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A Movie Nerd's Guide to the Panorama of the European Film

With more than 50 movies screening all over the country, it can be hard to choose what to see. So we had our resident art nerd put together a list of the must see flicks at the 10th edition of the Panorama of the European Film.

Film and filmmaking have always had a special place in the hearts of Egyptians, but most people think that the greatest movies made in history are a) In English and b) strictly from Hollywood studios. Because most people don't really enjoy reading subtitles, they tend to neglect the masterpieces that come from non-English speaking countries, even though more often than not, foreign language films can be more moving and relatable than English ones.

Europe, for example, is the birth place of film and has been producing absolutely incredible pieces for more than a century, and those art forms have been shared in Cairo and all over Egypt since 2004 at the Panorama European Film Festival, and it's back this year for it's 10th edition.

Panorama is taking over 10 cities for the next ten days, with 47 different movies from all over Europe. The Cairo edition of the festival is going to be taking place at some of the city's favorite cultural hangouts including Zawya Cinema, Zamalek Cinema, Institute Francais D'Egypt, Gothe Institut and Cimatheqe. The movies are split up into 6 main categories. The Main Narrative Features - which are the stars of the festival - are basically a collection of European films that have gained a lot of international recognition and aim to show the diversity of the region. The Emerging Directors category, which showcases Europe's newest innovative directors. The Documentary Rendez Vous category explores an array of topics that effect European communities. The Carte Blanche category is where three Egyptian directors choose their favourite European films to be part of the festival, and finally the collaboration categories; Urban Lens: Mysterious London in collaboration with the British council, and the Special Screening in collaboration with CNC. 

It's a lot, I know. That's why I had picked only the best films for your viewing pleasure.

The Good Postman - Finland, Bulgaria

The humbling story of postman, Ivan, who decides to run for mayor of the small town he grew up in, promising to revitalise the dying village alive by welcoming refugees. Meanwhile, his opponents want to close their eyes, shut the border and reintroduce Communism. As the campaign goes on, Ivan soon learns that while good intentions are not enough, even the smallest deeds matter. 

Playing on the 8th of November at Zamalek Cinema.

A Violent Life - France

Despite the death threats hanging over his head, Stephane decides to go back to Corsica to attend the funeral of a childhood friend and former accomplice who was murdered by local gangsters. It will give him a chance to look back on the events that led him from a well-educated middle class life in Bastia into delinquency and political radicalization, and a life underground.

Playing on the 8th of November at the Zamalek Cinema. 

King of the Belgians - Belgium, Netherlands, Bulgaria

The King of the Belgians is on a state visit in Istanbul when his country falls apart. He must return home at once to save his kingdom. But a solar storm causes airspace and communications to shut down. No planes. No phones. With the help of a British filmmaker and a troupe of Bulgarian folk singers, the King and his entourage manage to escape over the border. Thus begins an odyssey across the Balkans during which the King discovers the real world - and himself.

Playing on the 9th of November at the Zaywa Cinema 

Loving Vincent - UK, Poland

On 27th July 1890 a gaunt figure stumbled down a drowsy high street at twilight in the small French country town of Auvers. The man was carrying nothing; his hands clasped to a fresh bullet wound leaking blood from his belly. This was Vincent van Gogh, then a little known painter, now one of the most famous artists in the world. His tragic death has long been known but what has remained a mystery is how and why he came to be shot. The world’s first fully oil painted feature film tells that story.

Playing on the 10th of November at Zaywa Cinema

I Am Not Your Negro - Switzerland, France, Belgium, USA

In 1979 renowned US writer James Baldwin began work on his last, unfinished text, Remember This House. His personal memories of his three murdered civil rights activist friends Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King and his reflections on his own painful experiences as a black American serve to re-write American history. Raoul Peck has turned these thirty hitherto unpublished pages into a powerful collage of archive photographs, excerpts from films and newsreel footage, taking us on a journey into black history.

Playing on the 11th of November at Zawya Cinema.

Easy - Italy, Ukraine

Isidoro, known by everyone as Easy, is lonely and depressed. His career as a young go-kart driver was interrupted, after gaining so much weight. So he went back to live with his mother, and passes his days watching TV and eating diet food. One day, his brilliant and successful brother Filo turns up with a job offer for him. A simple job that will get Easy out of the house and be behind the steering-wheel again: he has to take a coffin from Italy to a small village in the Carpathians, in Ukraine. But this journey to an unknown land turns out to be much more complicated than planned.

