Left) (1999).

In terms of cooperation with other colleagues, Mounir’s song with Hamid el-Shaari "Akeed"(For Sure) (1986) is close to the tunes of legendary Greek singer Haris Alexiou's song with Yiannis Kotsiras "Ola einai sto mialo" (Everything is in the mind) (2003).

Moving on to another point, which is how both singers act on stage, the experience of Mounir’s concerts is very similar to Kotsiras' concerts, both like to act spontaneously on the stage, for example clapping hands, shouting "yeah" and "heeeh" and encouraging the audience to sing. Also, they both have really similar body language, specially the movements of the hands.

Yiannis Kotsiras live on the stage [Photo Courtesy: Liora7/Youtube]

File – Mohamed Mounir Live on the stage

Another strange similarity between Mounir and Kotsiras are the covers. For example "Eftah Albak" and "30 Ke Kati" (30 Things) (2004) covers are similar, and the covers of "Min Awel Lamsa," and "Ke Pali Pedi" are also unbelievably similar. They both tend to use black and white or animated covers, like the covers of “Xilino Alogaki” (Wooden Horseshoe) (2005), and “Min Awel Lamsa.”

“Eftah Albak” (1995) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Rotana/Youtube]

“30 Ke Kati” (2004) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official

“Min Awel Lamsa” (1996) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Mounir Page/Youtube]

“Xilino Alogaki” (2005) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official Website]

“Ke Pali Pedi” (2008) Art Cover [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official Website]

“Momken” (1995) [Photo Courtesy: Mounir page/Youtube]

Yiannis Kotsiras “Pseftis Keros” (2016) photo session [Photo Courtesy: Yiannis Kotsiras official website]

Regarding music videos, there are various similarities between them, if we look at Kotsiras’ “Efta Potiria” (1996) and Mounir’s “Laila” (1996), we will find that the two music videos are about attracting a lady, and trying to make her happy; also both music videos showed musicians performing in the street.

"Ya Lila Oudy Tany" (1983) by Mounir and “To Tsigaro” (The Cigarette) (1996) by Kotsiras are so close in terms of location and idea.

Another note concerning "To Tsigaro" is that its atmosphere is so close to the atmosphere of Mounir’s “Bara el-Shababek” (Outside the Windows) (1989).

Both Mounir and Kotsiras introduced music videos portraying friends gathering, such as Mounir's “Al-Qahera” (Cairo) (2016) and Kotsiras’ “Aftos O Ilios” (This Sun) (2014)

Finally, there is no doubt that Mounir and Kotsiras follow the same path, introducing real and unique art.

Will the audience in Egypt and Greece have the chance to see Mounir and Kotsiras on the same stage or hear their voices in one track? We hope so.]]>
12/6/2017 2:55:01 PM
<![CDATA[Photography & Contemporary Art workshop with Hélène Bellenger]]>
The event is part of SOMA’s ongoing collaboration with the Institut Français d'Égypte. The workshop’s goals are to explore the relationship between photography and contemporary art, analyzing how they interrelate.

The workshop also aims at putting a new view on photography, which we take for granted, such as selfies, news or advertising, inviting students to reflect on them in a new way. Students are thus encouraged to recycle and recreate artwork from photographs, with the final phase of the workshop exhibiting the finished pieces for further reflection.

Bellenger earned her diploma from the French National School of Photography and has exhibited at the Paris's Agnès B. gallery and Binôme gallery in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
12/6/2017 1:26:12 PM
<![CDATA[Aida Muluneh to give ‘Photography in Ethiopia’ talk on Dec. 27]]>
Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Muluneh spent much of her childhood between England and Yemen, settling first in Canada and eventually in the USA. She graduated in 2000 from the Washington D.C’s Howard University, majoring in film with a degree from the communication department. She would then go work at the Washington Post, honing her photography skills before she focused her efforts on artistic expression.

Muluneh’s work has been exhibited across numerous countries, such as South Africa, Egypt, Canada, the USA, England, China and much more. Some of her photography is also permanently exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art.

Muluneh is the proud recipient of 2007's European Union Prize for 'Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie' in Mali and the 2010 winner of the RAF International Award of Photography in Spilimbergo, Italy.]]>
12/6/2017 1:23:32 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Airport thwarts smuggling of 28 historic coins ]]>
The coins date back to the Ottoman Dynasty period (1299-1922) and Muhammad Ali Pasha’s dynasty’s reign period (1805 – 1952).

One of the seized coins [Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page]

The head of Antiquities Department at Cairo Airport explained that the coins will be displayed at the Museum of Islamic Art and Manial Palace Museum.

Recently, the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Police managed to thwart the theft of artifacts
in different regions in Egypt such as Assiut.

One of the seized coins [Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page]]]>
12/6/2017 1:16:43 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Airport thwarts smuggling of 28 historic coins ]]>
The coins date back to the Ottoman Dynasty period (1299-1922) and Muhammad Ali Pasha’s dynasty’s reign period (1805 – 1952).

One of the seized coins [Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page]

The head of Antiquities Department at Cairo Airport explained that the coins will be displayed at the Museum of Islamic Art and Manial Palace Museum.

Recently, the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Police managed to thwart the theft of artifacts
in different regions in Egypt such as Assiut.

One of the seized coins [Photo Courtesy: Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page]]]>
12/6/2017 1:16:43 PM
<![CDATA[South Korean keen on broadening cultural cooperation with Egypt]]>
This came on Tuesday during a meeting with a number of journalists in Luxor on the sidelines of the activities of the Korean cultural day in Luxor.

South Korea is keen on broadening cultural cooperation with Egypt, he said, adding that the embassy seeks spreading the South Korean cultural activities all over Egypt.

The Korean activities reached seven governorates until now, he said.

Byung said that he discussed means to boost bilateral cooperation with Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr.]]>
12/6/2017 12:11:11 PM
<![CDATA[Mass media: double-edged sword in gender equality fight]]>
Focusing on the issue of inciting violence against women (VAW), a lot of entertainment media that is more often than not presenting women in outdated roles would easily cause one to unintentionally stereotype women and men into specific boxes, hindering the fight for gender equality.

Although there are some great films, songs and series that usually present powerful stories, inspiring people to improve and become more tolerant, both classical and modern filmmaking and songwriting have often presented men again and again as superior to women. These depictions help cause inequality norms and act to become so deeply entrenched within our society, such that they are often difficult to recognize and separate from the actual Egyptian culture.

Mass media inciting violence against women

All Egyptians are familiar with the movie “Bein El Qasrein” (Palace Walk) made in 1962, having embedded in our society an immortal idea that manliness means violence and domination. The movie reflects the morals of the conservative “Eastern” man, who has the right to discipline his woman in a highly patriarchal social hierarchy and to make her obey him no matter what.

At the same time, Ameena, the wife in the film, should accept Si al-Sayed’s maltreatment just because her society’s traditions oblige her to listen to him, tolerating it all to avoid breaking the family norms.

Si al-Sayed (Yehia Shahin) has become a role model for many men in Egypt throughout the ages, although the renowned novelist Naguib Mafouz meant to fight those bad habits throughthe original novel.

Tamer Hosny’s song “Sial Sayed” (2013)is one typical example to how the influence of the movie has extended to our modern art, enforcing the idea that men have the right to lock women up when they annoy them, tell them what to wear, and control them in their everyday lives. The song emphasizes the idea that “real men” have to excessively control women’s life choices and lifestyles.

Too many of our modern songs incite violence and discrimination against women; some are even made and sung by famous female artists. In her song “Wahda Tania Khalis” (A Totally Different Woman) released in2013, Donia Samir Ghanem happily describes how her partner controls everything she does, from what she wears to who she can be friends with, a typical example of how women can sometimes hurt their own fight by advocating male control over themselves.

Violence against women is not solely carried out by husbands; brothers and fathers can also be complicit in the crime, which has also been portrayed in the cinema, quite too often.

