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Latest in Culture


‘Extremely Loud’ is incredibly phony

By David Germain / AP It is no surprise that the grief-drenched Sept. 11 drama “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” should turn out incredibly mawkish. A cloying exercise in sentimentality, the film also winds up extremely annoying, even infuriating. Director Stephen Daldry’s film, featuring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, centers on the worst day most Americans …

DNE

Musical diplomacy in Islamic Cairo

On Thursday night, the US Embassy presented a concert featuring collaboration between Nubian Drums, one of the many musical heritage projects of Islamic Cairo mainstay Intissar Abdel-Fattah, and the Bombie Trio, a band from the US advertised as jazz but better described as a blues-rock cover band. The embassy’s forays into cultural programming seldom produce …

DNE

British writer Christopher Hitchens dead at 62

The renowned British writer and polemicist Christopher Hitchens, whose targets ranged from God and Mother Teresa to Henry Kissinger, has died after an 18-month battle against cancer. He was 62. Hitchens began his career in London but he moved to the United States in 1981 and enjoyed great success both as a writer and speaker, …

DNE

Tales of the country

By Myriam Ghattas The Fourth Panorama of the European Film concluded recently. Taking place in Cairo it featured a number of documentaries that explored certain facets of Egypt which may have been little known to local audiences though they are highly fascinating and instructive. From “The Alexandrians” to “Sira: Songs of the Crescent Moon,” we travel …

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Mahfouz literary award given to the January uprising

For the past fourteen years, the American University in Cairo Press has given the Naguib Mahfouz medal, named for Egypt’s most internationally known novelist, to a younger talent, to “recognize an outstanding contribution to Arabic writing.” This year, which is also the 100th anniversary of Mahfouz’s birth, the AUC Press instead decided to give the …

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‘The Artist’ tops Golden Globes nominations

French-directed silent film "The Artist," a tribute to the pre-"talkies" era, won six Golden Globe nominations Thursday to lead the field as Hollywood gears up for its annual awards season. Tied for second were "The Help," about black servants in the pre-civil rights era US south, and "The Descendants" starring George Clooney, both nominated in …

DNE

Cinema Komunisto: Living in Tito’s vision

"Cinema Komunisto" (2010), which recently screened at the fourth Panorama for European Film in Cairo, is a true feat of archival documentation and storytelling. The Serbian film narrates the construction of the image of the former country of Yugoslavia based on a compilation of archival footage from film productions and film that were made at …

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Palestinian film ‘Habibi’ wins best Arab film at Dubai fest

Dutch-Palestinian production “Habibi Rasak Kharban” won the Muhr Arab Feature award at the eight Dubai International Film Festival, ending a stellar edition marred by an otherwise weak Arab features selection. Widely panned by both Arab and international critics, the first feature by American filmmaker Susan Youssef is a modern retelling of the Arab fable “Qays …

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Music school sets different rhythm for Gaza’s children

A room in Gaza’s only music school fills with the sound of the qanun, a traditional Middle Eastern instrument, transporting listeners far from the impoverished territory. Seven-year-old Zeina Al-Hamamra confidently picks out a melody on the instrument, a kind of zither, leaning forward to pluck the farthest strings with tiny fingers strapped with silver picks. …

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Spielberg, Jackson introduce Tintin to America

Steven Spielberg hopes he’s the typical American when it comes to Tintin: the filmmaker had never heard of the guy, but once he got acquainted, they became friends for life. Peter Jackson knows he’s the typical non-American when it comes to Tintin: he’s known him since before he could read, and the character’s globe-trotting adventures …

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British artist Emin lands prestigious teaching role: report

Controversial British artist Tracey Emin is to become the new Professor of Drawing at London’s prestigious Royal Academy, the country’s oldest art school, reports said Wednesday. The General Assembly of Royal Academicians (RAs) — an illustrious club of sculptors, architects, printmakers and painters — made the decision on Thursday, the Times reported, but a formal …

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Exhibit reveals Auld Lang Syne’s mysterious roots

At the stroke of midnight this New Year’s, millions of people around the globe will hold hands and belt out the famous song "Auld Lang Syne" — but how many will have a clue what it means? The Scottish poem and heartstring-tugging tune are reckoned to vie for the title of most widely recognized song …

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Angelina Jolie hailed for Balkan war film debut

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie has won praise for her directing debut — a powerful story of love amid the atrocities of the Bosnian war — from both film critics and victims’ relatives. The Hollywood "A" lister is used to being feted for her performances in films ranging from "Girl, Interrupted" — which won her the …

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‘Hydrarchy’ exhibition revisits the sea

In the 19th century, the international order of power and commerce rested on the sea: the vast merchant navy and the gunboats of the British Empire. In the 20th century, power gradually passed to the skies, as air-power gradually became the defining tool of imperial wars, and planes the primary means of personal travel around …

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Clooney’s ‘Descendants’ leads LA Critics awards

George Clooney’s family drama "The Descendants" was chosen Sunday as the year’s best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, whose prizes are an early influence on the way to the Academy Awards. From "Sideways" director Alexander Payne, "The Descendants" stars Clooney as a neglectful father in Hawaii trying to tend his daughters after …

