Cinema is the closest thing we have to magic. Inside this world, anything we dream of can come true; superheroes exist, people find true love, and everyone lives happily ever after. But that's not the only kind of magic cinema has to offer; it also sheds light on invisible heroes in everyday life, people with real stories that we should be paying attention to.
This year's El Gouna Film Festival displayed this idea by using the Cinema for Humanity theme, and an exceptional movie was shown for the first time in Egypt titled Yomeddime, which portrays the life and struggle of an Egyptian man with leprosy and documents his journey to find his family and home. The movie, which received the Cinema for Humanity Award and Best Narrative Film Award in the festival, had been selected earlier to compete in the Cannes Film Festival.
In the past few years, artistic cinema has been struggling to survive the strong wave of mainstream high-budget movies, which get the lion’s share of the exposure while every year many Egyptian filmmakers make low budget movies but fail to introduce them to a large audience due to a lack of financing. The problem is that large production companies do not want to invest in such artistic movies anymore; they all want to create the same lame stereotypical movies they have been making for the past two or three decades, and as a result, our cinema industry has declined and the available movies are not even worth watching.
The way around it…
The only proper solution we have as an audience who simply want a better film industry is to support independent and low budget movies. For example, by going to the movie theater and seeing Yomeddine, we will be encouraging the film crew to go on and continue making movies about real issues in our society. In general, we should support the ideas that relate to us and reflect something about ourselves and our lives.
What does this mean for Egyptian cinema?
In my opinion, I believe that this could mark the beginning of a new era for the industry, which will enable young filmmakers to tell real stories that reach the public audience. The more we support these kinds of films, the more investments they will receive, and then the Egyptian film industry will thrive once more.