The 1970s movie “Ekhwato El Banat” (His Sisters) revolves around an unfair brother who could do whatever he wanted, simply because he is a boy. When one of his sisters fell in love, he disciplined her with a slap on the face, urged by his mother to act like a “real man”. Although many find the movie an entertaining comedy, it has had a very powerful effect on the psychology of men in Egyptian society.

Mass media empowering women

On the other hand, some films, songs and TV series recognize the role that the media should play in positively influencing people. Acknowledging that media is meant to make us think, broaden our horizons and help us fight wrong ideas about gender and other controversial topics, some remarkable movies and songs in the history of Egyptian media have focused on women in leading roles and inspired females as a way to face social challenges and reassure the right of every girl to pursue her dream.

One of the most inspiring songs that every Egyptian has probably listened to and fell fond of is Soad Hosny’s “Girls…Girls” (1985).The song tackles the critical issue of gender equality between men and women, praising families that give birth to girls and help them develop themselves and earn their living like any “boy”.The song stresses that girls are disciplined and are able to run for high positions and to protect themselves, deconstructing the idea that women and girls are fragile.

Another inspiring Egyptian movie is “Al Bab Al Maftouh” (The Open Door) released in 1963. It is a revolutionary movie where Laila, played by the great actress Faten Hamama, challenges the outdated norms in society, dictating that girls are destined to be housewives, while men are free to manage their lives the way they please.

The movie also shows how a loving and caring brother can lead a positive and powerful role in helping a woman pursue her dreams and aspirations. Laila, the girl who follows her passion and succeeds in life, opened the door for many Egyptian women to call for freedom and empowerment.

iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PfCuNx8ZpqM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

Another film reflecting some of the main hurdles faced by Egyptian women, including gender-based discrimination and stereotypes, is “Al Ostaza Fatma” (Mrs Fatma) from 1952. The film focuses on a young woman who graduated from the Faculty of Law and then opened an office in the same building with Adel, another lawyer who graduated with her.

Most people tended to go to her male counterpart for legal consultations, believing that he is more professional than Fatma because he is a man. But when he is falsely accused of murder, Fatma steps in as his lawyer and uses her knowledge, intelligence and resourcefulness to prove his innocence. The movie aims to turn over people’s views on women, making them realize that women are as competent as men.

In “678”, released in 2010, we see three strong female characters from different social classes combating sexual harassment. The film was adapted based on real stories of women who suffered sexual harassment.

One of the three women decided not to be afraid of speaking up, and she filed a court case for being sexually harassed, unlike the acknowledged norm of keeping silent.

The other character’s husband did not support her when she was assaulted. Consequently, she decided to get a divorce and to establish an organization aiming to stand against harassment.

The third woman, who cannot afford any other means of transportation except public bus 678, continues to face harassers on a daily basis.

The three women decided to stand united and fight sexual harassment by raising people’s awareness about the struggles they face and demand justice for their offenders.

The movie is an eye-opener to many men and women who think that sexual harassment is not as prevalent as it really is.

The growing trend of portraying violence against women as normal, as a way to amuse people and make the audience laugh, needs to stop now. To push women’s fight for equality forward, the media needs to get with the program and condemn outdated traditions that reduce women to passive watchers, as opposed to active participants. It is one of the main responsibilities of entertainment media to better society and correct its perspective about women.

This article is part of Egypt Today’s campaign “Break the Silence ... Say No to Violence” marking the 16-day campaign of activism against gender-based violence GBV from November 25 to December 10.]]>
12/6/2017 12:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Global Migration Film Festival kicks off on Tuesday]]>
IOM organises the festival to pay tribute to the many films that capture the beauty and challenges of migration, bringing these real experiences to audiences around the world.
IOM chose December 5 to launch the festival in about 85 countries around the world including Egypt, to coincide with the observance of IOM’s 65th anniversary on the same day.

IOM and the UN media office in Cairo will screen the movie "Onshouda le Soria" (A Song to Syria) as part of the festival screenings. The movie screening will be followed by a seminar discussing migration challenges and obstacles.

It is worth mentioning that the Global Migration Film Festival is part of the UN campaign "Together" that promotes respecting refugees and ensuring their safety.
12/6/2017 11:39:53 AM
<![CDATA[A petition decries 'suggestive' painting at NY Met]]>
Critics of the work by the French-Polish artist known as Balthus, born Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, say it is inappropriate considering the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which triggered a national conversation about sexual misconduct and a barrage of accusations against prominent personalities.

The 1938 painting entitled "Therese Dreaming" shows a girl sitting with her leg up on a chair, causing her skirt to slide above her thighs, revealing her underwear.

Mia Merrill, who authored the petition, called it "disturbing" that the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- one of the world's top fine art institutions -- would display the piece.

"Given the current climate around sexual assault and allegations that become more public each day, in showcasing this work for the masses without providing any type of clarification, The Met is, perhaps unintentionally, supporting voyeurism and the objectification of children," she said.

Merrill did not respond to AFP's request for comment.

The museum does not intend to remove the painting or modify the placard hanging next to it, a source close to the Met told AFP.

"Moments such as this provide an opportunity for conversation,"

the museum said in a statement obtained by AFP.

"And visual art is one of the most significant means we have for reflecting on both the past and the present, and encouraging the continuing evolution of existing culture through informed discussion and respect for creative expression."]]>
12/6/2017 10:09:53 AM
<![CDATA[Lubaina Himid becomes oldest winner of UK's Turner Prize]]>
Judges praised the Zanzibar-born artist for the "seriousness of themes she addressed," paying tribute to the "current vitality of Lubaina's work as well as the current relevance" of it in three decades past.

The winning artist said she felt "like I won it for a lot of people, so that's why it means a lot.

"For all the black women who never did win it even though they've been shortlisted. It feels good for that reason."

Musician Goldie presented the £25,000 ($32,000, 30,000 euros) award at the ceremony in Hull, northern England, to mark its year as UK City of Culture.

The jury made its decision on the back of Himid's trio of exhibitions in Oxford, Bristol and Nottingham, which showcased her paintings, prints and installations.

Her exhibits on show include wooden figures, a cast of cut-out characters including Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and a porcelain dinner set painted with images of black slaves.

Himid was one of two artists aged over 50 on the four-person shortlist after the age limits were lifted.

The other finalists included Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Buettner and Rosalind Nashashibi.

Named for J. M. W. Turner, the British Romanticist landscape painter, the prize has often sparked controversy.

Winners have included Damien Hirst in 1995 with pieces including a rotting cow's head, and Chris Ofili, who incorporated elephant dung into his paintings in 1998.

Meanwhile Tracey Emin's "My Bed", a stained bed surrounded with detritus, drew huge attention when shortlisted in 1999.

12/6/2017 10:08:17 AM
<![CDATA[Ed Sheeran rules Spotify in 2017]]>
The ginger-haired pop guitarist was streamed more than any other artist in the year so far -- not a surprise, considering his song "Shape of You," the fourth track on "Divide," reigns as Spotify's most streamed song ever.

Despite Sheeran's triumph, the Swedish-based streaming service said the larger trends of 2017 included hip-hop, with streams growing 74 percent over an already large base in 2016.

Hip-hop star Drake came in second on Spotify in 2017 and rapper Kendrick Lamar was fourth, with R&B singer The Weeknd, a protege of Drake, placing third.

Latin music also saw major gains, with streams more than doubling on the back of viral Spanish-language hits -- most notably the worldwide sensation "Despacito."

Rihanna was the most streamed woman on Spotify for the third year in a row, despite her lack of major releases in 2017.

Sheeran, 26, has seized on the rapid growth of streaming during his rise to pop fame.

