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Latest in Culture


British film director Ken Russell dies at 84

Director Ken Russell got Oliver Reed and Alan Bates to wrestle naked, turned Vanessa Redgrave into a demonic nun and cast Ringo Starr as the pope. Critics and mainstream audiences often hated his films. Actors and admirers loved him.

DNE

An impressive display of collages at new art space

In Cairo, art exhibitions are opening left and right, as are gallery spaces, surprisingly. The latest on the scene in what is becoming the city’s art hub Zamalek is The Gallery, where the opening exhibit is “Collage: 100 Years On,” curated by Maie Yanni. What I love most about the art scene is its resilience. …

DNE

THE REEL ESTATE: In silence, they sing, dance and steal your heart away

Against all possible odds, the fourth edition of the Panorama of European Film has managed to attract a sizeable audience with sold-out screenings, commencing in a week when all cultural activities in the nation have been suspended in the wake of last week’s violence against Tahrir demonstrators. Misr International Films’ week-long fest did not have …

DNE

An Italian lesson in love

By Myriam Ghattas “Manuale D’Am3re” (The Ages of Love, 2011) is a triptych of three love stories told by an observant and meddlesome Cupid (Vittorio Emanuele Propizio) officiating as a taxi driver of love. The stories represent the different ages, or stages, at which humans find and develop love relationships: Youth, maturity and beyond. Giovanni Veronesi, …

DNE

In times of rain

By Myriam Ghattas “Tambien La Lluvia” (Even the Rain, 2010) is, on the surface, a movie about the making of a movie. As such, it is a film that could have easily fallen into the familiar narcissistic trap of cinema directing its camera lens onto itself for inspiration, oftentimes with disconcerting results. Yet, the present film …

DNE

Neds: A personal story

By Myriam Ghattas Telling a poignant and gritty tale of a boy’s downward spiral to hell, Peter Mullan makes no concessions as he writes and directs “Neds” (2010) revisiting his native Scotland in his third feature. In his previous films, Mullan exhibited a mastery of entrapment exploration, as seen in “The Magdalene Sisters” (2002) and “Orphans” …

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THE REEL ESTATE: It’s the end of the world, and she feels fine

“Melancholia,” Lars von Trier’s latest monster, may forever be remembered for the wrong reasons. Jaws dropped when the notorious Danish provocateur joked that he understands Hitler; that he sympathizes with him, that he’s “a Nazi.” The rest, as they say, is history. Von Trier was expelled from the festival shortly afterwards, having been named a …

DNE

The soft revolution of Dagenham

By Myriam Ghattas Revolution…revolution! “Made in Dagenham” (2010) puts the sassy in strike, one that yielded revolutionary results in England in 1968 and had repercussions all over the world thereafter. Sporting a motto of “We Want Sex Equality” around their town before expanding to neighboring cities, 187 women machinists from the Dagenham Ford car factory in …

DNE

Libya’s road to freedom captured in new photo exhibit

On Sunday, in a small white box of a room, stark images of the recent revolutionary battles in Libya hung on panels surrounding a large Libyan flag with gold fringe. A TV replayed major news stories from the last year, and students gazed at photos from the Libyan revolution depicting scenes of both horrible violence …

DNE

Grand opening for Festival of Egyptian Culture in Frankfurt

On Nov. 19, Tutankhamun and his tomb made their debut in Frankfurt. Along the river Main, in an impressive hall on Mainzer Landstrasse set up especially for the event, Semmel Concerts, Germany’s leading concert promoter, has organized a festival that celebrates Egyptian culture in a way that even Egyptians themselves will find it challenging to …

DNE

Swift unstoppable at American Music Awards

Taylor Swift and Adele tied with three wins at the American Music Awards, but the event belonged to the country superstar after she beat the soulful crooner, as well as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Lil Wayne, to win artist of the year, the ceremony’s highest accolade, which the 21-year-old singer-songwriter previously claimed in 2009. …

DNE

Scenes from the Romanian revolution

By Myriam Ghattas “My name is Rodica Marcau. I am from the Timisoara Co-op store. I defended the store on Sunday. The Securitate shot at us on our way home. Some were arrested and tortured. They were beaten with riffle-butts. I am bedridden now but…I wish to join the youth of Timisoara and Bucharest and of …

DNE

‘Submarine’ takes on adolescence with dominating style

By Myriam Ghattas British director Richard Ayoade’s debut film for the big screen, “Submarine” (2010) tells the tale of Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), a 15-year-old kid with run-of-the-mill teenage concerns: the conquest, and safekeeping, of a girlfriend, Jordana (Yasmin Paige), and the preservation of a healthy relationship between his parents, Jill Tate (Sally Hawkins of “Happy-Go-Lucky”) …

DNE

Grace under pressure

By Joseph Fahim Last May, the Cannes Film Fest hosted the world premiere of “Le gamin au vélo” (The Kid with a Bike), the latest picture by Belgium’s greatest filmmakers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Cannes has become the expected home for the Dardenne Brothers, selecting their previous four films in its main competition. Their track record …

DNE

THE REEL ESTATE: Of human bondage: James March’s ‘Project Nim’

In 1973, a ground-breaking experiment in animal language acquisition was set up by Columbia professor, Herbert Terrace, to examine whether apes can communicate with humans using sign language. The subject of the experiment was a new-born baby chimpanzee named by the researchers Nim Chimpsky, who was taken away from his mother and placed in the …

