×
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

  • Ryan Destiny Claressa Shields

    Rachel Morrison's Directorial Debut 'Flint Strong' Casts Ryan Destiny as Claressa Shields

    Ryan Destiny, who’s best known for her role in Fox’s “Star,” will play Claressa “T-Rex” Shields in Universal’s biopic “Flint Strong.” The film marks Destiny’s first starring role in a major studio movie after her breakout role in the Lee Daniels series. Based on Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper’s 2015 boxing documentary “T-Rex,” the story [...]

  • Little Mermaid

    'The Little Mermaid' Turns 30: Inside the Rocky Journey to Make a Disney Classic

    “The Little Mermaid” wasn’t just an animated classic. It was a life raft of sorts for struggling Walt Disney Studios. It’s hard to believe given how dominant Disney is today in the family entertainment space, but when the story of Ariel, a mermaid princess who just wanted to be part of Prince Eric’s world, hit [...]

  • Sylvester Stallone and Burgess Meredith in

    MGM Buying '40 Years of Rocky' to Air on Epix (EXCLUSIVE)

    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is wrapping up a deal to acquire “40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic,” Variety has learned. The studio plans to run the documentary, which includes behind-the-scenes footage of the creation of the first film in the franchise, on Epix, the cable channel it co-owns. The initial plan was to begin airing [...]

  • DUMBO US 1941. Photo by: Mary

    Disney Plus Warns Users Older Movies Have 'Outdated Cultural Depictions'

    The newly launched Disney Plus has no shortage of content, ranging from original animated classics to live-action remakes and “Star Wars” offshoot “The Mandalorian.” With that deep library, Disney is offering a warning that some of the streaming platform’s older content has “outdated cultural depictions.” Films like “Dumbo,” “The Aristocats,” “Lady and the Tramp” and [...]

  • 'Lost in London' film rehearsals, at

    AFM: Germany's Tiberius Acquires Woody Harrelson's Comedy 'Lost in London' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German distributor Tiberius Film has acquired the local rights to Woody Harrelson’s comedy “Lost in London” at the American Film Market, as well as two films from Russian producer Central Partnership – action movie “The Ninth” and horror thriller “The Widow.” “Lost in London,” Harrelson’s directorial debut, was experimental. It was shot over a single [...]

  • Coming to America

    Eddie Murphy on Making 'Coming to America' Sequel: 'I'm Just Over the Moon'

    Eddie Murphy revealed how he chose his “Dolemite Is My Name” director Craig Brewer to helm his “Coming to America” sequel. Murphy, who starred in and created the story for the original 1988 romantic comedy, chatted about “Coming to America” — and much more — with former co-star Antonio Banderas for “Variety Studio: Actors on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content