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6 Venues in Cairo to Watch Incredible International and Indie Movies

Tired of Hollywood’s self indulgence? We have alternatives.

The drive to the movie theatre after an exhausting summer’s work day, the smell of buttered popcorn warm in our hands, and the big screen opening in front of our anticipating – and sometimes tired – eyes can all be elaborate lead-up to disappointment.

We remember at least a few times we were completely bummed out by a much anticipated movie, or another time we literally slept watching another hyped-up-for-nothing film.

Luckily, however, there are alternative venues scattered throughout this vibrant city that, believe it or not, are capable of moving beyond classic Hollywood themes and clichéd American plots, and they're committed to showcasing striking international and indie movies.

A Japanese movie tackling the theme of loss, a French movie articulating a complex love story, or an underground American movie opening our eyes to a child’s social struggles, are only some examples of the fresh plots and perspectives that might get disclosed in those stunning little indie venues.

And so, we have listed here some of the venues and centres that carry alternative and indie movies, for the next time you feel inspired to watch one that does not revolve around a neurotic New-Yorker’s addiction to shopping and dumping men.

Zawya Cinema 

Zawya is probably the one venue you may have heard of, because of its continuous activity and keeping up to date with the most recent and diverse international movies. Described as ‘the cinema for the movies that aren’t showcased in the cinema’, Zawya’s beautiful theatre will satisfy your appetite for short films, documentaries, feature films, and experimental works hailing from all over the world.

Location: Cinema Odeon, Downtown Cairo


You might know this, but apart from concerts and art galleries, Darb1718 is also a champion of underground and international movie screenings. Located in the heart of Old Cairo, the stunning building hosts screenings of all kinds of German, Danish, American movies, and a lot more.

Location: Kasr el Sham’ Street, Al Fakharein

Balcon Heliopolis  

Showcasing politically-themed movies, in addition to fantastical and philosophical ones, this rose-ornamented building houses truly mentally-provocative films that will have you cursing in fascination, rather than rolling your eyes over generic plots.

Location: 26 Sohag Street, Heliopolis

Room Art Space

Room Art Space’s 'Coffee and Film Night' will unwind your stressed mind and open it to European and other international gems in this cozy and heartwarming setting – guaranteed to help you leave your worries behind.

Location: 10 Etihaad Al Mohamin Street, Garden City

The Japan Foundation Cairo Office

Though it may sound like an unusual place to hunt for around-the-globe movies, the Japan Foundation Cairo Office occasionally screens lovely and intimate Japanese films that would be almost impossible to watch otherwise. So, if you’re in the mood to explore the mind-boggling fantastical themes from Japan, you know where to go.

Location: 106 Kasr Al Ainy Street, Garden City


3elbet Alwan

The time-lucid vintage interior of this Zamalek gem is not just for hosting musicians and spoken word poets, it's also for screening rarely-screened Egyptian as well as international movies.

Location: Ahmed Heshmat Zamalek, Giza Governorate

Life is too short – and surprisingly interesting – to spend squeezing out our hungry minds into clichéd and westernised castes, that can sometimes be very irrelevant and distant from our daily lives. This list is an invitation to explore worlds and expand the mind – something we should perhaps remember next time we're trying to book a ticket for a superhero picture at an insanely crowded movie theatre.

Watermarked images by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions
Photography by Ahmed Najeeb