12 Rules for Life, by Jordan Peterson How can one live decently in a world full of chaos and uncertainty? Jordan Peterson has helped millions around the world lead productive lives full of value…. And now it’s your turn! Peterson lays out 12 rules revolving around self-responsibility, with solutions to common problems you’ll face in life! Of course, Peterson’s book allows for more depth and research and his works have become the focus of everyone’s attention especially among youth. Thanks to a distinguished and honest translation from Mohamed Ibrahim al-Gendy, you can now read Jordan Peterson’s most important book in Arabic. Food for the Copt, by Charles Akl In his debut Charles Akl takes us on a journey that goes beyond just an old Coptic kitchen as he studies the Coptic mind and how it deals with the world in light of state policies and economic considerations. This book allows readers to understand the thought and feelings of Coptic youth, through Charles Akl’s skillful style blending intelligence and lightness. Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder Read by more than a million readers and translated into more than 50 different languages, Sophie’s World is an exceptional novel unlike any other that serves as an entry point for those interested in reading philosophy while also serving as a pleasant read. Gaarder, in a smooth and simple style, attempts to address major philosophical questions concerning life and existence: How and where did we come from? Where did the world come from? In a novel within a novel, Gaarder takes us on an exciting journey to learn the history of different philosophies and their most important schools, pioneers, ideas, and stages of development. The Joy of Less, by Francine Jay The Joy of Less is the perfect gift for anyone you love who wants to simplify their life. It is a book that deserves to be in every home. Set aside those strict, extreme approaches found in other books – Francine Jay gives us simple steps for an easy and fun way to get rid of all the chaos surrounding us in our lives and to organize things wherever we are. Open this book, and you’ll be on your way to a quieter and simpler life. A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende At the end of the 1930s, while the civil war was at its height in Spain after General Franco and the Fascist Party overthrew the government, thousands found themselves forced to make the arduous and terrifying journey on the mountain roads to the French borders. Even despite the cold winter, French government forces refuse to open up their borders to help the refugees. And thus steps in Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and ambassador in Paris who decides to help the refugees himself and prevent a humanitarian disaster. He arranges the SS Winnipeg ship and interviews the refugees himself, hoping to give them a new life in the land of Chile. Thanks to a wonderful translation from the late Saleh Almani, we’re brought a great human work about hope, exile and belonging. Tales of Illness and Healing, by Nabil Elkot Professor of Psychiatry Nabil Elkot presents the experiences he has accumulated during thirty years of working in the field of psychological aid and specialized psychotherapy. With one out of every four people suffering from a psychological disorder, many are in need of scientifically understanding what mental illness truly is in order to help themselves or a friend. This book has something for everyone: for those who suffer from mental disorders and for those who do not. It helps them understand and dissect the nature of some of the most common psychological disorders in a simple and organized manner, and explains what the best ways to deal and coexist with them are alongside how to prevent them The Whole-Brain Child, by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson With graceful language and a fluid writing style, this book presents 12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind. It is based on scientific foundations regarding the nature of the brain and nervous system, and aims to help promote healthy brain development leading to calmer and happier children. This book aims to teach parenting through the use of the left and right brain, teaching them to work together and help our children thrive. My Book, by Amr Moussa Amr Moussa’s memoir reveals the ins and outs of the closed sessions and rooms that he witnessed firsthand during his presidency of the Arab League and his experiences as an influential actor among decision-makers in the Arab world and the Middle East region. Think Like a Monk, by Jay Shetty Jay Shetty, a writer and former monk, talks about how his time as a monk can help others unleash their potential. He turns abstract lessons into tips and exercises that we can all apply to reduce the amount of stress we have and strengthen our relationships. It is a book that will help you clear your mind of all negative thoughts and wash away bad habits from your life. Good Reasons for Bad Feelings, by Randolph M. Nesse This is a book that aims to answer one question: “Why do I feel bad?” Nesse, one of the founders of the field of evolutionary medicine, uses his decades of experience as a psychiatrist to provide a new framework for understanding mental illness. In this book, the author explains why natural selection has traits that make us vulnerable to disease, and proposes a new theory of how emotions have evolved to help us deal with the various opportunities and threats around us.
Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud ranked 44th in the “100 Most Handsome Faces” video organized by TC Candler. Massoud was both the only Egyptian and Arab star to make the final list, which was uploaded on Monday. Massoud, the lead of Disney’s “Aladdin” (2019), won the Breakthrough Talent category at the GQ Middle East Men of the Year Awards last year. The rising star’s career also includes “What Happens Next” (2011), “Let’s Rap” (2015), “Ordinary Days” (2017) and “Run This Town” (2019). He was born in Cairo to Egyptian Coptic Christian parents, later emigrating to Canada and then Los Angeles. Egyptian actress Yasmine Sabri was nominated for the TC Chandler’s companion list of the “100 Most Beautiful Faces” but did not make the cut. The list featured dozens of Hollywood and Bollywood stars, sports stars, and beauty queens from around the world. Sabri was also the only Arab artist featured in 2017 and 2018.
Spokesperson for the Egyptian Culture Ministry Mohamed Mounir said that the Cairo Opera House’s Christmas concerts will continue as scheduled even amid the surge in infections with COVID-19. Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm on Monday, Mounir said that the concerts will be held in the opera house’s Grand Theater, Small Hall, al-Gomhoreya Theater, and Sayed Darwish theater at a maximum capacity of 50 percent. The Cairo Symphony Orchestra will also perform two consecutive concerts at the Grand Theater on December 30 and 31 led by Maestro Ahmed al-Saedi, with the participation of the soprano Eman Mostafa, the mezzo soprano Jolie Faizy, tenor Amr Medhat, bass Reda al-Wakil, with the “A Cappella Choir” leading and coach Maya Giveneria. Christmas concerts at Gomhoreya Theater include a concert on the great musician Mohamed al-Mougy on December 31, with the participation of the Arab National Music Band and includes some of the most beautiful works of Mougy. On the stage of the Institute of Arab Music, a concert by singer Noha Hafez will be held on December 31. Christmas opera concerts include Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s beloved masterpiece “The Nutcracker” on December 29, led by Maestro Ahmed Farag, who presents the masterpiece of the international Russian composer Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker ballet has become an enduring part of holiday celebrations thanks to its charming and fantastical tale of the way love can shape people’s lives.
