Greek short films get special treatment in Egypt

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The films are all from Greece, made by Greek directors and will be anywhere in the range of one to twenty minutes. The films include dramas, comedies, romance and everything in between.

From Plato and Homer to Kazantzakis and Gavras, the Greeks are clearly not in any shortage of great thinkers in any field. Besides being credited with countless contributions to humanity, Egypt in particular has been touched by Greek culture and the two countries have strong cultural ties.

The Greek Cultural Institute celebrated the two countries’ cultures with a cultural month that will be concluded with a two day tribute to Greek short films in the creativity centres of Cairo and Alexandria. The tribute is in motion in Cairo already, starting yesterday, while Alexandria will start its own on 17 and 18 October.

Egypt has seen a surge in short film festivals and events, including the Shnit film festival, Future Shorts, the 48 hour film festival and the upcoming Goethe Institute short film festival. Though this ‘tribute’ is not a festival in anyway, the focus on short films will draw crowds where screenings of feature-length films around town have failed to do so.

The films are all from Greece, made by Greek directors and will be anywhere in the range of one to 20 minutes. The films include dramas, comedies, romance and everything in between.

“Most of the films have been produced within the last five years, though some are older, and some have won prestigious awards,” said Dina Constantina, vice president of the Greek Cultural Institute in Cairo. “We chose these films because they are all famous in Greece and have been well-received. They all have English subtitles and some are silent with no dialogue at all. They cover all genres and are not confined to a specific theme, genre, or topic.”

Constantina added that the screenings were part of a larger cultural exchange between the two countries. “The tribute is part of the Greek Egyptian cultural month where we have featured crafts and art exhibitions, among other things.”

The films include Moments of Wisdom, The Son, Somewhere on The Map (2010), Fishing (2012), Coat Fitting (2006), Occupation (2009), Leaving (2005), and What Swims and Laughs (2003).

Moments of Wisdom tells the story of a life in three minutes, while The Son tells the story of parents trying to answer their son’s difficult questions. Coat Fitting is about an old man who finds meaning in his life upon learning he may be the subject of a documentary.

Greek cinema has always been prominent and notables include Costa Gavras with his iconic Z (1969), the masterful Theodoros Angelopoulos, all the way up to Yorgos Lanthimos and his award-winning Dogtooth (2009). The screenings will mark the end of the Greek Egyptian cultural month, ending rather fittingly in Alexandria, once a centre of Greek culture in Egypt.

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