Khalid Abdalla, left, and Ahmed Hassan in Jehane Noujaim's documentary The Square. Noujaim Films / Netflix/ AP Photo
Khalid Abdalla, left, and Ahmed Hassan in Jehane Noujaim's documentary The Square. Noujaim Films / Netflix/ AP Photo

The Square and sequels on show at Egypt’s Ismailia film festival



This November sees the return of the Cairo International Film Festival, which has been given a new lease of life under the directorship of Samir Farid, the renowned critic and Dubai International Film Festival honoree.

But before the region can welcome the revival of its oldest cinematic celebration, another prestigious – and relatively senior – event lands about 130 kilometres north-east of the Egyptian capital.

The Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries & Shorts, now into its 17th edition, kicks off tomorrow in the small city on the west bank of the Suez Canal.

Having launched in 1991, the festival has grown to become arguably the most important event of its kind in Africa and the Middle East, fuelled by a recent rise in documentary production.

Coming just a week after Egypt's presidential elections, the festival is seemingly throwing caution to the wind, offering the country's premiere of its Academy-Award-nominated documentary The Square.

"The Square is one of the more controversial films in recent Egyptian cinema memory," says Mohamed Hefzy, the Ismailia director and a prolific producer and scriptwriter, referring to Jehane Noujaim's revolutionary documentary, which was banned from Egyptian cinema just a few months ago for its perceived criticism of the military. "And we are happy to show it for the first time in Egypt," he adds.

But Hefzy says that the selection of films – picked from between 700 to 1,000 submissions – has been purely based on quality, rather than any political affiliation.

The festival will open with Jews of Egypt – End of a Journey, Amir Ramses's sequel to the acclaimed, and also controversial, 2012 documentary Jews of Egypt, which discussed Jewish involvement in Egypt during the first half of the last century and their subsequent exile.

Another noted film in the schedule is The Eighth Wonder, John Feeny's epic Egyptian documentary that narrates the story, aided by Hussein Bicar paintings, of the Ramses II temple in Abu Simbel and its move to higher land during the 1960s construction of the Aswan High Dam. The film originally premiered in Berlin in 1974, but was subsequently lost from the Egyptian Documentary Film Archive. The last surviving copy was dedicated to the New Zealand Film Archive, which supervised the digitisation of the print for the Ismailia International Film Festival.

“We’re trying to show less but be more selective,” says Hefzy of this year’s line-up.

While there may be numerous premieres among the list, the region's film-festival attendees will recognise My Love Awaits Me by the Sea, the beautifully poetic Palestinian documentary by Mais Darwazah that screened in Dubai last December. Sherief Elkatsha's Cairo Drive, which screened at last year's Abu Dhabi Film Festival, delves into Egypt's great metropolis through the eyes of its seemingly permanently gridlocked drivers. The short Xenos could be considered the follow-up to A World Not Ours, Mahdi Fleifel's superb documentary about the Ain el Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon that won in Abu Dhabi in 2012, followed by wins at a host of international film festivals.

"We feel there has been a surge in documentary filmmaking in the region," says Hefzy, who is also the co-producer and writer on From A to B, Ali F Mostafa's follow up to City of Life. "Perhaps that is due to the political changes sweeping the region and the growing number of festivals and organisations that help fund documentaries."

Among the members of the jury is the Syrian auteur Mohammad Malas, plus up-and-coming regional names such as Wael Omar (In Search of Oil and Sand) and Hala Lotfy (Coming Forth By Day).

Hefzy says the film Electro Chaabi, about a new style of music that blends traditional folk sounds with electro and freestyle rap, was last year's standout hit, firing up a long-running festival tour for its first time director Hind Meddeb. "We're hoping to find discoveries such as this one this year."

artslife@thenational.ae

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets

As You Were

Liam Gallagher

(Warner Bros)

A Bad Moms Christmas
Dir: John Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines
Two stars

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: BorrowMe (BorrowMe.com)

Date started: August 2021

Founder: Nour Sabri

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce / Marketplace

Size: Two employees

Funding stage: Seed investment

Initial investment: $200,000

Investors: Amr Manaa (director, PwC Middle East)

