Moroccan filmmaker Hicham Lasri screened his renowned movie “Al Jahiliya” at the Cairo International Film Festival (FIFC) on Sunday.
By Shaquile Goff
The Egyptian film industry is the apex of cinema in the Middle East, and at the 40th FIFC festival the best film directors in the Arab world gathered to compete for the coveted “Golden Pyramid” award.
Hicham Lasri, a native of Casablanca, submitted his film “Al Jahiliya” at the festival on Sunday. The title of the film translates to “ignorance” and refers to pre-Islamic Arabia. The film tells the story of six characters experiencing a historic 1996 event, according to IMDB.
The film stars Aziz Hettab, Nisrine Radi, Mustafa Houari, and Zoubida Akif, among other actors from around Morocco and the Arab world. Hettab and Houari also previously co-starred in the 2010 Moroccan drama “Majid,” a movie screened at several film festivals around Morocco and the Middle East, and lauded by film critics.
Lasri previously also screened Al Jahiliya at the 71st Cannes Film Festival in France.
The FIFC was founded in 1976 and is one of only 15 film festivals in the world given an “A” ranking by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. FIFC is also the oldest and only internationally recognized film festival in the Middle East and Africa, according to the festival’s website.
The festival has taken place every year since 1976, except for 2011 and 2013, due to issues with budgeting and political instability.
Lasri has already received several commendations this year for “Al Jahiliya,” notably from feminist organizations who commend his inclusion of gender issues in the Arab world in the movie. Critics say it is a stark departure from his previous filmmaking style.
The director is usually known for making surrealist-style films, however with Al Jahiliya, he revealed that he was not limited to just one genre or filmmaking style.
In addition to Lasri, Moroccan director Mohcine Basri is also scheduled to compete in Cairo with his film “Laaziza.”
The festival, held November 20-29, is located in the historic Cairo Opera House.