His success on Spotify, however, did not help him at the Grammys, with Sheeran shut out of major categories announced last week -- a surprise to many watchers of the music industry's top prizes.]]>
12/6/2017 10:06:36 AM
<![CDATA['Shawshank' star Tim Robbins's real-life prison revolution]]>
But the 59-year-old Hollywood star's interest in criminal justice and the incarcerated extends far beyond his efforts to win critical approval or awards.

Over a decade, Robbins has made a dramatic dent in reoffending rates among Californian prisoners taking part in a drama program that encourages hardened criminals to put on make-up and get in touch with their emotions.

"We're not in there to make theater with them, we're not there to do plays with them, and we're certainly not there to turn them into actors," he says at a presentation on The Prison Project in downtown Los Angeles.

"We don't want them coming out and competing with us -- particularly if they are good," he jokes. "But it does provide them with a path, a path that leads toward transformation."

Crime rates in the US are at historic lows, yet incarcerations have soared since the 1970s, with 2.3 million American prisoners making up almost a quarter of the world's prison population.

California has among the highest recidivism rates nationwide, yet in 2008 all public funding to prison arts programs was cut, despite evidence of their positive impact.

The Prison Project brings together rival gang members, convicted murderers and white supremacists in workshops where it is not taboo to express emotions, as it is elsewhere in prison.

Groups of inmates sit in white make-up and masks, improvising scenes as stock characters from the 16th Century Italian Commedia dell'Arte movement that represent happiness, sadness, fear or anger.

- 'Rough crowd' -

"In prison, there's one appropriate emotion: anger. To survive you have your angry face on, you have to project an aura of invincibility and toughness," says Robbins.

"You do not express fear or sadness, and the only happiness you express usually has to do with mocking someone, not true joy."

Robbins says the workshops have a transformative effect on inmates, allowing them "a safe zone" to express feelings that had been buried, in some cases for decades.

Before long, participants begin to realize that they can be the master of their emotions in real life as well as in drama workshops.

Born near Los Angeles to a devoutly Roman Catholic folk singer father, Robbins moved with his family to New York's Greenwich Village, where he began performing at the age of 12.

The actor, who won an Oscar for 2003's "Mystic River," often muses that he might have ended up behind bars like several of his friends, but for the good fortune of having discovered theater.

"The kids I ran with were a rough crowd. In order to prove yourself on the streets of New York you had to be tough, or fast," Robbins says. "I learned how to be both."

He moved to Los Angeles in his 20s and founded experimental collective The Actors' Gang in 1981 along with young artists from his college, including John Cusack.

British actress Sabra Williams joined up and, in 2006, came up with the idea for The Prison Project, having been inspired by the benefits of work she had done in jails back home as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

- 'Hug a thug' liberals -

Dismissed initially as another band of well-meaning but essentially useless "hug a thug" liberals, Robbins and Williams have proved that their approach works.

The return-to-prison rate in California has been as high as 67.5 percent in recent years, according to a recent study by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Encouraging preliminary data for inmates who completed The Prison Project, according to the department, showed that number dropped to 10.6 percent.

And a 2015 study by Impact Justice showed an 89 percent drop in in-custody offenses for inmates participating in the Prison Project.

The program has expanded into 12 California prisons, two community re-entry programs and two juvenile detention centers and, thanks to relentless lobbying by Williams, funding for arts in prison has been reinstated.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown made $6 million available for California's Arts in Corrections program and all 35 of the state's prisons now have some kind of publicly funded arts -- up from exactly zero a decade ago.

"If I were to tell you I had developed a pharmaceutical that could reduce recidivism to 10 percent and reduce in-prison infractions by 89 percent, you'd fast-track that drug and have it in every inmates' mouth," Robbins said.

"This is a public safety issue. You can't keep people in prison forever, they're going to get out at some point. Wouldn't you want them coming out with better skills to deal with their emotions?"]]>
12/6/2017 10:04:41 AM
<![CDATA[Five things you never knew about Johnny Hallyday]]>
Here are five key things to know about the biggest rock star you have probably never heard of:

- He wasn't called Johnny -

Johnny Hallyday was born Jean-Philippe Smet in Paris in 1943, but as he said himself, "it wasn't a very rock 'n' roll name".

So he changed it to Johnny Halliday after an American relative, Lee Halliday, who became a father figure for the singer when his own father abandoned him, and who first introduced him to rock.

"He always called me Johnny because he couldn't say Jean-Philippe," the singer said.

But when his stage name was misspelled "Hallyday" on his first record in 1960, the teenager had no option but to live with the "y".

It was also from Halliday that Johnny learned his idiosyncratic English, leading some young French fans to initially assume he was American.

- Johnny 'The American' -

Johnny Hallyday epitomised French postwar youth's love affair with all things American -- infuriating an older and official France that was snooty about American taste and still more wary of US domination.

The rocker loved to tell how a French radio announcer smashed his first record on air, saying, "You will never hear that again."

Hallyday longed so much to make it big in the United States that he recorded his third album, "Johnny Hallyday Sings America's Rockin' Hits", entirely in English in Nashville in 1962.

He toured several US cities and even appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show" in the hope of charming Americans with his cover versions of "Blueberry Hill" and "Be Bop A Lula". But it was not to be.

Two further attempts failed until Hallyday's American dream finally came true in 1996 when 5,000 of his French fans flew the 9,000 kilometres (5,500 miles) to see him play Las Vegas.

The star, who criss-crossed America on road trips on his Harley Davidson motorbike, moved his family to Los Angeles in 2010 where he lived down the road from Tom Hanks and Ben Affleck in Pacific Palisades.

"I love the tranquility," he later said of LA. "There are stars everywhere, but when I go for a walk no one bothers me."

- Sex, drugs and Gitanes -

Hallyday was the ultimate musical survivor, adapting to every trend. He went from rocker to hippie, to prog rock intellectual with his rock opera "Hamlet", then back to back to basics with blues, country and western and French ballads, before a final flourish of Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic rock.

The only constants were the untipped Gitanes cigarette that hung perennially from the corner of his mouth and the hard-partying "life of destruction" he led off stage.

"For a long time I couldn't get out of bed in the morning without cocaine," he admitted in 1998, telling the French daily Le Monde that he also tried to drown his unhappy childhood in alcohol, opium and cannabis.

His love life was equally rock 'n' roll, with a long list of lovers as well as five marriages. "I am a rocker and a rocker must live like a lone wolf," he once said.

- You only live twice -

Having survived a suicide bid, drug abuse and a veritable pile-up of car crashes, the state of Hallyday's health has long been a national obsession in France.

The singer's millions of fans were plunged into premature mourning in 2009 after he reportedly "died" on an operating table from an infection picked up during earlier routine back surgery.

France held its breath for weeks as the star was put into a medically induced coma, and the surgeon who carried out the initial operation was attacked in the street in Paris.

Hallyday later laughed off his brush with death. "The first time I died I didn't like it so I came back," he said.

- When Johnny met Jimi -

Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page and even Bob Dylan all played second fiddle to Hallyday at one time or another.

Hendrix and his band backed up Hallyday during a tour of France in 1966 and the pair partied together, while Page worked for the French rocker as a session musician both in Paris and London.

Hallyday later had a huge hit with Hendrix's "Hey Joe".

When Bob Dylan turned up in Paris in 1966 Johnny was at his side, ensuring the attention of the paparazzi and hordes of screaming fans.

Hallyday himself grew up worshipping Edith Piaf but when the older woman tried to seduce him his ardour cooled somewhat, though he continued to sing her songs.]]>
12/6/2017 10:02:14 AM
<![CDATA[Johnny Hallyday: France's troubled Elvis]]>
While he was never taken seriously abroad, Hallyday was by far the best-known rocker in France.

"There is something of Johnny in all of us," said the French presidency in a statement after his wife Laeticia announced his death early on Wednesday.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy -- an adoring fan who once tried to tempt him back from tax exile in Switzerland -- said he represented "part of our personal history... our memories and emotions".