It would be impossible to think about Arab cinema in 2010-2020 without taking into account the decade’s political and economic circumstances. The global economy had barely survived the crisis of 2008-2009 when the Arab Spring broke out, leading to a decline in commercial film production even as the revolutionary euphoria pushed not only filmmakers but also producers and funders to feature the events in question. This in turn led to wider participation in festivals worldwide, generating unprecedented benefits for Arab cinema. In the first couple of years after the start of the Arab Spring, low- to medium-quality films on the topic were produced. In 2011, 10 Egyptian filmmakers (Yousry Nasrallah, Sherif Arafa, Kamla Abu Zikri, Ahmad Abdallah, Mohamed Ali, Marwan Hamed, Khaled Marei, Mariam Abu Ouf, Ahmed Alaa and Sherif Al-Bendary) contributed a piece each to Tamantashr Youm (18 Days). Most were unoriginal and clichéd but the film, which premiered in the special screening section of Cannes Film Festival, was very effectively self-produced by its makers and was made on almost no budget. In 2012, few of the films about the revolution were as satisfying as they might be. Yousry Nasrallah’s Baad Al-Mawkeaa (After the Battle), which premiered at the official competition of the Cannes Film Festival and thereby met the highest standards, was thought by many to defend the thugs who attacked protesters in the Battle of the Camel on 2 February 2011. Ibrahim Al-Batout’s Al-Sheita Elli Fat (Winter of Discontent), starring Amr Waked and Farah Youssef, premiered in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival and won the best actor award at the Dubai International Film Festival. The filmmaker focuses on police brutality, the revolution’s principal trigger. It too was not very well received. Meanwhile, in Tunisia, veteran filmmaker Nouri Bouzid’s Ma’nmoutech (Hidden Beauties) — one of the earliest productions on the Tunisian revolution — was average and full of clichés but had the courage to criticise political Islam and promote secularism. It premiered in the official competition of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.In later years there appeared more mature productions: Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab’s 2016 Eshtebak (Clash) premiered in Canne’s Un Certain Regard competition and won the silver Tanit (Tanit d’Argent) for best cinematography and best editing at Carthage Film Festival as well as the Horus Award for best director at Cairo International Film Festival in 2017. The characters and the dialogue were unoriginal, but there was skill in creating a whole drama within the confined space of a police vehicle after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood. Premiering at the Berlinale in 2016, Tamer Al-Said’s Akher Ayam Al-Madina (In the Last Days of the City) was one of a handful of good films about the Egyptian revolution. Al-Said, who also wrote it, tells the story of a documentary filmmaker trying to finish a film about his late father, his dying mother and his friends. Through him, downtown Cairo in the last two years of the Mubarak regime is fully revealed. Though widely admired, the film has never been screened in Egypt.In Tunisia, the 2016 Inhebek Hedi (Hedi), directed by Mohamed Ben Attia, won best first feature and best actor (Majd Mastoura) at the Berlinale, among many others. The story doesn’t include the revolution as such, merely alluding to the economic crisis that faced Tunisia after 2011. It portrays the psychological trauma that the protagonist suffers due to an authoritarian mother. Ben Attia made his second feature narrative film Weldi (Dear Son), about a Tunisian man looking for his son who travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State in 2018. The film was selected in some film festivals and won the best actor award (Mohamed Dhrif) at El Gouna Film Festival. In 2017, the Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Bein Hania’s Aala Kaf Ifrit (Beauty and the Dogs) premiered in the Un Certain Regard competition at Cannes and won the Special Jury Prize at the Valladolid International Film Festival. The importance of the film lies in its directorial technique as the filmmaker tells the story in 10 scenes made up of a single shot. The film portrays a young girl’s experience with the aggression and brutality of the Tunisian police. Like Ben Attia, Ben Hania was keen on making a film about the Syrian crisis and in 2020 her second narrative feature The Man Who Sold His Skin turned out to have nothing to do with Tunisia. Rather, it is the story of a Syrian young man who agrees to let a Belgian artist use his back as a canvas for a new project. The film premiered in the Orizzonti competition at the Venice Film Festival where it won the best actor award (Yahya Mahayni). It also received the best Arabic film award at El Gouna Film Festival.Meanwhile, only a handful of Syrian filmmakers made narrative features about the situation in Syria. One of them is Soudade Kaadan who made Yom Adaatou Zouli (The Day I Lost My Shadow) in 2018, mixing realism with fantasy to portray a mother’s trip into a war zone in search of a gas cylinder for her home. Also screened in the Orizzonti competition, it won the Lion of the Future (Luigi De Laurentiis) Award. On 11 April 2019, the Sudanese president was removed from his post by the Sudanese Armed Forces after many months of mass protests. The Sudanese Revolution led to the selection of the Sudanese narrative feature Satamuto Fil Eshreen (You Will Die at 20), directed by Amjad Abu Alala for the Venice Days, where it too won the Lion of the Future in 2019. Among other awards, it also received the Golden Star at El Gouna Film Festival and the best screenplay award at the Carthage Film Festival. The film doesn’t include the Sudanese Revolution in its drama. It is the story of a young man cursed at birth by the prophecy of the village’s holy man. This decade saw a rise in low-budget films made by younger filmmakers not necessarily dealing with anything political. Hala Lotfi’s Al-Khoroug Lel-Nahar (Coming Forth By Day) won the best director award in the New Horizons Competition at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in 2012, and a Special Mention for Cinematography at Thessaloniki Film Festival in 2013. The filmmaker’s goal was to illustrate how people lived with death as she depicted the