RedSeaIFF invites the public to discover a selection of masterpieces


Jeddah – The Red Sea International Film Festival (RedSeaIFF), which will host the first edition from December 6 to 15, announced on Wednesday the eight films in its Treasures section which will be shown on the big screen for the first time.

The Treasures section celebrates award-winning and groundbreaking classics from the Arab and international world with renewed vigor and in an exciting new context.

Edouard Waintrop, Artistic Director of (RedSeaIFF) said: “Although these films are considered classics, this will be the first time they will be seen on the big screen in Saudi Arabia. It’s a particularly exciting time to show them off, as it not only re-celebrates these films, but also shows how they inspired the last generation of filmmakers.

Antoine Khalife, Director of Arab Programs and Film Classics at RedSeaIFF, said: “These films represent not only classics of the Arab world, but also truly iconic international gems. The mission of the Foundation is to preserve the heritage of cinema and we are therefore proud to contribute to the restoration of many Arab films and world classics.

“The Festival gives us the opportunity to celebrate these films with renewed attention that these pioneering works of cinema are worthy, given their disruptive and repulsive nature. We’re excited not only to be able to share such a diverse collection of stories on the big screen, but also stories that deserve as much celebration today as they were when they were first released.

The 1994 classic Strawberry War, directed by legendary Egyptian director Khairy Beshara, tells the story of Thabet, played by famous Sami El Adl. Thabet is a wealthy businessman who owns several factories and lives alone in his huge mansion. After losing his only son, Thabet no longer knows the meaning of happiness.

He meets peddler Hamama, played by Mahmoud Hemeida, and Farawla, played by iconic actress Yousra, and they decide to head to the mansion, where they embark on a journey to discover the true meaning of happiness. Special film for its unique history, fantastic setting and sense of humor, the film has been restored with support from the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation.

Raafat El-Mihi’s 1995 classic A Little Love Much Violence is considered one of the most daring in Egyptian film history. Personally selected by iconic Laila Eloui, one of the most versatile actresses of her generation delivers a powerful performance in the film. Based on the novel by Fathi Ghanem, and features two films in one: one is a superficial film, and the other a realistic film that deals with well-being.

A son decides to escape his father’s control and divorce his wife from their arranged marriage. He then begins a relationship with another girl, in search of influence and power. The film breaks several cinematic and dramatic traditions through various elements, making it a truly iconic work.

The 1979 Bengali Language Mystery The Elephant God (Bengali: Joi Baba Felunath) is one of the most popular films by Indian director Satyajit Ray, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. The story presents a private detective, Felu, who arrives in the holy city of Benares for a vacation. While visiting a strange holy man, Felu learns that a rare and precious gold statuette of Ganesh, the elephant deity, has been stolen. Felu is hired to unravel the mystery of the missing Ganesh and, thus, the adventures begin.

Directed by acclaimed director Henry Barakat, the 1959 Egyptian drama The Nightingale’s Prayer is based on the novel by modernist writer Taha Hussein. The film tells the story of two young women and their mother who are banished from their idyllic village and isolated by an uncle ashamed of his brother’s adulterous behavior.

The film competed in the 10th Berlin International Film Festival and was selected as the Egyptian nomination for best foreign language film at the 32nd Academy Awards. The film was personally selected by filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour who cites Henry Barakat as a source of inspiration.

Wadjda is the first feature film produced in 2012 by Saudi screenwriter and director Haifaa Al-Mansour. It is through the escapades of Wadjda, a young 12-year-old girl, that the public discovers the daily life of the suburbs of Riyadh. Through the fate of several female characters, the film deals with the different aspects of the female condition, such as forced marriage or polygamy.

The multi-award-winning film was selected as Saudi Arabia’s first-ever nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2014 BAFTA Awards.

The rare 1970 classic The Choice is one of legendary Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine’s most essential films. The masterpiece was restored by the Red Sea Foundation with support from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture in 2020. Written and directed by Chahine, the film tells the story of Sayed, a famous writer and social climber, who, when he learns the story of his dead twin brother, delays his life plans in order to find his brother’s killer. The film is an immersion in a human soul that appears calm on the surface, but is constantly restless.

The 2016 documentary by screenwriter and director Thierry Frémaux Lumière! brings the audience back to witness the birth of cinema. Frémaux, director of the Lumière Institute and of the Cannes Festival, highlights all the dimensions that cinema has occupied and continues to occupy in everyone’s daily life, by inviting the public to witness the birth of cinema and the genius of the Lumière brothers. .

The Red Sea International Film Festival will also pay tribute to one of the most popular French actors, Jean-Paul Belmondo. Unforgettable in Breathless, The Man from Rio or Itinerary of a Spoiled Child, Jean-Paul Belmondo has played under the direction of the greatest European filmmakers. Starting with Jean-Luc Godard and the Nouvelle Vague, it didn’t take long for him to make the shift to comedy and action film, with over 80 films to his name.

The Festival pays tribute to this exceptional actor by presenting a montage of his main roles, prepared by the Institut Lumière, and by programming Pierrot le Fou in a restored version.

Pierrot le Fou, the 1965 classic by French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, is based on the 1962 novel Obsession by Lionel White. Selected as French film for the best foreign language film at the 38th Oscars, the film tells the story of Ferdinand, played by Belmondo, cynically married to a rich woman, who decides one evening to flee his dismal existence with Marianne, a girl once loved. and found by chance. This joyous and desperate race through sunny France gives the film the appearance of a road movie, tinged with musical comedy, film noir and flamboyant melodrama.

The inaugural edition of the Red Sea International Film Festival will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, December 6-15, 2021. – SG


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