By Menna Zaki
The Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries opened Tuesday with “End of a Journey” the second part of the sequel “Jews of Egypt”, an award-winning documentary about Egypt’s Jewish exodus in the 20th Century.
The festival kicked off Tuesday and will continue until 8 June.
“End of a Journey” is a completion of “Jews of Egypt”, a documentary directed by Amir Ramses about the lives of Jews that used to live in Egypt during the first half of the twentieth century. The Egyptian Jewish Community has fallen from 80,000 to less than 40 during the past ninety years. The documentary recounts their grand exodus after the tripartite attack of 1956, and discusses the drastic change in the Egyptian society since then, from a society that fully accepted the presence of Jews to a society that rejects them.
The documentary focuses also on the rise of the state of Israel in 1948, the Egyptian Revolution in 1952 and the tripartite attack that forced many Jews into exile. It is mainly based on personal testimonies from researchers, political figures and exiled Egyptian Jews who lived in Egypt during that time and live now in different places across Europe. It also stresses the differences in Egyptian views on Jews during 1990s and now.
“Jews of Egypt” was banned in 12 March 2013 by Egyptian National Security one day before its release in the cinemas. According to Ramses and the film’s producer, Haitham Al Khameesy, they were told that the “screening of the film threatens national security”.
According to Ramses, the film was requested in many international film festivals.
The documentary was largely self funded by Ramses and Al Khameesy and was directed by the latter, who started shooting in 20009 for release in January 2013.
Ramses has directed more than 15 films including documentaries and fiction features. He won the Best Film Award in FiFej in Tunisia and the Egyptian national Film Festival 2001.