Thierry Frémaux launched a tribute to Egypt, Invited Country, yesterday evening in the Salle du Soixantième, with the world avant-premier screening of Tamantashar Yom (18 Days), a collective work by 10 Egyptian filmmakers made around Tahrir Square, which was given a standing ovation.
“Egypt is one of the great countries of cinema, one that has always been represented in Cannes, notably by Youssef Chahine, but by others too. This tribute is to acknowledge the past and the history of Egyptian cinema, its glory and grandeur, but also its present and its future,” declared Thierry Frémaux. He then called up all the filmmakers and actors who particpated in this collective work made around Tahrir Square and comprised of 10 short films, including Yousri Nasrallah's Bab el Chams (The Gate of the Sun), originally screened in the Official Selection in 2004.
Three of the participants spoke, the first in English, the second in Arabic, and the third in French.
Mariam Abou Ouf, who made the film #tahrir 2/2, brought an emotional audience to a standing ovation with her words, "When we shot the film three months ago, I would not have thought we would be presenting it here in Cannes. And I would like to dedicate it to each person who devoted 18 days of his or her life to the revolution, as well as to all those who disappeared."
Marwan Hamed, maker of 19-19, compared the Egyptian people to a piece of elastic: "You stretch it and stretch it but you don't know when it is going to break."
Finally Yousri Nasrallah, who made Interior-Exterior, evoked "the breath of freedom that is carrying us all away at home, but here too. It's with this desire for freedom and dignity that some sacrificed their lives, and that we have made this film. Today, our thoughts are with Libya, Yemen, Syria, Tunisia. We must stand by them."
The tribute to Egypt continues today with the screening Cannes Classics of Facteur (Al Bostagui) by Hussein Kamal 1968) in a new print and of Cri d’une fourmi (Ant Scream) by Sameh Abdel Aziz (2011) at the Cinéma de la Plage.