6 Regional Films That Deserve the Spotlight at the 42nd Cairo International Film Festival

The 42nd Cairo International Film Festival is once again highlighting the region’s biggest and best industry players, as well as some of the regional films that deserve their moment in the spotlight.

Middle Eastern film has a long history of excellence and talent, from the actors and actresses that have left their mark over the years, to the writers and directors who have produced masterpieces that, generations later, remain an important part of our lives.

Keep scrolling for 6 of this year’s best regional films, from shorts and documentaries, to feature-length fiction.

Lift Like a Girl

MENA Premier Egypt
Documentary, 2020, Color, 95 min Original Language: Arabic Director: Mayye Zayed Synopsis: Shot over the span of four years, ‘Lift Like a Girl’ follows fourteen-year-old Zebiba, a weightlifter who is on the path to realizing her dream of becoming the world champion. Zebiba, who trains daily, is following in the footsteps of her coach’s daughter, Nahla Ramadan, Egypt’s top weightlifter and former world champion. Her coach, Captain Ramadan, spent the last twenty years training young girls to weightlift on the streets of Alexandria.

On the Fence

via Mille

World Premiere
Documentary, 2020, Color, 72 min Original Language: Arabic Director: Nesrine El-Zayat
Synopsis: How the camera can help a young director consecrate the past as a beautiful memory, live the present as a colorful shot, and look at the future without fear of a new loss. The director moves between the father’s house, which is being restored in order to keep the smell of old times within reach of the memory, and the fear for the mother’s approval. The journey moves between a question and another, between time and another. Meanwhile, the camera appears to be like a welcomed guest who the family receives him modestly, and documents hoping to bring back special lost ones.

The Tambour of Retribution

via Facebook

World Premiere
Saudi Arabia
Fiction, 2020, Color, 80 min Original Language: Arabic Director: Abdulaziz Alshlahei
Synopsis: By the end of the 1990s, and in a city that resembles a mysterious kingdom, the son of an executioner falls in love with the daughter of a wedding singer. From the irony between celebrating joy and death, a question arises: which of them can give up their dreams in exchange for making the world a better place? In hidden worlds separated by customs that prevent its people from satisfying the instinct of discovery except through memory and written stories, the filmmakers try to examine a time before the ongoing changes in Saudi Arabia. The film features a love story that resembles a society that remained still for years and then woke up to the need to coexist between two complete opposites. Definitely one of the regional films to watch out for!

The Man Who Swallowed the Radio

World Premiere
Fiction, 2020, Black and White, 15 min Original Language: Arabic Director: Yasser Shafiey
Synopsis: Due to a medical error, an old radio falls into a man’s stomach. He will have to go into surgery to have the radio removed. In a surreal environment inside a hospital, we see the repercussions of the radio’s presence inside the protagonist’s stomach and how he dealt with this new situation. The film completes the case presented by director Yasser Shafiey in his previous film, Intense Practice to Improve Performance.

About a Girl

via CIFF

World Premiere
Fiction, 2020, Color, 15 min Original Language: Arabic Director: Marwan Nabil
Synopsis: A typical day in a woman’s life, during which we see the perceptions of those around her differ. Sarcastically, the film presents the daily harassment and pressure that women are subjected to in Egyptian society, whether in her home, on the street, or inside her workplace.

We Are From There

MENA Premiere
Lebanon, France
Documentary, 2020, Color, 82 min Original Language: Arabic Director: Wissam Tanios
Synopsis: Capturing the very significant sorrow between the ‘current’ self and the ‘has been’ self, this diaspora documentary examines such feelings when someone sits in front of a camera to talk about this mysterious relationship. Memory plays an essential role in this film. The word “there” in the titles does not only refer to the homeland that the characters left but also to their memory, their dreams that were not fulfilled. These lost dreams remained confused between turning into memory or remaining stuck waiting for the dreamers’ hand to pick them up.

WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss “5 Regional Masterpieces That Are Being Featured at the 2020 Gouna Film Festival“.