Playing on the 12th of November at Zamalek Cinema

In Praise of Nothing - Serbia

A satirical documentary parable about Nothing, in which Nothing, tired of being misunderstood, comes to address us for the first and the last time. Researched through 20,000 pages of a most eclectic bibliography, filmed by dozens of established and amateur cinematographers through an anonymous online brainstorming process; narrated - in simple childish verse - by Iggy Pop. Suspension of disbelief guaranteed.

Playing on the 13th of November at the Zaywa Cinema

School Life - Ireland, Spain

A year in the life of two passionate and inspirational teachers in the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland. For John, Rock Music is just another subject alongside Maths, Scripture and Latin, taught in a collaborative and often hilarious fashion. For Amanda, the key is books and she uses all means to engage the minds of her young charges with literature. For nearly half a century these two have shaped thousands of minds but now they must start making preparations for their retirement.

Playing on the 13th of November at Zamalek Cinema

Night and the City - UK, USA

One of the collaboration films with the British Council, a 1950s British film noir. In London, two-bit hustler Harry Fabian longs for “a life of ease and plenty.” Trailed by an inglorious history of go-nowhere schemes, he tries to hatch a lucrative plan with a famous wrestler. But there is no easy money in this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh, and Fabian soon learns the horrible price of his ambition.

Playing on the 14th of November at Zawya Cinema

Stranger in Paradise - Netherlands

Three groups of refugees just arrived in the Netherlands are "interviewed" by actor Valentijn Dhaenens, who is impersonating a social worker. He explains to the first group how much they’re costing, the risks they bring, and why Europeans don’t want them. To the second, an idyllic picture is painted in which they will be welcomed with open arms. The third group is asked bureaucratic questions regarding the right to asylum. Three approaches, a mirror of our failed responses in the face of human despair: rejection, idealism, indifference.

Playing at on the 14th of November at Zamalek Cinema

The Young Karl Marx - Germany, France, Belgium

At the age of 26, Karl Marx embarks with his wife Jenny on the road to exile. In Paris, in 1884, they meet young Friedrich Engels, son of a factory owner, who’s studied the sordid beginnings of the English proletariat. Engels, the dandy, brings Karl Marx the missing piece to the puzzle that composes his new vision of the world. Together, between censorship and police raids, riots and political upheavals, they will lead the labour movement during its development into a modern era.
Playing on the 15th of November at Zaywa Cinema

The Nothing Factory - Portugal

One night, a group of workers realises that the administration is stealing machines and raw materials from their own factory. As they organise to survey the equipment and block the relocation of the production, they are forced to stand in their posts with no work to be done, as a form of retaliation, while the negotiations for a general lay-off go on. The pressure leads to a general breakdown of the workers along the collapse of the world around them.

Playing on the 16th of November at the Zamalek Cinema

The Other Side of Hope - Finland, Germany 

Khaled is a Syrian refugee seeking for asylum in Helsinki, without much hope of success. Wikström is a travelling salesman peddling ties and men’s shirts. Turning his back on his trade, he decides to end his marriage, change his occupation and open a restaurant. One day he discovers Khaled sleeping in the dark backyard behind his restaurant. He provides him with a bed and a job. For a while, these two band together with the restaurant’s waitress, the chef and his dog to form a utopian union.

Playing on the 17th of November at Zaywa Cinema  

Adama - France

In 1916, 12-year-old Adama lives in a remote West African village. Beyond the cliffs lies the World of Wind, where the Nassaras reign. One night, his older brother Samba disappears. Defying the village elders, Adama decides to set off in search of him. With the steadfast determination of a child coming of age, he embarks on a quest that takes him over the seas, to the North, to the frontline of the First World War.

Playing on the 17th of November at the Institute Francais 

The Divine Order - Switzerland

Switzerland, 1971. Nora is a young housewife and mother who lives with her husband and their two sons in a peaceful little village. Here, in the Swiss countryside, little or nothing is felt of the huge social upheavals that the movement of May 1968 has caused. Nora's life, too, has been unaffected - she is a retiring, quiet person, well liked by everyone - until she begins to campaign publicly and pugnaciously for women's right to vote, an issue that will be put before the male voters on February 7th, 1971.

Playing on the 18th of November at the Zamalek Cinema.

Check out the full schedule here