Al-Shooq declared best film at Cairo fest

MUMBAI: On Thursday, the 34th Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) drew to a close with a gala-awards ceremony.

For the first time in 14 years, the Golden Pyramid for best film in CIFF‘s international competition went to an Egyptian film, Khaled al-Haggar‘s Al-Shooq.

One of Egypt‘s two films to be set in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, the winning film is a melodrama about a destitute mother of three named Umm Shooq (Sawsan Badr). After losing her young son to kidney failure, whose treatment she cannot finance, Umm Shooq is transformed into a manipulative capitalist and, ultimately, destroyed.

The top film award in CIFF‘s Arab film competition went to another Egyptian film, Ahmad Abdulla‘s Microphone, a critical and audience favorite that took the top prize at the Carthage film festival earlier this year. The film depicts the story of the return of a young expat Egyptian (Khaled Abu Naga) to Alexandria and his discovery of the city‘s thriving, alternative youth art and music scene.

The award for Best Female Actor was shared by Badr, the star of Al-Shooq and the iconic French actress Isabelle Huppert, for her role in Copacabana. The Best Actor award was also shared. Egypt‘s Amr Waked and Italy‘s Alessandro Gassman were appreciated for their performances in Il Padre E Lo Straniero, (The Father and the Foreigner), by Italian director Ricky Tognazzi.

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