daily routine of a young girl and her mother taking care of the father who has a brain stroke. Ahmed Fawzi Saleh’s Ward Masmoum (Poisonous Roses) premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and won Salah Abu Seif (Special Jury) Award at the Cairo International Film Festival, where it screened in the Arab Cinema Horizons section. The filmmaker tells the story of a young girl and her brother living in the tanneries of Cairo. The girl is obsessed with her brother, the boy dreams of leaving the country. Another important event of the decade is that of the Egyptian film selected in the competition of Cannes Film Festival six years after Nasrallah’s After The Battle: Abu Bakr Shawky’s Yomeddine. The film won the François Chalais Award at Cannes 2018 and the Silver Tanit at Carthage Film Festival, among other awards. Shawky made a road film illustrating some details of Egypt as he follows a Coptic man with leprosy who leaves the leper colony where he spent most of his life in search of his family in Upper Egypt. In 2018, the Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki won the Jury Prize at Canne’s official competition for Capharnaüm, which was also nominated for an Academy Award for best film in a foreign language. The filmmaker focuses on a marginalised slum area in Lebanon where a 12-year-old child with an incredibly high IQ struggles to survive. Although on the political scene the Palestinian cause has not been in the foreground as all kinds of horrors overtook Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, Palestinian filmmakers continued to make masterpieces. Hany Abu Assad’s Omar, which won the Special Jury Award when in the Un Certain Regard competition in 2013 and was nominated for an Academy Award, is about a young freedom fighter called Omar (Adam Bakri) who is involved in an attack on an Israeli military base — only to be betrayed by friend as well as foe. Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven won the FIPRESCI Prize and the Jury’s Special Mention at Cannes in 2019. The filmmaker had won the Special Jury Prize in 2002 for Yadon Ilaheyya (Divine Intervention), among other prestigious awards. As in most of his films, Suleiman portrays himself using humour and sarcasm to depict his hometown of Nazareth as he shows positive reactions from people all around the world when they find out where he is from, but goes on to show how they offer him no help at all. One of the most prestigious awards that an Egyptian or Arab film received this year was a Palme d’Or for the short film 16 (I Am Afraid to Forget Your Face) directed by Sameh Alaa. Such triumphs should affect art house cinema production, encouraging producers from all around the world to invest in the Arab cinema not only to highlight a political situation, but to create art.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research s spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar announced Saturday that COVID-19 infection rates among children in Egypt is no more than ten percent of all coronavirus infections in Egypt. This comes according to the latest study by the ministry, which specified the rate of child infections at 5-10 percent of the total. During a phone interview with “Kalema Akhera” host Lamis al-Hadidi, Abdel-Ghaffar said that beds have been allocated to isolate children in designated hospitals or in various children s departments within the university hospitals. He explained that these special isolation sections are a necessary measure as many of these children suffer from chronic illnesses and are therefore especially vulnerable to infection. Children without chronic diseases that only have mild symptoms do not need to be isolated, he added. There are around 10 children only hospitals affiliated to university hospitals, Abdel-Ghaffar said, such as Abu al-Rish Hospital. All university hospitals also have departments specifically for treating children. Meanwhile, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar on Saturday said that all announced coronavirus infections are for cases that have only been reported in hospitals. During a phone-in with Ahmed Moussa s TV show “Ala Massoulity” (By My Responsibility), he explained that this is the case worldwide as well and that the actual count is likely far greater than 10 times the announced figures. The minister said that the rate of bed occupancy in university isolation hospitals ranges between 60 percent and 65 percent, with ventilators occupancy between 15 percent and 18 percent.
Amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Egypt s Hurghada International Airport reported on Wednesday the highest operating rate for international flights since the onset of the pandemic in March, according to airport sources. Wednesday witnessed 25 inbound international flights, most of which were from Ukraine, Britain, Poland, Germany, Moldova, and Switzerland. The flights carried a total of 2500 tourists of various nationalities. The airport also received two domestic flights and five private flights. Meanwhile, a major Polish tourism company announced that the amount of Hurghada-Poland flights has increased to five per week since December 20, as hundreds of Polish tourists decided to spend the Christmas and New Year holidays at Red Sea resorts. Tourism sources in the Red Sea confirmed that Marsa Alam International Airport has received 12 flights during the past days, including six flights from Poland, three from the Czech Republic, two flights from Ukraine, and one from Switzerland. Since the onset of the the world s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, travel bans and fears of traveling have cause massive unemployment in Egypt s tourism industry. Many resorts have entirely suspended their operations, as they are unable to pay their employees. In response to the ailing sector, Egypt s Ministry of Tourism launched a campaign to certify that establishments are following the government-mandated precautionary measures to protect against the virus. The campaign includes inspections and the formation of follow-up committees. While most establishments have been given the green light to operate, the precautionary measures have significantly cut profits. Egypt reported 911 new coronavirus cases and 42 virus-related deaths on Wednesday. The country has cancelled all New Year s Eve celebrations in light of the severe uptick in cases.