VEZEETA PROFILE

Date started: 2012

Founder: Amir Barsoum

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: HealthTech / MedTech

Size: 300 employees

Funding: $22.6 million (as of September 2018)

Investors: Technology Development Fund, Silicon Badia, Beco Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Saudi Technology Ventures and IFC

The specs

Engine: 2.2-litre, turbodiesel

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Power: 160hp

Torque: 385Nm

Price: Dh116,900

On sale: now

Favourite book: ‘The Art of Learning’ by Josh Waitzkin

Favourite film: Marvel movies

Favourite parkour spot in Dubai: Residence towers in Jumeirah Beach Residence

US households add $601bn of debt in 2019

American households borrowed another $601 billion (Dh2.2bn) in 2019, the largest yearly gain since 2007, just before the global financial crisis, according to February data from the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Fuelled by rising mortgage debt as homebuyers continued to take advantage of low interest rates, the increase last year brought total household debt to a record high, surpassing the previous peak reached in 2008 just before the market crash, according to the report.

Following the 22nd straight quarter of growth, American household debt swelled to $14.15 trillion by the end of 2019, the New York Fed said in its quarterly report.

In the final three months of the year, new home loans jumped to their highest volume since the fourth quarter of 2005, while credit cards and auto loans also added to the increase.

The bad debt load is taking its toll on some households, and the New York Fed warned that more and more credit card borrowers — particularly young people — were falling behind on their payments.

"Younger borrowers, who are disproportionately likely to have credit cards and student loans as their primary form of debt, struggle more than others with on-time repayment," New York Fed researchers said.

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor cricket in a nutshell
Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sept 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side
8 There are eight players per team
9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.
5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls
4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.

Zones

A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs
B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run
C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs
D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full

Superliminal

Developer: Pillow Castle Games
Publisher: Pillow Castle Games
Console: PlayStation 4&5, Xbox Series One & X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac
Rating: 4/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Results

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1hr 32mins 03.897sec

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull-Honda) at 0.745s

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 37.383s

4. Lando Norris (McLaren) 46.466s

5.Sergio Perez (Red Bull-Honda) 52.047s

6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 59.090s

7. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 1:06.004

8. Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) 1:07.100

9. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri-Honda) 1:25.692

10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:26.713,

MATCH INFO

Champions League last 16, first leg

Tottenham v RB Leipzig, Wednesday, midnight (UAE)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

WEST ASIA RUGBY 2017/18 SEASON ROLL OF HONOUR

Western Clubs Champions League
Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Runners up: Bahrain

Dubai Rugby Sevens
Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Jebel Ali Dragons

West Asia Premiership
Winners: Jebel Ali Dragons
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

UAE Premiership Cup
Winners: Abu Dhabi Harlequins
Runners up: Dubai Exiles

UAE Premiership
Winners: Dubai Exiles
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins

Last five meetings

2013: South Korea 0-2 Brazil

2002: South Korea 2-3 Brazil

1999: South Korea 1-0 Brazil

1997: South Korea 1-2 Brazil

1995: South Korea 0-1 Brazil

Note: All friendlies

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

SHOW COURTS ORDER OF PLAY

Wimbledon order of play on Saturday, July 8
All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Centre Court (4pm)
Agnieszka Radwanska (9) v Timea Bacsinszky (19)
Ernests Gulbis v Novak Djokovic (2)
Mischa Zverev (27) v Roger Federer (3)

Court 1 (4pm)
Milos Raonic (6) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas (25)
Anett Kontaveit v Caroline Wozniacki (5)
Dominic Thiem (8) v Jared Donaldson

Court 2 (2.30pm)
Sorana Cirstea v Garbine Muguruza (14)
To finish: Sam Querrey (24) leads Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-5
Angelique Kerber (1) v Shelby Rogers
Sebastian Ofner v Alexander Zverev (10)

Court 3 (2.30pm)
Grigor Dimitrov (13) v Dudi Sela
Alison Riske v Coco Vandeweghe (24)
David Ferrer v Tomas Berdych (11)

Court 12 (2.30pm)
Polona Hercog v Svetlana Kuznetsova (7)
Gael Monfils (15) v Adrian Mannarino

Court 18 (2.30pm)
Magdalena Rybarikova v Lesia Tsurenko
Petra Martic v Zarina Diyas