Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
9 - 15 September 1999
Issue No. 446
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

A question of representation

Last month the Supreme Council for Culture organised a series of seminars on the future of the documentary film industry in Egypt. Distinguished figures in the field gave presentations and answered questions, revealing a larger picture of the crisis plaguing the industry. Ironically, perhaps, the discussions of decline took place on the dates devoted, in past years, to an international festival of short films and documentaries in Ismailia. Mohamed El-Assyouti presses rewind, back to the beginning, where the answers may lie
Giants and dwarves
Two of the earliest examples of documentary cinema in Egypt, according to Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, are the live footage recorded by two foreigners... --read on--
Documentary reality
Just as photography at its beginnings was understood as a way to reproduce reality, so was cinema conceived as a means for documenting phenomena or actions. --read on--
Ethereal agency
The word documentary has two possible translations in Arabic: watha'iqi and tasgili. The latter is in use locally, while the former is prevalent in most of the Arab world. The attitude towards this discrepancy between the two terms differs from one specialist to another. --read on--

Bored to death
Is it true that the audience's lack of enthusiasm is responsible for the largely stagnant state of the documentary film industry? Madkour Thabet and Samir Farid agree that, unfortunately, the general Egyptian public is only familiar with minor documentaries, as they are the only ones broadcast by the local television: "The wide audience only knows the films about mosques in Cairo, but documentaries where the filmmaker's vision is that of a poet are never seen... --read on--

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