The Aswan International Women Film Festival (AIWFF) will see honoring ceremonies for star actress Donia Samir Ghanem at its fifth edition; scheduled to take place from 20 to 26 February, in the great historic Upper Egyptian city of Aswan. "She is one of the most important talents in Egyptian cinema now with her many acclaimed films that attracted viewers," stated the AIWFF Head Scriptwriter Mohamed Abdel-Khaleq on Tuesday. The elder daughter of the hugely popular acting couple; Samir Ghanem and Dalal Abdel-Aziz, Donia has in recent years, proved excellent talent in such an outstanding variety of roles in various genres in both cinema and TV, as well as singing a collection of popular songs. The 1985-born powerfully shot to fame through a memorable appearance as a teenager in her Nada role, the daughter of Yehia El-Fakharany and Abdel-Aziz in 2001 s TV hit Lel-A adala Wogoh Kathierah leaving a remark on TV with successive hits in a short time that paved her way to cinema. She was quickly put on the frontline to share the lead with some of the biggest cinema stars in comedy/romance hits like Yana Ya Khalty with Mohamed Henedy, X-Large and Laff W-Dawaran with Ahmed Helmy, 365 Youm Sa ada with Ahmed Ezz, at the same time proving her talent in tragedy and in distinguished appearances like Cabaret and El-Farah of Sameh Abdel-Aziz. Donia Samir Ghanem s pairing with Ahmed Mekky introduced some of the two stars most important comedy films; Teer Enta and La Taraga Wala Esteslam , in addition to dominating multiple TV seasons with the El-Kebeer Awi series. After Mekky s era, Donia Samir Ghanem confirmed her place among the most favored TV stars, especially during Ramadan season, enjoying a bigger creative space in various entertainment talents like singing and dancing in successive smash hits; Lahfa, Nelly W-Sherehan, Fil Lala Land and Badal El-Hdaoutah Talata . Celebrating younger-generation star actresses of Egyptian cinema is one of the main initiatives of the festival, explains writer Hassan Abou El-Ela who manages the event. Among the honorees unveiled earlier for the 2021 edition is Elham Shahin, the festivals 2017 honorary president, who won the Best Actress Award at the Cairo International Film Festival earlier this month for her leading role in Amir Ramses Curfew that is currently in theaters. A month before Egypt s temporal lockdown last spring, the fourth edition of the AIWFF hosted many activities as 31 films from 29 countries screened and competed in the two categories usually juried by a majority of prestigious women filmmakers and experts. The AIWFF, who held two international premieres in 2020, is catching more attention from the Aswan audience year after year by the screenings and the various filmmaking workshops with most of feature, short and documentary films of various languages that have been subtitled into Arabic to maintain its fan-base turnout. Backed by the culture and tourism ministers as well as the National Council of Women and the cinema syndicate, the Aswan Film Festival is the first Egyptian film festival specialised in workshops for youth in Aswan, where dozens of locals are trained in various programmes.
The Cairo Opera Ballet Company, accompanied by the Cairo Opera Orchestra, will present starting Wednesday Russian composer Tchaikovsky’s beloved masterpiece “The Nutcracker”, starting from Wednesday December 23 to Tuesday December 29. Directed by Armenia Kamel and led by Maestro Nayer Nagy, the event comes as part of the Opera House’s New Years and Christmas celebrations and will be held at six concerts starting from eight pm at the Grand Theater. The ballet also features interior design by Mohamed al-Gharabawi, lighting design by Yasser Shaalan, and graphics by Mohamed Abdel Razzak. The Nutcracker ballet has become an enduring part of holiday celebrations thanks to its charming and fantastical tale of the way love can shape people’s lives. Through the use of dazzling artistry and optical illusions, the ballet tells the story of a little girl named Clara on Christmas Eve who is gifted a Nutcracker doll which she cherishes. Unfortunately her brother breaks the doll, leaving Clara heartbroken until she falls asleep and has a dream where the Nutcracker comes back to life and transforms into a handsome prince, sending her on a series of fantastical adventures. The Nutcracker ballet was written by Tchaikovsky in 1891, inspired by a story from French writer Alexandre Dumas who in turn borrowed it from Ernst Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and Mouse King”. It officially debuted on 1892 at the Imperial Opera House in Saint Petersburg. The ballet is also considered one of the most important classical performances of the Cairo Opera Ballet Company, who presented it for the first time at the Grand Theater in 1993. Since then the ballet has been presented every December to celebrate the New Year with the same clothes, costumes and music in order to preserve its timeless atmosphere.
On 14 December, Egypt s renowned filmmaker Khairy Beshara held a masterclass at Mall of Arabia, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The masterclass was accompanied by a screening of Beshara s key works, which have been restored by the Red Sea Festival Foundation, namely The Collar and the Bracelet (1986), Bitter Day, Sweet Day (1988), Ice Cream in Gleam (1992), Abracadabra America (1993), Traffic Light (1995). This is the first time that restored works by the Egyptian filmmaker are shown on the big screen in Saudi Arabia. The festival also released a new biography on Beshara, edited by film critic Mohammed Sayyed Abdel-Raheem, featuring never before seen archival images. The inaugural edition of the Red Sea Festival was scheduled to take place in March 2020, but due to the pandemic it was postponed. The management has decided that the festival s first edition will only feature a few events from its original schedule under the Label Edition name. The festival announced that its second edition will take place in March 2021. The festival describes Beshara as "one of the key proponents of Neo-Realism in Egypt and the Arab World in the 1980s, and the originator of the 1990s youthful cinema and folk fantasy films." Born in 1947 and a graduate of the Egyptian Higher Institute of Cinema (1976) and the Film Institute in Poland (where he was on a two-year fellowship), he launched his career with several documentaries – Tank Hunter (1974), The Village Doctor (1975), Illumination (1977), The Talk of the Rocks (1978), and Surpassing Despair (1980), among others – before moving on to feature narrative movies. The latter include films screened in Jeddah as well as Bloody Destinies (1982, an Egyptian-Algerian co-production); America Abracadabra (America Shika Bika, 1993); Nutshell (1995); A Night on The Moon (2008), which is a digital film transferred to 35mm; and Moondog (2012). Beshara is one of the first Egyptian and Arab directors to venture into digital filmmaking in the late 1990s. The filmmaker also has numerous television series under his belt: Habiba s Heart (2005), Zaat (Self, 2012, episodes 17 to 30), The People of Alexandria (2014), The Flood (2017), and Karma s Curse (2018), among others.Beshara continues to be active on the international scene, often joining renowned festivals. Most recently, the Egyptian filmmaker headed the jury panel of the 24th International Film Festival of Kerala, India (6-13 December 2019). "Khairy Beshara is considered one of the main pillars of Egyptian cinema. His work has inspired countless directors of the new generation," says festival director Mahmoud Sabbagh. "Beshara s films portray deep human meanings and adopt bold and original techniques. With this celebration, we aim to express our gratitude towards Khairy Beshara for his incredible body of work, and to honour Egyptian cinema and its pioneering work." The Red Sea International Film Festival is organised by the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation, being the first Saudi independent non-profit organisation with an official mandate to promote film culture. Among the foundation s aims is to shed light on Saudi cinema, promoting international cinema to the local audiences, and supporting Saudi and international filmmakers while nurturing the cultural scene.
