Egypt will become the Cannes Film Festival’s first guest country at this year’s event which opens on May 11, reported Agence-France Presse.
The festival organizers announced that they hoped to make the invitation of a “Country of Honor” an annual event.
“Egypt has informed the world of its need to change the course of history and of its need for freedom, while demonstrating its collective strength and expressing its desire for democracy,” read a statement released by the organizers.
The North African nation “will also be welcomed as a country with a strong history in film, whose presence in Cannes has always been justified,” it said.
Egyptian cinema has been a tour de force for many decades in the Arab world so the spotlight on its contribution at Cannes seems well deserved.
The invite is being seen as Cannes’ tribute to mark the recent reforms in the country.
The main event will be a screening of the movie “18 Days,” shot by 10 filmmakers in the months after the January 25 revolution. It is a compilation of stories witnessed or imagined or heard of by the filmmakers, who include Sherif Arafa, Yousry Nasrallah and Marwan Hamed.
Cannes will also host a celebration 18 May to commemorate the late Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Shahin. The Egyptian Minister of Culture Emad Abu Ghazy is to attend the event.
A special screening of the 1968 movie “The Postman” by Hussein Kamal will also be held.
The Cannes line-up includes the screening of the documentary “Plus Jamais Peur” by Mourad Ben Cheikh on the Tunisian revolution, which preceded Egypt’s.
The Cannes Film Festival is one of the oldest and most respected festivals of its kind. This year marks its 64th year, and the president of the festival’s jury is the acclaimed actor Robert De Niro.
(Muna Khan of Al Arabiya can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)