Known simply as Johnny, Hallyday sold more than 100 million albums and headlined 50 major tours, the last this summer when he teamed up with veteran French rockers for the "Old Scoundrels" tour.

Inspired by Elvis Presley, he broke from France's classic "chanson" tradition in the late 1950s, rocking like his US idols and summoning the rebellious spirit of James Dean with his quiffed hair and leathers.

He drove his young fans wild, attracting 100,000 to a Paris square in 1963 and prompting scenes of hysteria until then unseen in a conservative France led by the stiff General Charles de Gaulle.

"He embodies the emergence of French youth culture and rock 'n' roll," said Serge Kaganski of the French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles.

Defying the view that France, then a land of crooners and jazz, could not rock, Hallyday had his big break with the 1960 hit "T'aimer Follement" (Makin' Love) and later belted out French versions of songs such as Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe".

Even as the decades rolled by and politicians began to curry his favour, he kept his bad-boy image alive with a colourful private life, ticking off many rock 'n' roll rites of passage.

- Married same woman twice -

He attempted suicide in 1966, collapsed on stage in 1986 and married five times, twice to the same woman, the daughter of one of his oldest friends and songwriters.

In 1998 he admitted taking cocaine and suffering a difficult childhood with an alcoholic father who first abandoned the family when Johnny was just eight months old.

He settled down for a while with the actress Nathalie Baye, with whom he had a daughter, Laura Smet, who followed her mother onto the big screen.

By then Hallyday had married model Laeticia Boudou, who was 31 years his junior, and adopted two Vietnamese children.

Born Jean-Philippe Leo Smet to a Belgian father and French mother in Paris on June 15, 1943, the singer was brought up by his aunt, an actress, and mentored by an American relative, Lee Halliday, from whom he took his stage name.

Often ridiculed by cartoonists and television comics as a man of little intellect, Hallyday had brief moments of kudos, including starring in films by directors Jean-Luc Godard and Patrice Leconte.

Further acclaim came in 2009 for his performance as a retired hitman out to avenge his murdered family in Johnnie To's thriller "Vengeance".

- 'Not as dumb as you think' -

Critics described him as "mesmerising", with The New York Times saying that "with his ruined face and pale snake eyes Mr. Hallyday holds the screen".

"I'm not nearly as dumb as people think," Hallyday told AFP. "I think this vision of me belongs to the past."

And there was no doubting his cross-generational popularity, a phenomenon foreigners often found bewildering.

"There is in the very deep public affection for Johnny, something that goes beyond the sexes and social classes," his friend the singer Jean-Jacques Goldman told AFP.

He was made a knight of the French Legion d'Honneur in 1998 by president Jacques Chirac, who called him "the idol of the young".

"Johnny Hallyday is a real star who has successfully merged two cultures, the French and the American," Chirac said.

But a few years later Johnny went into tax exile in Switzerland and Los Angeles -- where he was often photographed on his Harley Davidson motorcycle -- claiming that French taxes were too high.

Yet fame outside the French-speaking world eluded him.

"He's a rock icon in France," Kaganski said. "But for the English or the Americans, it'd be like the English trying to sell us camembert (cheese)."

"My international career? It'll happen if it happens," Hallyday once told AFP. "But I don't specially want to succeed elsewhere. It's better to be king in one's own country than a prince elsewhere."]]>
12/6/2017 9:59:44 AM
<![CDATA[France's king of rock Johnny Hallyday dies at 74]]>
The leather-clad would-be Elvis broke from France's classic "chanson" tradition in the late 1950s, selling more than 110 million albums and headlining 50 major tours.

"Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them. But yet, it's true. My man is no longer with us," his wife Laeticia Hallyday, 42, said in a statement issued overnight.

"He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity."

Hallyday had announced in March that he had cancer and would undergo treatment.

President Emmanuel Macron was among the first to react to Hallyday's death, saying: "There is something of Johnny in all of us."

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy -- an adoring fan who once tried to tempt him back from tax exile in Switzerland -- said he represented "part of our personal history... our memories and emotions".

From early on in a career that would span over five decades, Hallyday drove his young fans wild, attracting 100,000 to a Paris square in 1963 and prompting scenes of hysteria until then unseen in a conservative France led by the stiff General Charles de Gaulle.

"He embodies the emergence of French youth culture and rock 'n' roll," said Serge Kaganski of the French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles.

Born on June 15 1943, Hallyday attempted suicide in 1966, collapsed on stage in 1986 and married five times -- twice to the same woman, the daughter of one of his oldest friends and songwriters.

Rumours of Hallyday's passing had flown online in recent weeks after he was admitted to hospital in Paris with breathing problems.

Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet, spent six days under medical care before returning to rest at his home in Marnes-la-Coquette, west of the capital.

Fans had in the past week told French media they were so upset at the news of his deteriorating health they could not bare to listen to his songs.

"Until the very last moment, he held firm against this illness that had afflicted him for months, teaching us all extraordinary life lessons," his wife Laeticia said.

The rocker "lived his entire life wholly for his fans, who loved him and idolised him", she added.

- 'A true icon' -

News of Hallyday's death triggered tributes from Celine Dion and Lenny Kravitz.

"I'm very sad to hear the news that Johnny Hallyday passed away. He was a giant in show business... a true icon!" Dion wrote on Twitter.

"Your friendship, sweetness and support are imprinted in my heart. It is an honour to have known you and to have spent time with you and your beautiful family. Your soul is pure Rock and Roll," Kravitz tweeted.

"Repose en paix," he wrote in French, meaning "rest in peace."

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen expressed condolences on Twitter to Hallyday's family, describing him as "a singer who came from the people and who the people loved".

The French media was awash with tributes, with Le Figaro daily running the headline: "France's last idol is gone."

On Twitter, #JohnnyHallyday and #RIPJohnny were trending topics.

Yet throughout Hallyday's life, fame outside the French-speaking world had eluded him.

"My international career? It'll happen if it happens," Hallyday once told AFP. "But I don't specially want to succeed elsewhere. It's better to be king in one's own country than a prince elsewhere."]]>
12/6/2017 9:57:02 AM
<![CDATA[Innovative Virtual Reality cinema returns to DIFF]]>
The collection of film screenings will take place throughout the days of the 14th edition of the festival, featuring ten different films that immerse the audience into the film with a number of VR techniques, including 360º, 3D, and audiovisual cinema.

The films featured are from an array of different lengths and genres including documentary, drama, science fiction, animation, and comedy.

The ten films featuring include “The Last Chair”, a documentary directed by Anke Teunissen and Jessie van Vreden; “The Committee”, a drama directed by Mike Samir; “Dreams of Blue”, a science fiction project directed by Valentina Piaggarin; “Leggenda”, and a music performance film directed by Leslie Levi.

Other films to screen include “War Tourist”, a war documentary directed by Emiliano Ruprah; “Sergeant James”, a short film directed by Alexandre Perez; “Bloodless”, a short documentary directed by Gina Kim; “Extravaganza”, a satire directed by Ethan Shaftel; “Ray”, a short interactive film directed by Rafael Pavon; and “Lebanon on Wheels”, a short film directed by Kamel Harb.

Abdulhamid Juma, the chairman of DIFF, assures that the VR showcase “will be a real crowd pleaser”, with its “state-of-the-art technology and filmmaking genius”.

The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will commence on December 6 through December 13, and will showcase well over 120 original films from the Arab world and beyond, promoting new talent and creativity.

12/5/2017 5:06:46 PM
<![CDATA[Jean d'Ormesson, France's 'prince of letters', dies aged 92]]>
Hailed by President Emmanuel Macron as the "prince of letters", d'Ormesson became the youngest member of the Academie Francaise, France's elite literary body, in 1973.

