Magazine article Screen International

Karim Hanafy Pushes Boundaries with Departure

Magazine article Screen International

Karim Hanafy Pushes Boundaries with Departure

Article excerpt

Likened to audacious filmmaker Bela Tarr, Egyptian director Karim Hanafy wowed audiences at the Cairo International Film Festival with his striking feature debut The Gate of Departure.

The festival's only Egyptian world premiere played to packed audiences, leading to a rewarding finale by winning the Silver Pyramid for Best Artistic Contribution.Pushing boundaries both in story and style, Hanafy compares the film to a haiku poem, where structure ebbs and flows in long, meditative sequences, interrupted with bursts of colour and emotion.The film opens with a haunting scene of two women walking through a graveyard, followed by a young boy longingly staring out the window. Subsequent images show a beautiful woman slowly brushing her hair, her mother cooking and then arranging candles around a vintage photo.Rather than opting for a standard narrative, Hanafy aims to create a more nuanced construction of one boy's entrapment to his mother's sadness, something he himself experienced growing up."I've had the idea of this film for many years. It was like something that I had to do. And it was always going to represent a non-linear structure that represented life through death. The feeling of going up and around, and then going back again," says Hanafy.Referencing Dutch graphic artist MCd Escher, whose sketches and lithographics broke boundaries in the 1930s, Hanafy creates each scene as if it were a film unto its own. From the specific arrangement of background objects to the constant slow movement of the camera, a reflection of art and mise-en-scène is transparent.Cinematographer Zaki Aref toys with colours, working to transpire Hanafy's notion of "four seasons, beginning in autumn, where there is darkness and sorrow, and ending in spring, where there is light. …

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