The Traveller Opens Middle East Film Festivle

the travellerOnce again Egyptian movies get leading screenings in international movie festivals this year. The Egyptian movie ‘The Traveller’ (El Mosafer) has been the main film screening in the opening of the Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF) in its third round in Abu Dhabi, yesterday.  

The Traveller is starring the international movie star Omar el Sherif, Khaled el Nabawy, Bassma, and Ceryine Abdelnour has given the festival a big star it being the Opening Night Gala Premiere. It is directed by Ahmed Maher, who has not worked on any long movies before this one. 

The movie is a very important project for the Egyptian cinema industry as it is a return project for Omar el Sherif who has not participated in any Egyptian movie for some 14 years and it is produced by the Egyptian Ministry of Education with a huge budget of 20 million Egyptian pounds.    

The movie is the story of a man who travels on a journey where he returns nostalgically  to the memories of his homeland. The film is in the form of narrative told by El Sherif’s voice during the movie. 

 It shows the personality of the of the hero in three sages of life, the youth and adulthood played by Khaled el Nabawy and the old age played by El Sherif, appearing in the last third section of the movie.  

The movie tried to embody the competition between the different timings and changes in peoples’ personalities by showing the journey of Hassan (el Nabawy) through three specific timings, marking important events in the history of Egypt and the Arab world.  

‘El Mosafer’ begins with the arrival of Hassan (el Nabawy) to Port Said on a ship coming from Europe in 1948, where he meets a young woman, Nora and is attracted to her. The movie then proceeds to the year 1973, at the time of Yom Kippur War, in Alexandria when Hassan meets Nadia, Nora’s daughter, who he thinks is his own child. Later the movie takes place during the year 2001, after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, where Hassan(El Sherif) meets Ali, Nadia’s son when again he thinks he is his grandchild but denies it because of feature differences specially Ali’s nose. 

The movie has risen a lot of controversies evident in the script, where Egyptian journalists and movie critics have described the movie as a catastrophe for the Egyptian

cinema. They saw in the movie specially through the rape scene at the beginning of the movie by Hassan to Nora to show that he loves her, as a way of cementing the West’s ideas of the Eastern man of badly treating women and regarding them as second class citizens who do not have rights.  

Others have criticized the fact that the movie had emphasized the events through three specific dates but there was no evident relationship between them or an understandable series of events, making the movie hard to understand for the viewers.

Despite this criticism of the movie other journalists have found that the movie rearranged personal understandings of life, death, love, lust, and bravery and that it created a state of inner peace felt by the audience through the main characters for not to regret what had happened during the journey of life.  

‘The Traveller’ is competing in the ( MEIFF)  for the black pearl prize along with 18 other movies from Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Iran, Australia, Palestine, and China.  

The festival will last until the 17th of October.  

-By Mennatallah Fouad Youssef 

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