Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
1 - 7 June 2000
Issue No. 484
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues


Pack of Cards

By Madame Sosostris

* I shudder to think how difficult it is for young people to do their own thing in cinema. It is such an expensive proposition that many talents are lost just because they are better artists than businessmen or simply because opportunity refused to knock. Well, some young people have decided to take their fate into their own hands and this is the result: Habbet Sokkar (A Pinch of Sugar) is the title of the debut feature film produced and directed by Hatem Farid, a young man in his mid-20s who recently graduated from the Brooks Film Institute in California.

To accomplish his project, Hatem recruited the free-of-charge help of photography director Ashraf El-Badrawi, music composer Wael El-Badrawi and young actors Caroline Khalil, Lana Youssef, Zeinab, Mohamed El-Bitar, Hisham Abul-Azm, Ahmed Hegazi, Mohamed Fathi, Noha Farouk, Rabab Hosni, Hoda Farid, Ahmed Samir, Tarek El-Ghazouli, Na'el Seddiq, Hani El-Sabbagh and Ashraf Helmi. Though shot on digital video on a very low budget, Habbet Sokkar, which received no support from the mainstream industry, aspires to be the first truly independent Egyptian film. One thing is sure, though: Habbet Sokkar is probably the first film in the history of Egyptian cinema to be written, shot and edited from beginning to end by members of the young generation -- who are also its subject matter. At 9.00pm on Sunday 4 June, it will be previewed at the Renaissance Wonderland.

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Ibrahim Nafie * Chairman of the Board and Editor-in-Chief of Al-Ahram Ibrahim Nafie took time off his busy schedule to accompany Dubai's crown prince and defence minister Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum through the streets of Fatimid Cairo, Khan Al-Khalili and several other of Cairo's most celebrated landmarks. Sheikh Mohamed was here with his two sons, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed, to participate in Al-Ahram Al-Arabi's international horse endurance race. Riding on Fellah, Sheikh Mohamed finished first in the 100km desert course near the Pyramids. After their walk along Al-Mu'izz Street, Nafie and the prince were observed resting at the famous Al-Fishawi Café, enjoying a refreshing glass of mint tea.

Rushdi Said * Our very dear corespondent in Washington, Thomas Gorguissian, whose articles you have often had the privilege of reading on our more serious pages, last week attended the birthday of a special friend and valuable contributor to Al-Ahram Weekly, and wanted me to know all about it: What Thomas wrote was so nicely put that I thought I would just reproduce his letter for your eyes only: "The author of a colossal book about the Nile, Dr Rushdi Said, recently entered the ninth decade of his rich life. The former director of the Egyptian Geological Survey and member of parliament celebrated his 80th birthday twice in Washington last month. Once in Zorba Café with close friends -- a group of Egyptians who gather there from time to time to discuss all Egypt-related issues. The second celebration, the real party -- with food, drinks, a birthday cake and best wishes from a larger group of people -- was at his daughter Sawsan's home in Great Falls, Virginia on 13 May, the day after his real birthday. Dr Rushdi, accompanied by his beloved wife Dr Wedad, and his sister who came from Egypt especially for the occasion, Dr Karim, his son, his daughter, Dr Sawsan, and his grandchildren, all had a great time. The good news is that Dr Rushdi has already finished writing his autobiography.

Those who had the luck to read the manuscript consider it absolutely fantastic. The Arabic original version of Rihlat Omr is expected to be published soon, and an English version, 'A Life's Journey,' is also now underway." Needless to say, I can't wait; and probably, neither can you, dears, especially if, like me, you read The Nile.

Holy Family * As you well know, this year we are commemorating the Holy Family's flight into Egypt. Friends from overseas have joined in the festivities, like St Mark's Coptic Church in Scotland, which is organising several celebratory events for its congregation; these include a visual display covering the various sites through which the family passed, or in which they rested, besides an exhibition of the paintings of our dear impressionist artist and caricaturist George Bahgory, the screening of a documentary film, and various lectures dealing with relevant topics such as The Roots of Egyptian Christianity and Eastern Influences on Celtic Christianity.

* Hear ye, hear ye: On 1 June, Prince and Princess Takamado, Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and Japanese Ambassador to Cairo Takaya Suto will inaugurate Japan Culture Week 2000 at the Mubarak Public Library. During the event, organised by the Japan Foundation in Cairo in cooperation with the Cairo Opera House, the Embassy of Japan, its cultural centre and the Mubarak Public Library, several unique events will be held.

On 3 June, a jazz concert by Unit Semba will take place at the Small Hall of the Opera House. The group is made up of Kiyohiko Semba, one of the leading drum players in Japan, Benisuke Sakai and Nobuo Nakahara, two talented bass players. Especially for this concert, African percussionist Latyr Sy will join them.

Meanwhile, the Mubarak Public Library is hosting the World Heritage in Japan exhibition. The exhibition, lasting until 12 June, showcases 55 outstanding historic sites in Japan, such as the Shirakami-Sanchi mountain range, Yaku-Shima Island and the Horyu-ji temple. The photos are from the collection of Kazuyoshi Miyoshi, a prominent Japanese photographer.

* Our dear colleague Mergawi Abdel-Wahab has just been celebrating. The occasion? The wedding of his daughter, Wafaa, to a colleague from Al-Ahram's microfilm department, Hanafi Abdel-Hamid. A lovely reception, which took place on the river boat Alaaeddin, followed the "writing of the book." We do wish all the best to the happy couple.

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