Variety Honours Yousry Nasrallah
Egyptian Director Named Middle East Filmmaker of the
15.10.2012 - On Monday, Variety presented the
Middle East Filmmaker of the Year Award to Egyptian director Yousry
Nasrallah. The award was given to Nasrallah at a ceremony and
reception at Emirates Palace hosted by ADFF.
Nasrallah's latest film After the Battle, a fictional meditation
on the Egyptian revolution of last year starring Menna Shalaby, was
showcased at the Festival this week. He contributed a segment to
the omnibus film about the revolution, 18 Days, that screened at
last year's Festival; while his classic El Madina (1999) had a
retrospective. His scathing farce about Egyptian women's lives,
Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story, was a highlight of the Festival in
2009; while in the same year he served as president of the Short
Film Competition jury.
Nasrallah is one of Egypt's most highly regarded filmmakers.
Films like Gate of the Sun (2004) and Aquarium (2008) are known for
their layered, complex perspective of Egyptian society, their
barbed humour and their celebration of individualism. After the
Battle premiered in competition at this year's Cannes Film
Festival Director Ali Al Jabri introduced the award, along with
ADFF Director of Arabic Programmes Intishal Al Timimi, by saying
that the direction of Nasrallah's work "is moving in the same
direction as the Festival, away from the commercial and towards
Variety's Jay Weissberg said he was
"particularly proud" to present the award to Nasrallah because the
director's work transcends the belief that all films are political,
that they must represent one point of view or another: "He has
rejected that model in a very exciting and brave way. His films are
about shifting points of view, and they reflect life more
accurately. We need more films like that, and we need more films by
Nasrallah thanked the many collaborators in his cast and crew
who've been with him throughout his film career, including Shelaby
and actor Bassem Samra, who were in attendance. "It's been a family
affair," he said. He cited his mentor, the late Youssef Chahine,
one of the greats of Egyptian cinema.
Mohamad Jabarah Al Daradji, the Iraqi-born director of Son of
Babylon (ADFF 2009) and previous winner of the same award, was also
in attendance. He told Nasrallah, "You make a lot of dreams come
true for Arab filmmakers. We are following you."