Luxor on Monday will celebrate the alignment of the sun with the statue of the God Amun at the Karnak temple. The astronomical event will be celebrated with the attendance of executive leaders, archaeologists, astronomers, Egyptology scholars, tourism culture and antiquities officials, tour guides, hundreds of tourists of various nationalities, and local and foreign media. The sun s alignment over the temples of Karnak is an important event exploited by the governorate to stimulate tourism, attract tourists, add to Egyptian tourism agenda and introduce ancient civilization to the world. Luxor witnesses nine astronomical phenomena – a lunar phenomenon and eight solar phenomena including the sun alignment on the Habu temples, the temple of Isis and the temples of Karnak, which will see its most prominent sun alignment at the sanctum of the temple of Amun in December 20.
Egyptian Director Mayye Zayed was the star of the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival scooping three awards with her first feature film Lift Like a Girl. The documentary won the Bronze Pyramid Award for Best First or Second Work, Youssef Cherif Rizkallah Award (Audience Award) and ISIS Award for best Egyptian film to show the economic and social emancipation of women. Lift Like a Girl talks about women’s weightlifting community that trains in the streets of Al-Wardian neighbourhood in Alexandria. They are guided by Captain Nahla Ramadan, the former world champion who started as a trainee in the same place twenty-five years ago with her father Captain Ramadan. In 2003, Nahla Ramadan won three gold medals at the World Junior Weightlifting Grand Prix championship in Budapest, and became the game s top-ranked athlete, breaking two world records in the process. This is an unprecedented accomplishment for an Egyptian athlete. “Like many Egyptians I was really impressed by Nahla’s accomplishments, she was a normal girl trained on the street and made this achievement for Egypt, I was 13-years-old at that time,” the film’s director Mayye Zayed tells Ahram Online. “The Image of Nahla got stuck in my mind… I got even more impressed when I met Captain Ramadan in 2014 and found out that he is still training girls at the streets of Al-Wardian, creating new generations of weightlifting Olympic champions," Zayed added.The young filmmaker decided to make a film about him and his girls, looking for the new champion among them. “When we started shooting six years ago we were shooting with all the girls including the youngest one Asmaa Ramadan ‘Zebiba’. At the time I felt that she should be the film’s protagonist so I decided to track her journey until she becomes an athletic champion.” As Zayed clarifies, “Asmaa Ramadan won three golden medals at the African championship in 2018. She was supposed to participate in the Olympic competition in Tokyo next year but the Egyptian weightlifting team was suspended for two years. Asmaa is using this time to exercise hard to be ready for the next step, trained by Captain Nahla Ramadan after captain Ramadan passed away.” The director expresses her sadness that in spite of all the efforts of captain Ramadan, the team does not gain much attention of the official parties. The trainers need a more suitable place to train weightlifting champions. “I wish my film could help them and raise awareness. I believe in the cinema effect; I think a film is more powerful than an article, because it gives you a closer look on the characters’ lives. You get to know them better. I wish we had more films about inspiring characters in the society like Asmaa’s, and that we knew more about people like Captain Nahla and Captain Ramadan. We have many champions in Egypt especially in individual sports who have made many great achievements and deserve to be well presented,” Zayed says.The young director pointed that she is going to use her film Lift Like a Girl in a campaign to encourage teenagers to pursue their dreams even if those dreams are not common for the society at large, as is the case with women and girls choosing weightlifting as their sport. “We will try to screen the film at schools and youth clubs for children and teenagers who can’t go to a festival or to cinema theaters. They could watch it and maybe get inspired by Asmaa’s story. I want to show them how much sports could be useful in their lives, and what girls could do and achieve despite of all the obstacles they face in the society. Lift Like a Girl can be an inspiring story for girls to dream about.” Asmaa, nicknamed Zebiba, was the youngest girl to be trained by Captain Ramadan before his passing away. She was also very close to him, and used to call him, “My Coach, My father, My friend.” When talking to Ahram Online, Asmaa added that “I used to spend all my day training with Captain Ramadan. It was so hard for me to deal with his death, it took me some time. Captain Esmat Mansour is my cousin and she is the one who took me there for the first time. I loved the idea of being a weightlifting champion like her and captain Nahla, and I became fond of captain Ramadan.” Asmaa underlined how happy and touched she was with the film and its reception. “There was a lot of interaction from the audience during the Cairo International Film Festival’s screening of Lift Like a Girl. It was like watching a memory tape: I got to see my life with captain Ramadan again. I wish that this film could help in achieving his big dream of having a suitable place for girls to exercise weightlifting, because he fought for this dream for more than 25 years,” she comments. Prior to its release in Egypt and the awards it scooped at the CIFF, the film won the Golden Dove for Best Film in the German Competition, Long Film category, at the 63rd edition of the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, in Germany, which took place between 26 October and 1 November. The feature-length documentary Lift Like a Girl had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (10-19 September).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged Europeans to wear masks during family gatherings at Christmas. It said Europe was at "high risk" of a new wave of coronavirus infections in the early part of 2021, as transmission of the virus remained high. Countries across the continent have been registering thousands of daily cases and hundreds of deaths. Germany was among countries tightening restrictions on Wednesday, closing schools and non-essential businesses. Meanwhile European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the first Covid vaccine would be authorised for use within a week. Ms von der Leyen told the European Parliament the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine - developed in Germany - would be rolled out for the bloc immediately, more than a week earlier than originally envisaged. What does the WHO say? A statement from the WHO s European regional office said that the massive increase in gatherings of families and friends across Europe during the winter holiday season brought a significant risk of increased Covid-19 