The count -- whose full name was Jean Bruno Wladimir Francois-de-Paule Le Fevre d'Ormesson but went by the nickname Jean d'O -- wrote around 40 largely autobiographical novels.

He made his cinema debut aged 87 in 2012 playing former Socialist president Francois Mitterrand in a comedy, "Haute Cuisine", based on the true story of the leader's chef.

D'Ormesson had been a regular guest at Mitterrand's table.

Thin, elegantly turned out with mischievous blue eyes, the bon vivant d'Ormesson was a frequent face on French television.

Little known abroad because his novels were not translated, he was honoured in 2015 by the publication of his body of work by the prestigious Pleiade publishing house.

Born in Paris on June 16, 1925, d'Ormesson spent his childhood as the son of a diplomat, in Germany, Romania and Brazil.

He took a degree in philosophy at the prestigious Ecole Normale, held a number of political posts and headed the conservative daily Le Figaro from 1974 to 1977.

His literary career took off with the publication of "La Gloire de l'Empire" (The Glory of the Empire) in 1971, awarded by the Academie Francaise.

After a protracted battle with bladder cancer in 2013, his book "Comme un Chant d'Esperance" (Like a Song of Hope) pondered the origins of the universe and the vagaries of fate.]]>
12/5/2017 4:51:00 PM
<![CDATA[Bollywood bids farewell to Indian film legend Shashi Kapoor]]>
Veteran Indian cinema icon Amitabh Bachchan, who starred alongside Kapoor in several hit Hindi films of the 1970s, and actor Shah Rukh Khan were among mourners at the ceremony in Mumbai, the home of Bollywood.

Kapoor appeared in more than 150 films and was a member of Indian cinema's most famous acting dynasty. He died on Monday aged 79 after a years-long battle with kidney disease.

Actors and directors from across the Hindi movie industry paid tribute to Kapoor who was one of the first Indian actors to work abroad, appearing in several Merchant Ivory films.

He often played the role of romantic action hero and was known for his suave good looks.

In a blog post Tuesday Bachchan described Kapoor as an "incredibly handsome man" with a "devastating smile complementing the twinkle in his eyes".

Shashi was the youngest son of Prithviraj Kapoor, a pioneer of Hindi film and theatre. His eldest brother Raj Kapoor, who died in 1988, was also a famous Hindi movie star.

Shashi's most memorable roles were in such films as "Jab Jab Phool Khile" (Whenever The Flowers Bloom, 1965), "Kabhi Kabhie" (Sometimes, 1976), and "Kalyug" (Age of Downfall, 1981).

He was also adored for his role opposite Bachchan in the hit movie "Deewaar" (The Wall, 1975) in which he delivered one of Hindi cinema's most famous lines -- 'Mere paas maa hai' (I have a mother).

Shashi appeared in the Merchant Ivory films "The Householder" (1963), "Heat and Dust" (1983) and "Shakespeare Wallah" (1965).

In 1972 he starred alongside actress Simi Garewal in the American film "Siddhartha".

Garewal said she was "deeply saddened" by Kapoor's death.

"The last of that generation of Kapoors is gone. A gentleman and friend is gone. All that remain are his memories," read a post on her Twitter page.

Acclaimed director Karan Johar described Kapoor as "the most charming and enigmatic actor ever... a gentleman movie star!"

"His legacy in film and theatre is exceptional...thoughts and prayers with the family....his work will always live on..." Johar wrote on Twitter.

"Innumerable Bollywood dreams came to life watching your iconic dialogue, 'Mere paas maa hai'," tweeted actor Akshay Kumar, adding: "Your tremendous contribution to cinema will always be remembered. RIP ji".

Shashi Kapoor was married to English actress Jennifer Kendal for 26 years until her death in 1984.

He won numerous acting prizes and in 2011 was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, one of India's highest civilian awards.

Shashi's nephew Rishi Kapoor and Rishi's son, Ranbir, both also famous actors, attended Tuesday's funeral held in unseasonal rain brought by Cyclone Ockhi off India's west coast.]]>
12/5/2017 4:49:17 PM
<![CDATA[Thurman brings Trumpland critique to Broadway]]>
So what could be more timely than Oscar-nominee Uma Thurman making her Broadway debut in a play adapted by "House of Cards" writer Beau Willimon that drips with venom for contemporary Washington?

On stage nightly a mile from Trump's Manhattan penthouse, "The Parisian Woman" stars Thurman as a socialite, Democrat wife prepared to do anything to secure a judgeship from Trump for her politically ambivalent, under-qualified but ambitious tax attorney husband.

The 90-minute show is peppered with Trump-shaming gags, "this madman we have in the White House," punch lines mocking his use of Twitter, refusal to release his tax returns and reputed thin skin.

"It's okay. We've got good people around him now. Well, mostly good people," says character Jeanette, who plays a Republican grandee recently tapped to lead the Federal Reserve.

There are references to John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff, defense secretary Jim Mattis, first daughter Ivanka and "fake news."

The younger generation is represented by Rebecca, a Democrat bristling with brains and talent, driven by presidential ambitions of her own. "I hope I'm not the first. I hope I'm the second, or the third."

Willimon is best known for writing Netflix hit "House of Cards" in which a now disgraced Kevin Spacey played a US president devoid of moral compass and Robin Wright, his Lady Macbeth style wife.

It won rave reviews at a time when viewers delighted in macabre escapism. Now that Americans have a president whom millions view as dangerous, reducing that to drawing room satire is less appealing.

So while Thurman's fame has driven ticket sales, reviews have been mediocre, paling in comparison to her electric on-screen roles for Quentin Tarantino in the likes of "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill."

More than that, theater critics find fault with the script, chastising its light-hearted drawing-room comedy as too light-weight given the peril with which they regard the crisis-ridden White House.

- 'Mannered trifle' -

The New Yorker dismissed the play as "dirty Washington business as usual," when "what's happening now is worse than business as usual."

"It may take dramatists, like the rest of us, many more years to process this parlous political moment."

If Willimon's play "leads anywhere," sniffed Hollywood trade magazine Variety, "it will be down the drain."

"He fails to draw on any of the many issues bedeviling the president and his minions, missing his chance to turn this mannered trifle into a substantive political drama."

But members of the audience seemed enamored and laughed, or at least guffawed at all the key jokes.

"It's politically charged. Re-done well," said Max Whalen, 33, a shipping company logistics manager. Originally inspired by Henri Becque's 1885 French comedy "La Parisienne," Willimon reworked the play after a 2013 production in California.

"I think that really helps with the current state of the nation."

Drew Kranak, 73-year-old retiree and die-hard Thurman fan, was thrilled. "Outstanding. She's definitely extremely talented," he said.

"It's very timely. Of course it's very political but I enjoyed the play," he said, describing his politics as fiscally conservative but socially liberal, and branding Trump "a total disaster."

"It's New York, and I think both New York and California are on the same page," he said.

12/5/2017 4:46:52 PM
<![CDATA[Dystopian art film “Gummo” to screen at Cinema Daal]]>
“Gummo”, directed by Harmony Korine, is considered a cult film dedicated for adults however it has gained popularity among the cult-productions fan base.

The film is set in a town called “Xenia” in Ohio, where a tornado had devastated the area. It is narrated by a boy named “Solomon”, who is present throughout the film, giving comments and introducing characters. “Solomon” and another boy named “Tummler” pass their free time in the town with destructive and disturbing behaviour.

“Gummo” is meant to explore America’s deep social issues including drug abuse, violence, poverty, mental illness, racism, and abuse, among other ideas. The scenes of the film are irregular and do not follow a clear plotline. They represent aspects of American society that are often ignored in cinema.

The film is unscripted, and most of the characters are played by non-actors. The director meant to deliver an honest depiction of impoverished American neighborhoods, emphasized by its surreal images and dialogue, and the disturbing and graphic behavior shown.

