Egypt's Winter of Discontent receives standing ovation in Venice

Ibrahim El Batout's film is competing in the Orizzonti section at the 69th Venice Film Festival

Events and Festivals, Egypt

Egypt's Winter of Discontent receives standing ovation in Venice

Egyptian film director Ibrahim El Batout had a particularly personal motive that drove him to shoot his raw, eye-opening drama that premiered in Venice on Saturday. 

"In 1996 my brother, who was working with me in Bosnia, was stopped at the airport by state security and tortured naked for 15 days for no reason," said the former television cameraman, who has covered 12 wars and turned to features after being shot twice.

When the Tahrir Square uprising took place, and dictator Hosni Mubarak fell, El Batout’s first concern was to make a movie that could "keep people from ever being tortured again”.

The result, Winter of Discontent, was screened in the Orizzonti competition at the 69th Venice Film Festival on Saturday, where it received four long minutes of standing ovation.

Winter of Discontent, which intertwines the lives of a tortured activist computer whiz, a state security officer, and a television anchor woman, is set during, and immediately after, the revolution. It’s the first production from Cairo-based Zad, launched by Amr Waked, who also stars in the film. Swipe Films is handling international sales.

There are plans to release Winter of Discontent in cinemas in Egypt despite concerns that some exhibitors may try to limit its exposure because they are still pro-Mubarak, Waked said.

El Batout said Egypt is still grappling with the transition from military rule to democracy: "We are still learning. We are trying to discover how we can go there, but we are not there."

An exclusive interview with Egyptian director Ibrahim El Batout will soon be available on the Euromed Audiovisual website.


Sources: www.variety.com and www.vancouversun.com


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