transmission. It urged individuals, families and communities to play their part to prevent another resurgence of cases. Family gatherings should be held outside if possible, and if indoors participants should wear masks and practice social distancing, it said. "It may feel awkward to wear masks and practise physical distancing when around friends and family, but doing so contributes significantly to ensuring that everyone remains safe and healthy," the WHO added. "Vulnerable people and older friends or relatives may find it very difficult to ask loved ones to stay away physically, regardless of the anxieties or concerns they may have. Consider what others may be feeling and the difficult decisions they will be facing." The statement also urges people to avoid crowded public transport, and suggests that countries with ski resorts take steps to adapt them to avoid crowding during the skiing season. What are Germany s new measures, and why now? Only essential businesses such as supermarkets and banks will be allowed to remain open in the new lockdown in Germany, which will be in place until 10 January. Christmas will see a slight easing, with one household allowed to host up to four close family members. Restaurants, bars and leisure centres have been shut since November and some areas of the country had imposed their own lockdowns. Hair salons are among the businesses which must close, while drinking alcohol in public places, such as at popular mulled wine stalls, is forbidden. Companies are being urged to allow employees to work from home. The 952 new fatalities and 27,728 cases announced on Wednesday are a new peak for Germany s pandemic, but may cover numbers that were not included in previous days statistics. Lothar Wieler, head of Germany s Robert Koch Institute, which is overseeing the Covid-19 response, said the situation was "more serious than it has ever been". Deutsche Welle reported that while cases in the younger population were falling, they were still rising among older people who were more likely to suffer more serious problems from the virus. Numbers in intensive care are reported to have reached critical levels. Announcing the new measures over the weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the "lockdown light" begun in November had not done enough to bring the virus under control. The figures are particularly shocking, as during the early months of the pandemic Germany was more successful than many other European countries in its handling of the crisis. What s gone wrong for the country that came so successfully through the first wave of the pandemic? Some blame Germany s regional leaders who, until now, have dithered, bickered and resisted Chancellor Merkel s calls for a tougher nationwide response. And Prof Iris Pigeot, director of the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, says that "people do not follow all the regulations that they re told. We had to reduce our contacts by about 75% but I think that didn t work". She s concerned. "New Year s Eve and Christmas could be a complete nightmare with increasing numbers, increasing numbers of deaths." Elsewhere in Europe Officials in Italy say the country is heading for its worst annual death toll since World War Two. Health advisers say the country, which has recorded the highest number of deaths in Europe, should lock down major cities over the Christmas period France replaces its second national lockdown with a curfew from 20:00 to 06:00. People will not be allowed out of the house during those hours without an authorisation form. Bars and restaurants will remain closed until at least 20 January Spain s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has described a recent rise in infections there as "worrying", and said the government may need to "toughen up" restrictions for the Christmas holiday The Netherlands is currently under a five-week lockdown, the strictest set of measures announced in the country since the pandemic began. Restrictions will be eased slightly for three days over Christmas In the UK, London enters England s highest tier of lockdown rules on Wednesday. Pubs and restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery, and indoor entertainment venues must remain shut Lithuania goes into lockdown, with a ban on non-essential movement between towns. Contact between separate households is also banned Austria is to set out its plans for Christmas, including an extension of the rules on mask-wearing indoors and limits on meetings between households Denmark is extending its "partial lockdown" across the whole country, with venues like restaurants and sports centres closed in all areas
The National Arabic Music Ensemble, conducted by Hazem El-Kassabgy, will hold a concert at the grand hall of the Cairo Opera House on Thursday 17 December in honour of Farid El-Atrash, marking the 46th year since the great musician s death. The repertoire includes some of Farid El-Atrash’s classics, such as Lahn El-Kholoud, Alby Wmoftahouh, Ahebbak Yany, Matoulch Lehad, Ya Sa a, Fou Ghosnik ya Lamounah and many other songs performed by the ensemble singers, who include Ibrahim Ramadan, Amira Said, Mohamed Tarek, Sara Zaki, Mohsen Ibrahim, Reem Kamal and Walid Heidar. Besides dozens of classical films, the Syrian icon died on 26 December 1974 at the age of 64, leaving behind a significant musical legacy that earned him the title of "King of the Oud." El-Atrash composed music to the lyrics of legendary poets in many songs that he either sang himself or wrote for renowned singers like Sabah, Noor El-Hoda, Shadia and Moharam Fouad. December is witnessing a variety of cultural and entertainment activities in different venues in many Egyptian cities under strict safety measures against the coronavirus.
This week, the critically-acclaimed theatre comedy show Déjà vu by Sufi Performing Arts Troupe is taking back the stage of Al-Hanager Theatre until Sunnday. "We are introducing a situation comedy for everybody from any segment [of society]… discussing the dilemma of getting involved in solving the issues of other people," director Ahmed Fouad told Ahram Online, adding that the show took him over a year to adapt from its original script by his Swiss friend Olivier Chachyari. A protagonist who finds himself engaged in solving people s problems is a plot to which anyone could relate. Add to this a cast that has grabbed viewers’ attention, attracting dozens of artists and experts since its early November premier. The cast includes Tamer Nabil, Rahma Ahmed, Basma Maher, Ahmed Elsalakawy and Mohamed Youssef, all of whom are known for appearing in many TV, cinema and theatre hits. "From issues of the local neighbourhood to global problems, we have no choice but to be involved somehow," said the renowned director. The crew, which spent over six months preparing, also includes Ahmed Amin, who designed the stage décor, stylist Marwa Ouda and music producer Mohamed Abdallah. The Déjà vu experience is at the Cairo Opera House s Hanager Theatre this week for a $2 ticket that you can book before 7pm.