DNE

Shades of Lebanese history and a dash of ‘1/2 Revolution’ in Dubai

For most of the previous decade, Egyptian film dominated the regional fest circuit, stirring a media frenzy for its popular stars and winning awards right and left for work that was far more developed, if less daring, than that of neighboring countries with less experience and no industrial backbone. Egyptian cinema has been in decline …

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Picasso, royal tapestries in unique show in Romania

Fifty-five tapestries created by the French royal Manufacture des Gobelins and by contemporary artists like Picasso and Miro went on display from Friday in Bucharest, in a world premiere. "A selection of tapestries of such scope and quality is unprecedented," said Bernard Schotter, the administrator general of the Mobilier National, the French government’s treasure house …

DNE

Posthumous Winehouse album ‘reflects chaotic life’

A posthumous album by Amy Winehouse, a rough and ready assortment of alternative versions of hits, unreleased tracks and covers, has been hailed as a poignant snapshot of the singer’s troubled life. Critics said that "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" perfectly reflects the chaotic final years of the artist, whose death in July aged 27 after years …

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An Egyptian novelist reads in Frankfurt

On Nov. 24, Egyptian novelist Khaled Alkhamissi read excerpts from his bestselling novel “Taxi” to an audience in Frankfurt as part of the “Festival of Egyptian Culture.” “Taxi” is Alkhamissi’s 2006 debut novel, which gave him a sense of celebrity unknown to most contemporary Egyptian writers, selling thousands of copies more than other established contemporary …

DNE

Dubai Film Fest opens with ‘Mission: Impossible’ world premiere

In a year where glamour and entertainment in the region were forced to take a backseat to the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) emerges strongly from the storm with one of its most interesting line-ups yet. The extravagant tone of this year’s edition was set with the opening …

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‘M-A-S-H’ star Harry Morgan dies at age 96

Harry Morgan never planned to be an actor, yet he spent 10 years on one of the top TV series of all time, made 50 films and appeared on Broadway. He became one of the best-known character actors in Hollywood. He was 96. But it was Morgan’s portrayal of the fatherly Col. Sherman Potter on …

DNE

Mandela museum ‘boot camp’ inspires artists

Artists pore over their computers — drawing up work experience and not sketches — in a rigorous "boot camp" inspired by Nelson Mandela that combines practical business sense with talent. The five students are in a six-week residency in the isolated hills of Qunu at the Nelson Mandela Museum, overlooking the icon’s childhood home where …

DNE

Spanish filmmaker Almodovar’s intriguing ‘Skin I Live In’

Pedro Almodóvar is back with a brand new installment of his sensuous quirky creations. "La Piel Que Habito" (The Skin I Live In, 2011) is sexy, intricate and intriguing. Ever since he lost his wife to severe burns in the aftermath of a car crash, renowned plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) has obsessed over …

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‘Hugo’ is me, Scorsese says of new film

Martin Scorsese leaves the tough guy world far behind with his latest film "Hugo," a 3D fantasy set in pre-war Paris about an orphan and a toymaker — as well as about himself, the US director said Monday. "Hugo," which hit US screens last month, is at once a warming Christmas carol and a cinephile’s …

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Book on Siwa blends travel literature with photography

“It is a study of largesse in both legends and lifestyles,” writes emerging author Rawah Badrawi in the introduction of her new book on the desert oasis town of Siwa. The story by Badrawi and hobbyist photographers Omar Hikal and Khaled Shokry is based on a carefully curated selection of images and text that, in …

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Polisse: Film delivers emotional realism with grit

By Myriam Ghattas Child abuse, infant abduction, rape, incest and abandonment are just some of the cases that we get a glimpse of in “Polisse” (2011) that explores the day to day business of being a BPM (Brigade for the Protection of Minors) in France. Set in Paris, the film tells this special division of cops’ …

DNE

War of the roses

By Myriam Ghattas “La Guerre est Déclarée” (Declaration of War, 2011) is the story of a young couple: Romeo (Jérémie Elkaïm) and Juliette (Valérie Donzelli) find out that their son Adam (César Desseix) — just one-and-a-half years old — has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Within a moment that must have lasted emotional light-years, …

DNE

Statue of Egyptian king Amenhotep III found

CAIRO: Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed a large statue of king Amenhotep III who ruled nearly 3,400 years ago and who was the grandfather of the famed boy-pharaoh Tutankhamun. The Supreme Council of Antiquities says the latest find was made at the king’s funerary temple in the southern city of Luxor. Thursday’s statement says the 44 …

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Oscar Wilde’s Paris tomb made safe from admirers’ kisses

Oscar Wilde’s renovated Paris tomb was unveiled on Wednesday, complete with a new glass barrier to shield the monument to the quintessential dandy’s life from a torrent of admiring kisses. Kiss upon lipsticked kiss in honor of Wilde, who died penniless aged 46 in a Paris hotel room in 1900, had worn down the elegant …

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US exhibit showcases legendary black photographer

Charles "Teenie" Harris had a photographic mission: going beyond the obvious or sensational to capture the essence of daily African-American life in the 20th century For more than 40 years, Harris — as lead photographer of the influential Pittsburgh Courier newspaper — took almost 80,000 pictures of people from all walks of life: presidents, housewives, …

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