Egyptian satirical film wins Cannes Critics’ award

Young director Omar al-Zohairi receives the Critics’ Week top award.
Saturday 17/07/2021
A scene from the film “Feathers”.  (Facebook)
A scene from the film “Feathers”. (Facebook)

CANNES, France - The film “Feathers” by Egyptian director Omar al-Zohairi won the Critics’ Award , a competition held on the sidelines of the 74th Cannes International Film Festival.

The film, which was screened at the festival was among seven films in this competition.

The film is an Egyptian-French-Dutch-Greek co-production. It is the first feature-length work of its 33-year-old director, who also contributed to writing it.

Zohairi graduated from the Higher Institute of Cinema in Cairo, and worked as an assistant for several Egyptian directors, including Youssef Chahine and Yousry Nasrallah.

Zohairi has directed a number of short films. But the movie “Feathers” is his first feature-length production, like all the films that participated this year in the Critics’ Week competition.

The Cairo Film Festival issued a statement congratulating the film crew, saying, “The Cairo International Film Festival congratulates director Omar al-Zohairi for his film “Feathers” winning the Grand Prize in the Critics’ Week competition at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, and for achieving a great milestone for Egyptian cinema.”

The film mixes reality and fantasy, as it deals with the story of a father who decides to celebrate his eldest son’s birthday by inviting a magician to perform before the children.

Egyptian director Omar al-Zohairi. (Facebook)
Egyptian director Omar al-Zohairi. (Facebook)

The film applies satire to social and economic problems as well as to the conditions of women as it puts the spotlight on the burden borne by the mother, who becomes the sole family breadwinner after an act of magic goes wrong making her husband forever a chicken. With time, the wife who struggles for her life and that of her children becomes an independent and strong-willed woman.

In a statements he made after his film was chosen to be the recipient of a prestigious Cannes Festival award, the young Egyptian director said, “I am grateful for the circumstances that allowed my films to see the light, and I am very proud to be able to contribute along with the rest of my generation to presenting the new Egyptian cinema to the world.”

The International Critics’ Week competition showcases the first and second films of young directors from all over the world.

The Critics’ Week contest celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.

A film by Egyptian director Sameh Alaa, won the Golden Palm for the short film competition in the previous session of the festival, which was held for only three days due to the pandemic.

Egyptian film director Youssef was awarded the 1997 Cannes Film Festival General Achievement Award for all his films.