The film stars Jacob Reynolds as “Solomon”, Nick Sutton as “Tummler”, Jacob Sewell as “Bunny Boy”, and Chloë Sevigny as “Dot”.

Harmony Korine, the director, was awarded several prizes for his work on “Gummo” including the Special Jury Award at the Gijón International Film Festival, the Open Palm Award at the Gotham Awards, and the KNF Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.
12/5/2017 4:42:46 PM
<![CDATA[Award-winning animation to screen in Magnolia Leaves of Art]]>
“Ethel & Ernest” is the film adaptation of the graphic novel written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs, based on the true story of his parents’ lives together. The film is directed by Roger Mainwood.

The story is set in London, England from the 1920s to the 1970s. In 1928, Ernest Briggs, a milkman, meets and marries Ethel, a housemaid. The film follows moments of their lives from the birth of their son in 1934 to their deaths in 1971.

Milestones and major events of the 20th century such as the Great Depression and World War II up until the moon landing of 1969 are explored through their eyes in a humorous and touching account of their lives. It gives a look into their English working class experiences, aspirations, dreams, and struggles in a time of great social and political transformation, showing the changes that take place in the couple’s forty years together, and the love that still binds them.

The film stars Brenda Blethyn as the voice of Ethel, Jim Broadbent as Ernest, and Luke Treadaway as Raymond. Other cast members include Pam Ferris as the voice of Mrs. Benet and Aunty Betty, Roger Allam as “the Doctor”, and June Brown as “Ernest’s Stepmother”.

Ethel & Ernest won the Best Animation award at the Córdoba International Animation Festival, and the Jury Award for Best Animated Feature at the Anima Mundi Festival. It received several nominations at different festivals including the Imaginaria Film Festival for Best Animated Feature Film and Melbourne International Film Festival for Best Narrative Feature.
12/5/2017 4:33:19 PM
<![CDATA[Female portrayals in Egyptian cinema to be discussed Tuesday]]>
This edition’s program focuses on the representation of women in the cinematic adaptations of the work of Ehsan Abdel Qodous, a famous Egyptian writer who often dealt with women’s issues in his works, and whose books are known to have been frequently adapted in film.

The program plans to consider the treatment of female characters in cinema with respect to gender roles and stereotypes, according to the event’s official Facebook page.

Directed by Henry Barakat “Thin Thread” will be screened on Tuesday and followed by a discussion The led by women’s rights advocate Doaa Abdelaal. Abdelaal’s work focuses on the political aspect of women in society, political awareness, political participation, civic engagement, social movements, and gender dynamics. She works toward enhancing women’s leadership capacities in political transitions.

The program will also screen another film that is an adaptation of Abdel Qodous’ “I Am Free”, directed by Saleh Abu Seif. The discussion that follows will be led by Samia Mehrez, an Arabic Literature professor. Mehrez’s work focuses on translation studies, modern Arabic literature, postcolonial literary studies, and gender studies. Nour El Safoury, a writer on Egyptian film, art, and culture, will be moderating the discussion.
12/5/2017 4:22:46 PM
<![CDATA[Samia Gamal: Barefooted belly dancer]]>
She was born in 1924 in Wana Al Qiss village in Beni Suef governorate as Zeinab Khalil Ibrahim Mafouz. Gamal was interested in dancing from a young age. She loved to watch the movies of renowned belly dancer Badiaa Masabni and other famous dancers at the time.

One day, when she was about 15, Samia told the owner of a café where she was sitting that her biggest dream was to become a great dancer and work with Badia Masabni. The owner of the café knew Masabni and offered to introduce Samia to her.

Gamal started working at the Badia Masabni Opera Casino. Masabni decided to give her the name Samia, as she thought that Zeinab was not a suitable name for a dancer. Gamal was the name of the café owner who introduced her to Masabni.

Samia did not succeed in her first solo dance performance. Later, she became more determined to succeed and decided to take private dancing lessons with the famous Lebanese choreographer at that time named Isaac Dickson.

After a series of lessons with Dickson, Gamal gave a great solo performance and started a successful career.

Gamal performed in more than 50 movies during her career, spanning from the 1940s until the early 1960s. She is well known for her performances in the movies “Kull daqqa fi qalby” (Every Beat of My Heart), “Maweed maa maghoul” (A Date with the Unknown), “Gharam al-miliunayr” (The Love of the Millionaire)” and “El Ragol el Thany” (The Second Man).

She was known as the brunette of Egyptian cinema. Gamal created her own unique dancing style, a mix of oriental and modern dancing technique.

Being a bold and innovative artist, she was the first to dance barefoot. One night, when one of her shoes broke and slipped off during a performance, she quickly ripped off the other one as well and danced barefooted.

The audience applauded and admired the act, showing much respect for her bravery. It was said that the next evening all the dancers in Cairo nightclubs performed barefooted. A new trend was invented by Gamal.

Gamal had a long, romantic relationship with singer and composer Farid El Atrache, but the two never got married, because he was from a royal Syrian family and it would have been shameful for a royal to marry a belly dancer.

After she broke up with Farid, Gamal married a rich American man named Shepherd King, who converted to Islam for her sake. She moved with him to Houston, Texas. The marriage only lasted for a year, and after the divorce, Gamal returned to Egypt. Her second marriage was with famous actor Roushdy Abaza. Her marriage to Abaza was her longest one, lasting for 18 years. She loved Abaza more than life itself, even despite all his flaws.

Gamal was honoured in Toulouse for her contribution to the beautiful art of belly dancing. She died in 1994 at the age of 70, after a 6-day coma in a hospital in Cairo.]]>
12/5/2017 4:20:25 PM
<![CDATA[Remembering prominent classic singer Fayza Ahmed ]]>
Fayza was born in the city of Saida in Lebanon in 1934 to a Syrian father and Lebanese mother. She later moved with her family to Damascus, where she spent most of her childhood.

She greatly enjoyed singing as a child, and would often perform songs by Laila Mourad and Asmahan at school. Her mother encouraged her to pursue music, and brought her a singing instructor. She went on to audition on a singers’ panel for Damascus Broadcast, but was not accepted.

She later travelled to Aleppo to audition for the Aleppo Broadcast, and was accepted. Her popularity rose in Aleppo, and soon the Damascus Broadcast that had originally rejected her requested her return. She resumed her musical career in Damascus with great popularity under the instruction of Mohamed Nagy, a celebrated composer.

After Syria, Fayza went to Iraq, where she met and worked with Reda Aly, a renowned Kurdish Iraqi musician. In Iraq, she performed songs in the Iraqi dialect.

Cairo was Fayza’s next stop in 1954. She embarked on a new level of her career when she was recognized for the first time on broadcast as an artist in 1959. She went on to release popular hits with the famous singer Mohamed el-Mogy, who worked with other great artists like Abdelhalim Hafez and Umm Kulthum. Their hits include “Ana Albi Leek Mayal” (My heart yearns for you), “Hayran” (Confused), and “Beit al-’Ezz” (House of Glory), among others.

Following much popularity in the country, she received Egyptian citizenship status in 1964. Some of her most famous hits include “Ool Le Kol El Nas” (Tell Everyone), “Ta’ala Shoof” (Come See), “Gharib Ya Zaman” (Strange, Time). Fayza was awarded numerous prizes throughout her career.

Film “Tamar ‘Hanna” in 1957 was her cinematic debut , after which she acted in six more film productions alongside with participating in in theatre performances.

Fayza died in 1984 after a fight with cancer. She is still known today for her unique voice and presence and her musical impact in Egypt.

12/5/2017 3:59:45 PM
<![CDATA[ Renowned cinematographer Ramses Marzouk to conduct workshop in Cairo]]>
The workshop is part of Osiris’ continuous program called “One Day Workshop”, in which workshops take place in a single session conducted by well known artists and performers experienced in various artistic fields invited by Osiris. The workshop discusses the usage of light in cinema and its effects on cinematic pictures.