Safari and adventure trips are booming at the Hurghada desert in the Red Sea Governorate, with adventurers and desert lovers alike coming in to experience the mountains for themselves. Tourists poured in to celebrate International Mountain Day, held annually on December 11, as the Red Sea mountains experience lower temperatures with the advent of the winter season. Tourists eager to spend a day at the mountains amidst Bedouin life have flocked to the area to taste adventure and go on mountain climbing trips. Events for locals and foreign tourists alike include parties celebrating art and Bedouin heritage, riding camels and horses, and wearing Bedouin clothes to live out details of their lives. And the village of Um al-Huwaitat in Safaga desert is hosting the Annual Scout Assessment Camp for the Red Sea school teams for Cubs, Advance Scouts and Rangers, to choose the governorate s best scouting team for 2020. Dozens of students are participating in the camp, representing eight schools from various educational levels in the Red Sea governorate. The governorate is the first in Egypt to transfer the assessment camp from within the school yards to the desert s open area.
The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) has been nominated British-Egyptian artist Amir al-Masry for its Best Actor award, after his exceptional performance in the British film “LIMBO”. Masry is competing for the award alongside veteran star Anthony Hopkins, Cosmo Jarvis, Sobet Dressio, and Riz Ahmed. Masry, who has played in 24 films since 2013, appeared on the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) s list of 2020 s best emerging talents, making him the first Egyptian star to join the list. Masry s nomination for the “Best Actor” award coincides with the Arab premiere of “LIMBO” at the Cairo International Film Festival Thursday at 4:30 pm, as the film competes in the festival s international competition. Directed by Ben Sharrock, “LIMBO” achieved much critical acclaim, and landed a spot in major international film festivals, including the Toronto Film Festival and the Macao Film Festival, where it won “Best Film”. The film also won the Youth Jury Prize from the San Sebastian Film Festival. Variety magazine wrote that Masry “was able to convey layers of shock behind his character, to produce a balanced film between fun and anger.” “The star Amir al-Masry, a rising British-Egyptian talent, gave a calm, emotional performance in the character of Omar in the movie,” the Hollywood Reporter wrote. The Guardian reported that Masry s performance “was able to transmit feelings of fear and hesitation.” “LIMBO” follows Omar, a young musician with a promising future, as he moves away from his family in Syria to a Scottish island, where he waits for the processing of his asylum application.
Legendary director and award-winning filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky, whose latest film Dear Comrades screened at the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival (2-10 December), held a masterclass titled Natural Rebel on Monday 7 December as part of the Cairo Industry Days programme. The masterclass was held through the online platform Zoom. Konchalovsky began by talking about his childhood in Moscow and his upbringing in an artistic family. He said that at first, his mother wanted him to be a pianist, but he did not like it, preferring to study filmmaking instead and pursing music as a career. However, there is minimal use of music in his films. "Music isn’t something cinema can exist without, but a filmmaker should be careful when and how he is going to use it," he commented. Konchalovsky also spoke about his collaboration with renowned Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky on Ivan’s Childhood and Andrei Rublev. He said that Tarkovsky was more of a director than a writer, while Konchalovsky was the opposite, so they completed each other in a way. Both of them were so young and enthusiastic, and in that sense, making films was much easier because they were not burdened by knowledge. On his decision to tackle real events in his films, Konchalovsky said that art is not like journalism, which covers contemporary and real-life events. "Art is more concerned with imagination and fantasy, and that’s why I think that while commercial cinema is entertaining, it isn’t real art, because it lacks that sense of imagination, that there is something beyond the obvious image." The director was also asked about his experience working in Hollywood on the film Tango and Cash and whether he got into a clash with Silvester Stallone. He replied that "Stallone had nothing to do with what happened, in fact, he was very obedient and professional, but the problem was with the studio which didn’t like his ending, so I decided to fire him when he refused to change it." "Storytelling is an important component of the film. I am not trying to identify with anyone, or tell something special, or try to analyse or reflect on the nature between an artist and society. I m just telling human stories. And the more human they are, the more universal." On his opinion on international film festivals gender parity pledges, he said that making films has nothing to do with gender; men can make horrible movies and vice versa, so dictating a certain representation of films made by women in a festival is not rational and has nothing to do with art. Konchalovsky describes his latest film Dear Comrades as a modern adaptation of Sophocles’s Antigone, where hat his heroine Lyuda, just like Antigone, rebels against the regime in order to expose the shooting of a workers demonstration by order of the Government Commission. On whether he ever felt frustrated about not winning an Oscar, he said, "It’s always nice to get a present, to have films appreciated by professionals. But I don t like the competitive aspect of the Oscars where there is a number of nominees and only one of them will win the prize." Konchalovsky concluded with advice for young filmmakers, saying that there is no recipe for making a good film. "A filmmaker should have a viewpoint on everything in life and should be honest and truthful regarding the representation of that viewpoint in his films."
Cairo International Film Festival’s “Cinema of Tomorrow” competition will show a series of short films on Monday at 3:30 pm in Cairo Opera House’s Al-Hanager Theater. Monday’s program includes 5 films: the Tunisian-French documentary “I Bite My Tongue” directed by Nina Khada, the Venezuelan film “The Red Vortex” directed by Lorena Colmenares, and the documentary “So We Wait” directed by Ji Yun Park, from the Kingdom United and South Korea. The Egyptian short film “Sunday at Five” directed by Sherif el-Bendary will be shown in its first screening in the Middle East and North Africa. The festival will screen other films on Monday, such as the Egyptian film “Wahda Keda”, directed by Marwan Nabil and the American film “Nomadland” in its first screening in the Middle East and North Africa. “Nomadland” won two of the most prominent awards in 2020: “The Golden Lion” from Venice’s film festival, and “People’s Choice” from Toronto’s film festival. Oscar winner Frances McDormand stars in the film, which follows a woman who decides to spend her life traveling through the American West during the Great Depression. The movie will be screened in the official section out of the competition. The Egyptian film “Curfew”, directed by Amir Ramses, will also be shown again at 6:30 pm in December 8, at the WE Theater. “Curfew” is in the festival’s international competition. The film takes place on a night in the fall of 2013 during the curfew period in Egypt. A woman (Faten) gets out of prison after 20 years and confronts her daughter (Laila). “Curfew” is written and directed by Amir Ramses, starring artists Elham Shaheen, Amina Khalil, Ahmed Magdy, Arifa Abdel Rasoul and Mahmoud al-Laithy, with the participation of the Palestinian artist Kamel Al-Basha. The film witnesses a special appearance by the director Khairy Bishara and the artist Ahmed Hatem, and is produced by Safi El Din Mahmoud, Baho Bakhsh, Sally Wali, Moataz Abdel Wahab, and Sherif Fathy.
