Egyptian culture to be exhibited through films


Jordan Jones And Laura Lucas

From Nov. 12 through 15, the South Dakota Art Museum will hold the Egyptian Film Festival. According to Sherry DeBoer, the South Dakota Humanities Council and the Big Read program granted money to the film festival.

The festival begins on Nov. 12 with the movie The Thief and the Dogs (1962). The 125 minute movie will begin at 7 p.m.

According to Jeff Heinle, associate professor of communications studies and theatre, the movie is about an Egyptian gang member who works his way to the top only to be betrayed. After leaving prison, the world has changed because of the Egyptian revolution, and the released thief wants revenge.

On Nov. 14 the Yacoubian Building (2006) will be shown. The movie will play at 7 p.m. and lasts 165 minutes. It is in Arabic with English subtitles.

According to Heinle, Yacoubian Building was the largest budget production from Egypt. The plot consists of wealthy citizens living in an upscale ’30s-style apartment building.

Four films and one discussion will be held on Nov. 15. The first film is Living with the past: Historic Cairo (2001) which starts at noon and lasts 60 minutes.

The film focuses on the historic sites of the city and the restoration processes.

Heinle said, “This film documents a unique approach to historic preservation, one that combines social and economic development with monument restoration and does an excellent job of conveying the neighborhood’s spirit and the dedication of those involved in the restoration.”

The second film is Naguib Mahfouz: The Passage of the Century (2001), which starts at 1 p.m. and lasts 60 minutes.

Based on the Arab Nobel Prize winner’s life, Heinle said this documentary interviews the “88-year-old, half-blind, hard of hearing and crippled by a recent assassination attempt, Mahfouz is remarkably lively, witty and lucid.”

At 2 p.m., a discussion titled Perspectives on Egyptian Literature and Cinema Panel will be held. It is scheduled to last one hour.

In the panel discussion, Heinle will give a brief talk about the films and history of Egypt. Fathi Halaweish, an assistant professor who teaches chemistry and biochemistry, will talk about Egypt, his native country.

The third movie, Adrift on the Nile (1971) starts at 3 p.m. and lasts 115 minutes.

This movie is based on the book by Mahfouz. According to Heinle, it involves a couple middle age friends that gather on a luxurious houseboat for dancing, love-making and smoking hashish. A reporter finds them and is outraged about social alienation.

The fourth movie is Matab Sinaey (2007). It starts at 7 p.m. and lasts 109 minutes.

“This story is about a man who travels to Cairo to make a better life. He ends up saving the life of a child from drowning and becomes a family friend. When the child’s father falls into a coma after getting injured in an accident, the young man finds himself named as a guardian of that child,” said Heinle.

South Dakota Humanities Council, South Dakota Council on World Affairs and Bank West will sponsor the events. The movies were selected by Heinle, Harriet Swedlund, executive director of South Dakota Council on World Affairs and Madeleine Andrawis, electronics engineering and computer science professor.

All films are free to students.