Ramses Marzouk is a popular Egyptian cinematographer. He has worked in over fifty productions in addition to numerous documentaries and short films.

Marzouk studied Applied Arts at Helwan University, then resumed his studies in the Cairo High Cinema Institute from which he graduated in 1963. He continued his studies in Italy and, then went on to study in France, where he received his doctorate from the famous Paris arts institute Sorbanne University in 1983.

His photography work was exhibited twice at the French Cinematheque, and he has received many tributes and awards in festivals and shows throughout his career. He also founded the first Egyptian magazine on cinema titled “Camera”. Some of the famous films he has worked on include “Heya Fawda” (Chaos), “Al-Mohager” (The Emigrant), and “Mercedes”.
12/5/2017 3:36:59 PM
<![CDATA[Black Theama to conclude 2017 music performances in Zamalek ]]>

A three-member independent group formed in 2004, the band is comprised of Amir Salah El-Din, Ahmed Bahr, and Mohamed Abdo, who have collaborted in joint performances with other bands and musicians, according to the event’s official page.

Singing in Egyptian colloquial Arabic, Black Theama produces politically charged music originating from Egyptian roots such as Nubian rhythms and other African-influenced sounds including R&B, hip hop, jazz, blues, funk, and reggae, and their songs are sung in Egyptian colloquial Arabic.

The group has previously stated that they do not want to simply present a Nubianapproach on music, but to create an authentic expression of their identity as southerners and black Egyptians, and introduce characteristics of Egyptian society through their lyrics and music.

Black Theama works with a small budget, and their projects are funded by their loyal fanbase. Remaining independent, the group attempts to distance itself from mainstream commercial music while staying connected with its audience. Most of their songs are performed live and not released commercially. Their latest and second album, “Baniadmeen” (Human Beings), was released in 2015.
12/5/2017 3:09:18 PM
<![CDATA[A new archeological discovery at Al-Imam Al-Shafie Dome ]]>
Al Imam Al-Shafie Dome – Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page

The uncovered part is a previously constructed shrine that consists of an open courtyard and three prayer niches. The unearthed shrine is decorated with colored marble.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani and U.S. Embassy's Chargé d'Affaires Thomas H.

Goldberger as well as other officials from Ministry of Antiquities visited Al-Shafie dome to check the latest renovation work in the site.

Minister of Antiquities visiting Al-Shafie Dome – Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page

The director of the Historical Cairo project Mohamed Abdel Aziz stated that the renovation work at Al-Imam Al-Shafie started in March 2016; it includes restoring different historical buildings surrounding Al-Shafie dome, in addition to marble floors and wooden roofs. ]]>
12/5/2017 12:00:50 PM
<![CDATA[Remembering Mohamed Kamel El Qalyoubi]]>
Qalyoubi was a director, a scriptwriter, and a notable Egyptian intellectual. His vision for cinematic art was untraditional as he originally studied engineering and later studied in Russia (then the USSR) for a PhD in Cinema. The mix between his engineering and cinematic backgrounds made his movies unique and his teaching in the Cinema High Institute insightful to students. Generations of directors and students were influenced by his depth and visual sensation.

Among his most prominent movies is “Three on the Road,” where a truck driver picks up a bellydancer and a small boy escaping from their dire social conditions on his way from Aswan to Cairo. The trip shows the problems of Egyptian society through various comedy and drama situations.

Qalyoubi's movies were not large in number but were quite distinguished. His accomplishments are also notable in academia, as he was a professor in the Academy of Arts, and a director of the National Cinema Center.

He was described as revolutionary and rebellious, with a vision biased towards the marginalized in society.

On the personal level, he was a wonderful storyteller, a real believer in freedom and equality and he was capable of seeing beauty in every person, always helping people develop themselves.

Qalyoubi has certainly left his mark on Egyptian cinema
12/5/2017 9:17:19 AM
<![CDATA[Discovery boosts stake in Oprah's TV group]]>
The deal gives Discovery an additional 24.5 percent stake to lift its total share to more than 70 percent.

Winfrey's holding company Harpo Inc will retain a minority stake and she will continue in her role as chief executive through 2025 under the agreement.

The announcement comes 10 years after Winfrey created the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in a joint deal with Discovery, which operates channels in the US, Europe and Latin America including Animal Planet, Discovery Kids and Eurosport.

"Ten years ago, Oprah and I began to imagine what a network, inspired by her vision and values, could mean to viewers across the US," said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery.

"In an increasingly crowded landscape, OWN has emerged as the leading destination for African-American women and one of the strongest superfan brands across all screens and services. This transaction allows Discovery and Oprah to unlock more value from our partnership; extends once more her commitment to the network; and lets us continue our strong work together to nourish OWN viewers with the content they love."

OWN airs programs focused on African-Americans including the series "Queen Sugar" and "Greenleaf."

"I'm thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership," Winfrey said in a statement.

"Together, we'll continue to inspire our viewers with real-life stories that are emotional and entertaining, connecting them to each other and to their greatest potential."]]>
12/5/2017 9:11:45 AM
<![CDATA[K-pop titans BTS break into US Top 40]]>
"Mic Drop" debuted at number 28, driven by a particularly strong showing in downloads, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week through Thursday.

The band incorporates more R&B and hip-hop into its sound than most K-pop groups. "Mic Drop," driven by a dark percussion line, features a contribution by star New York rapper Desiigner and mixing by leading electronic dance producer Steve Aoki.

The song appears on the EP "Love Yourself: Her," which earlier this year hit number seven on the US album chart, the highest ever for a Korean act.

Formed in 2013 by the Big Hit Entertainment company, the seven-member boy band has quickly become a top act in South Korea, Japan and other Asian markets.

The group is a constant social media presence in tech-savvy South Korea. Guinness World Records recently said BTS had more "Twitter engagements" than any other music group, defined as the average number of retweets.

The group has been seeking a greater presence in the United States, the world's largest music market, and performed last month on the televised American Music Awards.

But BTS has yet to reach the global viral proportions of fellow Korean star Psy's "Gangnam Style," whose 2012 video with its equestrian-themed dance routine was the first to hit one billion views on YouTube.

"Gangnam Style" controversially only reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 -- before tracking firm Nielsen Music made changes to give greater weight to YouTube views.

Only one Asian-language track has ever made it to number one on the Hot 100 -- Japanese singer Kyu Sakamoto's "Ue o Muite Arukou," marketed to English speakers by the unconnected title "Sukiyaki," in 1963.]]>
12/5/2017 9:09:26 AM
<![CDATA['House of Cards' to resume production -- without Spacey]]>
The show's finale is now set to focus on the character of Claire Underwood -- played by Robin Wright -- who, having succeeded her husband as president at the end of season five, looked directly at the camera, declaring: "My turn."

Netflix put the award-winning political thriller series on hold in response to the slew of allegations against Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner accused of attempting to rape a teenage boy and of a pattern of harassment towards younger, male colleagues -- including on the set of "House of Cards."

Season six, which was scheduled to air in 2018, will count just eight episodes instead of the regular 13 made for previous installments of the hit show, in which Spacey plays a corrupt US congressman who eventually becomes president.

Considered one of the most gifted actors of his generation, the career of the 58-year-old Spacey -- whose collaboration with Netflix put the streaming giant on the map -- was sent into freefall by the sex allegations that emerged at the end of October.

Netflix immediately dropped the actor, who has been publicly accused of attempting to rape a 15-year-old boy, and of making advances on actor Anthony Rapp three decades ago, when he was 14 years old.

According to British media, London police are also investigating him for an alleged assault in 2008.

Former "House of Cards" employees have claimed Spacey turned the set into a "toxic" environment through a pattern of harassment, and similar claims have been made regarding The Old Vic, the London theater where he was artistic director from 2003-2015.

