Egypt sends ‘Lust’ to Oscar

El Hagar's pic based on a play

TEL AVIV — Khaled El Hagar’s “Lust,” Egypt’s submission in the foreign-language film Oscar race, has been called eerily prophetic.

Lensed months before the Arab spring reached Cairo’s Tahrir Square, pic centers on a poor family in a down-and-out neighborhood of Alexandria, focusing on the frustration of everyday Egyptians trying to make ends meet in pre-revolutionary Egypt.

Leading the family is matriarch Um Shouq (Sawsan Badr), who passes her time reading fortunes in coffee grounds and communicating with the spirit world. When her only son is stricken by kidney disease, Um Shouq begs on the street to pay for his dialysis. Fearsome and proud, she hides the source of her money from her family, eventually creating a rift too deep to be healed.

“Lust” is based on a play called “The Old Lady’s Visit” and is El Hagar’s sixth film.

The 84th Academy Awards will be held Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

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