Al-Ahram Weekly Online   3 - 9 May 2012
Issue No. 1096
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Madame Sosostris
Pack of Cards
By Madame Sosostris

By Lubna Abdel-Aziz


By Madame Sosostris

Professor Bruce Alberts gave a seminar at the Semiramis InterContinental Hotel under the auspices of the American Embassy in Cairo -- an event held in the framework of reinforcing cooperation between the two countries in science, Al-Ahram Weekly environment editor Mahmoud Bakr reports. Alberts referred to President Barack Obama's 2009 speech at Cairo University, in which he said that the United States was committed to greater scientific collaboration with Egypt.

Alberts also stated that the US Embassy works closely with the Egyptian government and local institutions to strengthen science education, encourage innovation and provide opportunities for women and girls.

Bruce Alberts is a prominent biochemist committed to the improvement of science and mathematics education; he edits a scientific magazine and is one of President Obama's first three science envoys. Alberts is also a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, has served two six-year terms as the president of the National Academy of Science (NAS).

Last Sunday, the American University in Cairo Press -- represented by Nabila Akl and Mark Linz -- celebrated the new AUC Press publication Homecoming: Sixty Years of Egyptian Short Stories, which brings together a number of short stories selected and translated by Denys Johnson-Davies. The celebration that took place at Caf³© Riche, downtown, was crowned by the presence of senior novelists such as Bahaa Taher, Mohamed El-Makhzangi, Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid, Said El-Kafrawi, Nesma Youssef Edriss and Khaled El-Gazzar, along with Johnson-Davies himself -- celebrating his 90th birthday.

Short story writing in Egypt was still in its infancy when Johnson-Davies, described by Edward Said as "the leading Arabic-English translator of our time", arrived in Cairo as a young man in the 1940s.

Òôï The Actors Syndicate, headed by Ashraf Abdel-Ghafour, held a seminar at the River Club condemning the recent religious-contempt charges brought against artists, notably the prison sentence faced by comedy superstar Adel Imam for his life's work.

The keynote speakers were actors Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz, Elham Shahine, Yossra, Khaled El-Sawy, Mohamed Abu Dawoud and Sameh El-Sereiti, who addressed actors, directors and media figures as well as American University in Cairo professor Sabri El-Shabrawi.

Turkish Ambassador to Egypt H³¡seyin Avni Botsali and his wife held a grand celebration for Egyptian and Turkish children at the garden of their Giza residence.

The event featured folk dances and singing as well as a clown show accompanied by a feast of Turkish and Egyptian cuisine.

Some 500 children from various Egyptian and Turkish schools around Egypt participated, with attendance from diplomats and their families.

1/2 Revolution, a film co-directed by Karim El-Hakim and Omar Shargawi, won the Golden Award in the full-length category at the eighth Al-Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival, beating 17 other documentary films in the same category. Shargawi received the award which was presented by Hamad bin Thamer, the chairman of Al-Jazeera network, together with Mouncef Marzouqi, the Tunisian president, in the presence of a large number of documentary filmmakers. 1/2 Revolution is the first documentary to deal with the 25 January Revolution as an incomplete one, reflecting the current political situation of Egypt and calls for resuming the revolution and the fulfillment of its demands.

In the last six months the film has travelled around the world, taking part in 14 Arab and international festivals; it was screened twice in Egypt, first as the opening film of the eighth Rencontres de l'image Film Festival, organised at the French Cultural Centre in Mounira, Cairo, and more recently at Darb 1718 Culture Centre. The documentary was also screened at the eighth Dubai International Film Festival in December 2011; it was the first Egyptian film to take part in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in the United States. It also took part in the Trondheim International Film Festival in Norway, the Rio Documentary Film Festival in Brazil, the Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival in Greece, the Gothenburg Film Festival in Sweden and the True/False Film Festival in Missouri.

The documentary is due to be screened at the upcoming Belfast Film Festival, held during the first two weeks of June in Northern Ireland.

The film is a personal, intimate story from the Arab Spring, in which a group of friends living in downtown Cairo struggle to stay together during the first, chaotic days of the revolution. As waves of protests escalate in their neighbourhood, next to Tahrir Square, directors Shargawi and El-Hakim take to the streets to capture the historic events unfolding around them.

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