Egypt: Filmmaker's struggle finally pays off


Egyptian cinema-goers will finally be able to watch Ibrahim El Batout’s film Ein Shams [Ar] (Eye of the Sun) as an Egyptian movie at the end of this month – after a long drama with censorship.

El Batout, considered among the most distinguished Egyptian independent directors and filmmakers, struggled with the censor back when he first started working on his second feature film. The director decided to swim against the tide and start filming without acquiring the required permits. He explains his reasons in an interview with the Art Review Magazine as follows:

The film was made in a different way. Without the censors’ Permission. I filmed it and am asking them now to see it so that I'd screen it. They don't want this. They want you to inform them of the film from the point of just thinking about it

As demonstrated in the film’s Facebook group Ein Shams has acquired many reputable awards. They include:

Winner of The Golden Tauro Best film Award in Taormina Film Festival.
Winner of Best First Film Award in Roterdam Arab Film Festival.
Winner of Special Jury Mention in Carthage Film Festival.

Nevertheless, the censors decided to allow the film into Egypt under the condition of having it screened as a foreign film – a compromise the director objected to.

In a article posted in the film’s blog, Joseph Fahim exclaimed:

ان السخرية الاعظم تكمن فى ان فيلم عين شمس تم اختياره فى للعرض فى مهرجان كان السينمائى فى مايو المقبل ، مما يعنى ان هناك امكانية كبيرة فى عرض الفيلم تجارياً فى اوروبا ومناطق اخرى ولكن ليس فى مصر.
“It is ironic. Ein Shams has been selected to be screened in Cannes Cinema Festival next May, which means that the movie might have a chance to be screened in Europe and other places around the world but not in Egypt”

But apparently that won’t happen now. The film's trailer has already been aired on Egyptian TV channels and cinema lovers in Egypt, who are thirsty and looking forward to El Batout’s next thought provoking film, will be able to watch it in a cinema near them soon.

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