Egypt's 37th International Film Festival opens in Cairo

Nov 23, 2015 The 37th Cairo International Film Festival recently kick-started with a lavish ceremony attended by stars of stage and screen.

The festival, which paid tribute to late Egyptian stars, Faten Hamama and Omar Sharif, featured 120 films from around the world.

Hamama, who in her prime was considered the Middle East’s biggest female star, passed on in January of this year at the age of 83. She was married to Oscar-winning actor, Omar Sharif, best known for his portrayal of Doctor Zhivago in the classic 1966 film and for his work in “Lawrence of Arabia”.

Omar died of a heart attack in July 2015, a few months after Hamama’s death.

Speaking at the event, their son Tarek, who played the role of Yuri in “Doctor Zhivago” said:

“I have mixed feelings, I’m very sad mainly about what’s happening today, it’s both my parents. So I know a lot of people lost film stars, I lost my parents this year. I would much rather not give interviews, I’m trying to put a brave face, but it’s not overall pleasant for me,”

Also speaking during the ceremony, Egyptian actress, Dalia el-Behery, said Hamama played a pivotal role in promoting women.

“I want to talk about the symbol of the festival this year, the great artist, Faten Hamama. It is not just tribute to women in cinema, it is a general tribute to Egyptian women,”

In honor of her contribution to Egyptian cinema, organizers of the festival also commemorated her work by naming an award after her.

Veteran Egyptian actor, Hussein Fahmy, was the first to win the Faten Hamama Honorary award for his work in Arabic-language movies like “Beware Of Zouzou”, “The Fugitive”, “Shame”, and “Playing With Giants”.

While accepting the prize, he said he was saddened by the recent plane crash in Egypt.

“I think this is a message to the world: that Egypt is a peaceful country. You will discover this when you go among the Egyptians and you visit Sharm al-Sheikh. And you take a Nile cruise to Luxor and Aswan. You get to know the real Egypt. Maybe the plane has fallen, but Egypt will never fall,”

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