Cairo Film Festival Begins with Meryl Streep Work

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), November 12, 2015 | Go to article overview

Cairo Film Festival Begins with Meryl Streep Work


Cairo, Nov. 12 -- The 37th edition of the Cairo International Film Festival opened here on Wednesday evening with an American work, Jonathan Demme's Ricki and The Flash. That wonderful actor, Meryl Streep, plays an ageing rocker, who while chasing her dreams, abandons her family. Years later, Streep -- Linda or Ricki -- who is part of the band called The Flash is disillusioned when her role is reduced. And when her former husband calls asking her to help their suicidal daughter, Julie, get back on her feet again, Ricki travels to Indianapolis -- where old wounds have not quite healed.

Written with warmth and wit, Ricki and The Flash is not one of those heavy sob stories. The anger and rancour are dealt with subtlety -- even though there are heart-rending emotional upheavals. Ricki's son does not invite his mother to his wedding! For all this domestic storm, the movie appears light and even breezy at times. This is welcome indeed, given the festival's turbulent past, its history linked with Egypt's political instability. The festival was twice cancelled -- in 2011 and 2013 -- because of the political unrest, which the world called Arab Spring.

In 2012, many Egyptian artists boycotted the festival, because they felt that "third-rate commercial actors" had been invited at the cost of emerging talents. That year, the closing ceremony at the Opera House had to be cancelled, because of clashes at the nearby Tahrir Square. The world over, film festivals have had their share of troubles. Even the Queen of all, Cannes, had had a couple of closures -- once in the late 1960s because of workers' and students' demonstrations. Venice, the world's oldest festival, had seen many rough patches.

This year, the Abu Dhabi Film Festival drew its curtains for good. Nobody knows the actual reason. A few years ago, the festival at Doha shut down. Happily, the Dubai International Film Festival has been growing -- the closure of Abu Dhabi and Doha perhaps working in its favour -- as far as the choice and availability of movies are concerned. …

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