Lebanese star singer Hiba Tawaji will be performing at Hyde Park New Cairo on 18 December, accompanied by The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra of renowned musical director Oussama Rahbani and conducted by Hany Hassan. "Let s break the silence of 2020 together and end it with music," stated Tawaji, of Sallem Ala Masr , urging her Egyptian fans to join in. Tickets costing between EGP 600 and EGP 2,000 are currently available for the event, which marks the first performance by Tawaji in Egypt since the pandemic erupted. The actress and director starred a number of films in addition to a series of musicals, with dozens of performances to her name throughout the Arab world and beyond. Tawaji was the first female singer to ever perform publicly in Saudi Arabia. Oussama, one of the most influential composers in the Middle East, is the son of Lebanese musician and poet Mansour Rahbani. The duo has released three albums: Bidayi wala Nihayi (2011), Ya Habibi (2014), and Hiba Tawaji 30 (2017), in addition to the Christmas album Hallelujah (2017). The same crew performed at the marquee in 2019 and at Taj city in 2018. All cultural public activities are being held amid safety measures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Egypt is preparing to produce a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine once verification is complete, assistant Health Minister Noha Assem announced Saturday. During a phone-in with the “al-Hadath al-Youm” channel, Assem said that there are four vaccine technologies, with priority arranged based on a variety of factors. She explained that these doses are sufficient for about 20 percent of the Egyptian populace, assuring the vaccination will be prioritized for the most vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases and medical teams. The Cabinet announced on Wednesday that it has mandated Zayed and Maait to take every step possible to provide coronavirus vaccines, including contracting with the Vaccine Alliance Gavi for around 20 million doses. Egypt s Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed 431 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country s total number up to 118,014, Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed announced. The ministry announced 18 more deaths, raising the country s COVID-19 death-toll to 6,750. And 106 patients were discharged from quarantine at isolation hospitals, bringing Egypt s fully-recovered cases up to 103,324. The Health Ministry announced in July that it has began preparing to manufacture a coronavirus vaccine once proven to be effective in trials, in cooperation with the Chinese government. Egypt s government imposed in March strict precautionary measures to limit the outbreak of coronavirus, which included setting curfews, banning large gatherings, and closing restaurants, theaters, and cinemas. The measures also include a mask mandate that applies to mass transportation and any public indoor space.
The ten-day Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) held an opening ceremony on Wednesday amidst global Covid-19 pandemic challenges. Stars of the Egyptian cinema were seen walking the red carpet rolled out in front of the Cairo Opera House where the event took place. The ceremony was hosted by Egyptian actor and comedian Ashraf Abdel Baky in the presence of culture minister Ines Abdel Dayem, the festival s president Mohamed Hefzy and numerous Egyptian and international guests. Prior to the official speeches and honoring of the guests, the ceremony featured famed Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny. The CIFF president, screenwriter and producer, Mohamed Hefzy mentioned the many problems that the cinema faced this year, starting with a complete halt of work on new productions, all the way to the closed movie theatres for several months. It is important to mention that while the CIFF assures implementation of all precautions to avoid the spreading of Covid-19, it has also provided a free PCR test for each guest that takes part in the event s opening ceremony. Hefzy expressed that holding the festival and the presence of the international guests are important steps towards bringing back life to normal. He thanked the ministries of culture and tourism for extending help and support for this year s edition. The ceremony also included screening of a video featuring the executives from the top international festivals sharing the solidarity message with Hefzy. The support and encouragement was expressed by Thierry Frémaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival; Carlo Chatrian, the artistic director of the Berlin International Film Festival, and Alberto Barbera, the director of the Venice International Film Festival. Culture minister Abdel Dayem echoed Hefzy s words stressing the importance of arts continuity, despite the challenging circumstances, and in commitment to all precautionary measures as required by the Egyptian ministry of health and the World Health Organisation. The ceremony then moved to giving awards to the honored figures of the festival for their contribution to enrich the art of cinema. Actress Menna Shalaby who last year was given the Faten Hamama Excellence Award presented this year s award to Mona Zaki on stage. Well known actress Zaki expressed her gratitude recalling the beginning of her career, when as a very young and amateur actress she has been always attending the consecutive editions of CIFF. During the ceremony, filmmaker Sherif Arafa who was awarded last year, honored Egypt s renowned screenwriter Waheed Hamed and the British writer and director Christopher Hampton with the Golden Pyramid for Lifetime Achievement Award. The opening ceremony ended with the screening of British-French film The Father co-written and directed by Florian Zeller. The film stars the Oscar, and BAFTA winner Anthony Hopkins. The film had its Middle East and Africa premiere in Cairo. Running between 2 and 10 December, the 42nd CIFF presents a large programme with 84 films representing the latest and most important productions of 2020. Among the films, many of them have had their international or world premiere. The screenings take place at numerous locations, including the Cairo Opera House, Hanager Theatre, Odeon Cinema 1 and 2. Apart from screenings, the festival will hold the 3rd edition of Cairo Industry Days between 4 and 7 December, an important space for discussions, networking, meetings, workshops, masterclasses, and partnership opportunities between Arab talents and regional or international key industry professionals to further support Arab Cinema.
After years of working in the English version of Copts United, our journey comes to an end. Yes, to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3: 1). However, we didn t wish or expect to see our lovely platform closed that soon. In the past years, we have tried to be the voice for the voiceless following the vision of the creator of this electronic newspaper Eng. Adly Abadir.