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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - JEDDAH — A retrospective at the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival is to honor the pioneering Egyptian film director, Khairy Bishara. The filmmaker is one of the key proponents of neo-realism in Egypt and the Arab World in the 1980s, and the originator of the 1990s youthful cinema and folk fantasy films.
Bishara will attend public screenings of his films in Historic Jeddah, alongside many Egyptian film stars and artists involved in his work.
The Red Sea Film Festival Foundation has remastered and restored nine of Bishara's films including, Floater Number 70 (1982), The Collar and the Bracelet (1986), Sweet Day, Bitter Day (1988), Crab (1990), Ice Cream In Gleam (1992), Strawberry War (1993), and Traffic Light (1995).
Part of the Red Sea Film Festival Foundation’s key tasks is conserving the cinematic legacy of Arab and international cinema.
"Khairy Bishara is considered one of the main pillars of Egyptian cinema. His work has inspired countless directors of the new generation," said Festival Director Mahmoud Sabbagh.
"Bishara's films portray deep human meanings and adopt bold and original techniques. With this celebration, we aim to express our gratitude towards Khairy Bishara for his incredible body of work, and to honor Egyptian cinema and its pioneering work."
In addition to the remastering program, the festival will publish a biography about Bishara, including unseen archival photographs. The book is edited by film critic Mohammed Sayyed Abdel Raheem.
In 1967, Bishara graduated from Cairo Higher Institute of Cinema, where he studied under the guidance of highly-esteemed directors such as Salah Abu Seif, Youssef Chahine, and Tewfik Saleh.
He made his debut film The Tanks' Hunter in 1974, and directed more than ten distinctive documentaries and short films during the 1970s, garnering him the title "Star of Documentary Cinema."
In the 1980s, Bishara directed Floater Number 70 (1982), which is considered the cornerstone of the "neo-realist" movement in Egypt. He worked on films alongside many well-known writers such as Abdel Rahman El-Abnudi for The Collar and the Bracelet (1986) and Fayiz Ghaly for Sweet Day, Bitter Day (1988), and collaborated with film stars such as Ahmed Zaki, Sherihan, and Faten Hamama.
In the 1990s, Bishara instigated folk fantasy films, including Crab (1990), into Arab cinema.
The inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival will take place March 12-21, 2020. The Bishara retrospective will present many of his widely-acclaimed works for the first time in Saudi Arabia.
"We shall present the local audience with the opportunity to watch films that have long been part of its collective memory," said Festival Director Sabbagh. He added, “Now shown in updated and remastered versions on fully-equipped cinema screens, enabling the public to gain a fully cinematic experience." — SG
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