An Oscar for Egypt?

Farah El Alfy
4 Min Read

CAIRO: Kharif Adam or (Adam’s Way), is the first Egyptian film ever to be short-listed in the Oscars and the Golden Globe awards. Although the chance of the film actually winning is slim,just being considered is a big step for Egypt’s film industry.

The film’s storyline is not new, based on Mohamed El-Bossaty’s 1970 novel Ibn Mout (Son of Death); the theme revolves around the concept of vendetta. The story is about a young man who is shot to death at his wedding in Upper Egypt or the “Saed. Adam, the father of the boy, wants tha’r (revenge) and plots to kill the child of someone from the murderer’s family.

What is new about this film is the human-interest angle that it brings to a familiar theme. As Adam watches Sabry (the child) grow up, from child to adolescent to man, he naturally gets attached to the boy.This makes killing him just a little more complicated, as Adam may actually feel a sort of love towards Sabry.

The side plots are quite action packed on their own as murder, suicide and rape occurs in the fields, without seeming to concern anyone. The film does not try to explain these events, rather leaving the viewer to draw his own conclusions.

The production of the film is nice, but nothing out of the ordinary. The shots are clean cut and the cinematography is conventional. The production pays close attention to detail,like aging the palm trees over the 20- year time frame.

In contrast to its international recognition, the film was not popular in Egypt and failed to find box-office success. The mainstream audience disliked the film, perhaps due to the lack of young celebrities or the classic story so familiar to local audiences. It did,however,win seven awards at the Egyptian National Cinema festival last year.

The film’s plot takes place during a politically unstable time in Egypt. It spans the period between 1947 and 1967, during which the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the 1952 revolution and the 1967 defeat all take place.Yet through out all these major changes in the country, the people of Saed are unaffected. Their social beliefs are unaltered and the concept of revenge unchanged.

Indy veteran actor Hisham Abdel Hamid, who plays the role of Adam, took the film to Hollywood on a seven-month trip, marketing it to cinemas. The film showed in movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York, which in theory allows the film to enter the Oscars in the best picture category and not only as a foreign film.

“Just taking part in these competitions is an award in itself. Even if we don’t get to take part as nominees, it is a first step for Egypt and opens the doors for other films in upcoming years, explains Abdel Hamid to the Daily Star Egypt.

The nominees of the Oscars will be announced in January 2006. Kharif Adam is now available on DVD.

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