DNE

From Egypt to Frankfurt with love

  It’s a great feat for an Egyptian exhibition to become an international traveling show. Three of Egypt’s young photographers are doing just that; following a successful show in Vienna, they are taking their “To Egypt with Love” exhibition to Germany on Thursday.   Soon after January 25, Safar Khan Gallery hosted “To Egypt with …

DNE

Hollywood-China film venture to get cash infusion

A Hollywood-China movie production venture that plans to make big budget films for worldwide audiences has been cleared for an infusion of $220.5 million from an unlikely source — a construction company. Shareholders of Hong Kong’s Paul Y. Engineering Ltd. on Tuesday approved the investment in the joint venture that is also aimed at China’s …

DNE

From Bamako to Cape Town at Paris Photo fair

Twenty years ago, a retired Malian portrait photographer called Seydou Keita sat at home in Bamako, quietly tinkering with his motorbike, when a Paris art dealer came knocking on his door. Today, a decade after his death, Keita is perhaps Africa’s most revered photographer, and his stylish studio snaps are a highlight of this year’s …

DNE

Colloquial Egyptian culture at the turn of the century

In the wave of recent photography books from AUC press about the revolution, the automatic tendency is to celebrate the actions of Egyptians usually referred to as “everyday” or “ordinary” Egyptians, and, similarly, “the Egyptian street.” Books of writing about the revolution will take longer, as January is not really history yet, and one can …

DNE

Tutankhamun center stage at Frankfurt’s ‘Festival of Egyptian Culture’

A sensational discovery 89 years ago by archaeologist Howard Carter turned the unknown pharaoh Tutankhamun into an international superstar. For years, Tutankhamun, his treasures and his tomb have been touring the globe with an ambassador-like presence in each city he visits. Starting on Nov. 19 and running through April 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany, Tutankhamun takes …

DNE

European Film Panorama returns with new challenges and films

Emerging 10 months after the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak, and in the midst of Egypt’s most significant parliamentary elections — the Panorama of European Film is coming back to Cairo against all odds. Misr International Films is gearing for the fourth edition of its annual European film fest, held from Nov. 23-29, at Galaxy …

DNE

Natural history of New France published 335 years on

An illustrated book describing Canada’s vast wilds, masked medicine men and a missionary’s taming of bears at the onset of European colonization will hit bookstores on Saturday — three centuries after it was written. The manuscript titled "The Natural History of the New World" and a separate codex of drawings, were penned around 1675 by …

DNE

Leonardo DiCaprio becomes J. Edgar Hoover on film

The Leonardo DiCaprio sitting inside an empty soundstage on the Warner Bros. lot on a sunny November afternoon looks very little like J. Edgar Hoover — his title role in Clint Eastwood’s new biopic of the longtime FBI director. On this day, DiCaprio looks relaxed and comfortable, lean and handsome. In "J. Edgar," he’s anything …

DNE

Renowned Syrian theater actors flee to Egypt

BEIRUT: Two Syrian theater actors known for their plays mocking authority headed to Egypt on Thursday, fleeing possible arrest in their country but vowing to pursue their pro-democracy struggle. Mohamed and Ahmed Malas, 29-year-old twin brothers, left to Cairo from Beirut, where they had been living in hiding for the past month. The two brothers …

DNE

9 writers, 6 actors, 1 huge topic: gay marriage

By Mark Kennedy / AP It sounded like an impossible task: Write a play about gay marriage that can only have a few characters. Oh, and make it about 10 minutes long. Such was the mission for nine playwrights that included Neil LaBute, Paul Rudnick, Doug Wright and Moises Kaufman. They had been asked to write …

DNE

Misr International Films forays into independent cinema

If you have never stepped into the world of the late great Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, it is time you discover what you have been missing. Directing over 40 films and documentaries in his lifetime, Chahine left behind a staggering body of work and a legacy that continues to inspire the development of Egyptian cinema …

DNE

Egypt’s ‘Freedom Story’ in the making

Revolutions have a way of sticking with you – emotions run high, change is imminent and the sense of possibility is euphoric. The images of Egypt’s January uprising were striking, forever engraining the momentous events in the memories of those who witnessed them and captivating the world’s attention for weeks. “Egyptian Freedom Story: 25th of …

DNE

A psychedelic evening with Yacoub Abu Ghosh

By Maurice Chammah Last Sunday the Jordanian jazz bassist Yacoub Abu Ghosh led his band through a set at the Cairo Jazz Club, a seemingly required stop on any local tour. Despite the holiday, the dark, smoky room had nearly reached capacity when the band, which includes two drummers, and a second bassist, took the stage. …

DNE

Dedication to the hip hop cause

By Lily Grimes Earning something you desire increases its value, and so it was with Voice of the Streets, a free event showcasing rappers from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. A motley crew of about 80 people huddled outside the gates to the Gezira Youth Center in Zamalek last Friday waiting to be let …

DNE

Arab teens rap out angry politics in Nazareth

Mai and Amane, Arab Israeli teenagers living in Nazareth, are happy to leave talk about boys and make-up to their peers. They have a political message and they’re telling it through rap music. The girls, only 15 and 16, make up the duo "Damar" — Arabic for "destruction" — whose mission is to expose what …

DNE