×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Middle East Premiere of Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ to Open Cairo Film Festival

The Middle East premiere of Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” will open the Cairo Film Festival, which has assembled a rich lineup of international and Arabic titles for its 41st edition. “The Irishman” will screen in the Egyptian capital Nov. 20 prior to being dropped globally by Netflix onto its service Nov. 27.

Scorsese’s mob epic is among 150 films from 63 countries set to screen during the 10-day fest, which this year has also secured several world premieres, such as Palestinian director Najwa Nadir’s divorce amid diaspora drama “Between Heaven and Earth”; the latest feature from Romanian auteur Anrdrei Gruzsniczk (“The Escape”), titled “Zavera”; and Colombian helmer David David’s “The Border,” about a pregnant indigenous woman living on the Colombian-Venezuelan border who is forced to fend for herself when her husband and her brother are killed.

The competition also comprises the international bows of “The Fourth Wall” by Chinese directorial duo Zhang Chong and Zhang Bo, following its world premiere in Shanghai, and Brazilian helmer Ibere Carvalho’s “The Friendly Man,” which stars onetime Brazilian punk rock star Paulo Miklos as a rock star mired in controversy.

Arabic films world-premiering in Cairo include Lebanese director Elie Kamal’s first feature, “Beirut Terminus,” which explores notions of borders and identity in his country; Moroccan veteran Hassan Benjelloun’s comedy “For the Cause,” about a music band contending with border issues; “The Women in Block J,” by Morocco’s Mohamed Nadif, set in a psychiatric hospital in Casablanca; and Tunisian auteur Sami Tlili’s documentary, “On the Crossbar,” which is set in June 1978, when Tunisia became the first African country to win a place in the final phase of the soccer World Cup.

Cairo festival artistic director Ahmed Shawky said in a statement that he made a big push this year to go beyond just securing the cream of the festival crop and instead sought out “as many quality premieres as possible.”

This year’s Cairo festival is the second edition headed by Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy, whose Film Clinic shingle is currently in production on Netflix Arabic original series “Paranormal.” Hefzy has been busy revamping the oldest fest in the Arab and African worlds since being appointed festival president last year.

A key aspect of Hefzy’s Cairo reboot has been to relaunch its industry component, Cairo Industry Days, which will run Nov. 21-26 and showcase 16 feature film projects in development or post-production from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Tunisia. The industry component helps fill a gap left by the now-defunct Dubai fest and market.

Earlier this month, the Cairo fest become the first film event in the Arab world to sign the 5050×2020 gender equality pledge.

The Cairo Film Connection jury members this year include Egyptian screenwriter Mariam Naoum; Ida Martins, who is founder and chief of German sales company Media Luna New Films; and former Jordanian film commission chief George David, who is now a producer and consultant. 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Dowdle Brothers

    The Dowdle Brothers Tackle New 'Friday Night Lights' Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Erick and Drew Dowdle, aka the Dowdle brothers, have boarded Universal Pictures’ reimagining of “Friday Night Lights.” Both will do a polish on the script, with John Erick directing and Drew exec producing. Sources tell Variety that the movie is not a sequel to Universal’s 2004 film starring Billy Bob Thornton, nor is it [...]

  • Roman Polanski's Accuser Reached Out to

    Roman Polanski's New Accuser Reached Out to L.A. Prosecutors in Early 2017

    Valentine Monnier, the former actor who recently went public with her accusation that Roman Polanski raped her 44 years ago, sent an anonymous letter to L.A. prosecutors in early 2017 detailing those allegations, sources tell Variety. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has confirmed that it received such a letter in February 2017 and [...]

  • Tomas Davison

    MGM Studios Exec Tomas Davison Dies at 43

    MGM Studios executive Tomas Davison died on Nov. 16 in Miami. He was 43. The cause of his death is still pending. Davison joined the studio over a year ago where he was tapped for the position of senior VP of international television distribution Latin America and U.S. Hispanic. During his time at the studio, [...]

  • Hello Ahma

    SGIFF: Shorts Panorama Highlights Breadth of Singapore Talent

    It didn’t take long for the shorts programme that is part of the Singapore International Film Festival’s Singapore Panorama strand at the National Museum of Singapore on Nov. 27 to sell out. That is because the Singaporean audience is well aware that the best and brightest of filmmaking talent from the country cut their teeth [...]

  • Harriet Tubman Cynthia Erivo

    AMC Theatres Fires Three Employees Over Racial Profiling Incident During 'Harriet' Screening

    AMC Theatres has fired three employees in one of its Louisiana multiplexes after an incident during a screening of “Harriet.” An African American women’s group called the 504 Queens allege that 15 members were racially profiled while watching “Harriet” at AMC’s Clearview Palace 12 in Metairie on Nov. 7. A letter sent from the organization’s [...]

  • Accept the Call

    Eunice Lau Returns to Singapore With Hard-Hitting Documentary ‘Accept The Call’

    New York-based Singaporean filmmaker Eunice Lau is back in her home country for the Asian premiere of her impactful documentary “Accept The Call” at the Singapore International Film Festival. This is the film’s third outing, after premiering at the Human Rights Watch and Woodstock Film festivals. In Woodstock, it received a special mention for best [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content