Spacey is one of the most high-profile scalps in the torrent of allegations that have brought down male power players from the worlds of politics, finance, entertainment and journalism, in the wake of accusations targeting movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The actor was also executive producer of the flagship Netflix series, which is adapted from a BBC drama of the same name and has earned seven Emmy awards on more than 50 nominations.

Netflix doesn't release viewing figures. But the show marked out its place in television history as the company's debut in original programming, which has grown to include other highly regarded shows such as "Stranger Things" and "Orange is the New Black."]]>
12/5/2017 9:07:34 AM
<![CDATA[Greta Garbo's loneliness revealed in letters to be auctioned]]>
The collection of 36 letters, alongside more than 100 photographs of the reclusive actress, who died in 1990 aged 84, will go under the hammer at Sotheby's on December 12.

The Swedish-American icon, who disappeared from acting and public view in 1941, remained a mythical figure right up until her death, living alone in Manhattan and shunning interviews and invitations.

Spanning several decades but penned primarily in the 1930s and early '40s from Beverly Hills, California, Garbo wrote all the letters to her friend the countess Marta Wachtmeister, who lived in Tistad Castle in Sweden which Garbo visited frequently.

The correspondence laid bare the inescapable unease that pervaded her life, including her "loneliness, depression, and ill-health, her constant homesickness and love of the Swedish countryside," according to Sotheby's.

The mood of the letters contrasts sharply with the album of 111 amateur photographs that capture Garbo enjoying life at the castle with the Wachtmeisters, skiing, socialising and playing with animals.

- 'I want to be alone' -

Born in Stockholm in 1905 -- as Greta Lovisa Gustafsson -- Garbo grew up poor.

But modelling hats led to theatre and film roles in Europe that caught the attention of Hollywood studio MGM, and she moved to America in the 1920s.

Starring in the 1932 drama "Grand Hotel", she delivered her most famous line: "I want to be alone" -- voted the 30th most memorable movie quote of all time by the American Film Institute.

It seemed this was Garbo's own desire but the letters -- most unsigned, save for one autographed "The Clown" and two others that ended in sketches of female figures -- suggest that once she got her wish, solitary life failed to bring happiness.

"I am almost always alone and talk to myself. I drive to the beach and take walks and that's always marvellous. But that's it," she wrote in 1939, recounting living in Beverly Hills, a place she grew to loathe.

In another letter, dated 20 August 1941, she expressed disappointment at changes made to the plot of "The Two-Faced Woman" which gave Garbo the worst reviews of her career.

"But since I would rather go walking in the country than fight for stories, it will have turned out like it has," she wrote of the film, her last before self-imposed retirement.

Renowned for her beauty, Garbo nonetheless remained an object of fascination.

Her face was considered by photographic experts to be unique and "quite perfect", according to Sven Broman, author of the biography "Conversations with Greta".

"The distance between her eyes, the height of her forehead, her mouth, her whole creation, was divine," he wrote.

The collection of letters and photos are expected to fetch up to £20,000 (23,000 euros, $27,000).]]>
12/5/2017 9:05:44 AM
<![CDATA[Dutch court scraps violin maestro Andre Rieu's child labour fine]]>
"The court finds the reasons for the fine unfounded," the Limburg District Court said, adding "there are too few indications that Rieu employed the children."

Rieu's lawyers in October said they were appealing the "absurdly high" fine after a group of young Romanian pan flute players were on stage until midnight during a series of concerts in 2015.

Rieu had invited the children, together with Romanian pan flute virtuoso Gheorghe Zamfir, to play in his hometown of Maastricht.

Dutch law states that minors cannot perform after 11:00 pm.

Rieu's lawyers said the children were on stage "for only a few minutes" to wave at the crowd at the end of the concert, which they said "was a standard practice" for Rieu.

Rieu also denied he was the children's employer as the group performed with Zamfir.

With his curly locks and bubbly rock star personality, Rieu is considered the world's best-known modern violinist having sold more than 40 million records.

He is particularly famous for his waltzes, opulent stage sets and costumes and has invited celebrities including Anthony Hopkins and David Hasselhoff to join him at his concerts.]]>
12/5/2017 9:04:05 AM
<![CDATA[El Mermah, a photo exhibition reviving heritage]]>
Six photographers traveled in Upper Egypt for a period of three months, following the race from Qena to Aswan to produce beautiful photos and document the event as part of the rural heritage of Egypt. An exhibition was held in Lamasat Art Gallery and inaugurated by movie star Mahmoud Hmeida showing the work that they produced. Mahmoud Hmeida was happy to know about the race. He listened to the photographers explain their work because he is a horseman too.

The photographers participating in the exhibition were Ihab Aly, Adel Bayoumi, Hussein Ahmed, Mohamed Khalil, Hamdy Sharmi, Mahmoud Hawary, Dalia Raef and Waheed Mekheimar. Their passion for photography took them on an adventure in the heart of Upper Egypt and led to a great understanding of the horse traditions among those proud tribes.
Photography for the artists is a passion, as they are amateur photographers for more than three decades. Basically, like all true artists, they spend their efforts, lives and resources to practice their craft and improve their talents.

The exhibition included various pictures concentrated on the horses and race. Each of the “Eight Knights of Photography” took one angle and showed it in their photos. The angles included the competition itself, the simple race between the horses with their knights, the fight itself where the sword was replaced by a stick, and the winner’s determination through the knock-out system. The festivities accompanied the race with traditional Mezmar music, the entrance of the knights into the race yard, showing the talent of the horse rider and his control of the horse, and finally the beauty of the horses themselves.

What’s amazing about some of the photos is that they draw the eyes and the feelings of the viewer into the image, transfer the smells, the sweat of the rider, the horse, the dust in the air that rises from the action, and the competition.

The horse is tied to prosperity and welfare in the minds of Egyptians. It simply brings happiness and luck. A winning horse is nearly worshiped by its tribe, and riding it is an honor. The knight who wins the race rides with the utmost prestige among his peers. They also memorize the names of the horses and knights. It is a deep-rooted tradition in Upper Egypt amongst each of the tribes.
12/4/2017 9:25:50 PM
<![CDATA[El Farei and Bisher to perform in Cairo ]]>
Based in Jordan, El Farei is a Palestinian singer and songwriter who began his career in 2008. He participated in prominent Jordanian musical projects such as 47SOUL and El Morabba’.

This year, El Farei released a new album entitled “El Rajol El Khashaby” (The Wooden Man).

Bisher is a Jordanian underground one-man band founded in 2017. Bisher combines his voice with guitar sounds. In the concert, Jordanian singer will perform songs from his forthcoming album “Black Tulips,” expected to be released next year.

Bisher has composed music for various prominent Arabic poets’ such as Mahmoud Darwish and Salah Abdel Sabour.

The singer’s first major performance was at Museeqa Al Balad Festival 2017 in Amman, Jordan. Organized by Jimirazz, this concert is the first for Bisher in Egypt. ]]>
12/4/2017 8:43:35 PM
<![CDATA[Battle of the Sexes” to screen at DIFF 365]]>
Battle of the Sexes” Poster – DIFF press statement

The film revolves around the historical tennis match between Women's Tennis Champion, Billie Jean King, and Ex-Men's Tennis Champion, Bobby Riggs, in 1973.
Each is fighting for their beliefs; King fights to prove her identity and edge the fight for gender equality forward, while Riggs fights to support the opposite side of the binary argument. Off-court both players were fighting their own personal demons and complex battles.

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the “Battle of the Sexes” stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell.

In September, the movie premiered worldwide at the Telluride Film Festival (TFF); it also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

A Scene from “Battle of the Sexes” – DIFF press statement

The 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF 365) is set to take place between December 6 and December 13. DIFF 365 plans to showcase well over 120 original films from the Arab world and beyond, promoting new talent and creativity.]]>
12/4/2017 5:01:59 PM