Egypt / The film “Hamlet from the Slums is chosen for the Cannes Festival’s Atelier

An Egyptian film, Hamlet from the Slums directed by Ahmed Fawzi Saleh, has been selected for the Atelier du Festival de Cannes. This year 15 projects from 15 countries are taking part in this programme. It was created in 2005 to “encourage creative cinema and help a new generation of international film-makers emerge.” Over 18 years, 231 projects have been supported, helping directors access the international co-production sector.

Atelier Cannes 2022

Adapted from Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet from the Slums is about 18-year-old Ahmed, living in a Cairo slum. An urban redevelopment project threatens the shanty town and the lives of its inhabitants. Following the mysterious death of his father, Ahmed urgently has to find a place for himself in this patriarchal world. When his father, appearing as a ghost, tells him to avenge his death, Ahmed embarks on an existential quest.

Ahmed Fawzi Saleh wanted to put the inhabitants of this slum in a film because “this is where I lived for ten years. The people here are unconventional heroes – simply living their daily lives is a heroic feat. I want to pay homage to their existence.” The director also chose to create a Sufi character. For him this religious practice “is the only way […] to survive the violent reality of an oppressive patriarchal world.” He adds that “its abundance of colours” make “this form of spirituality cinematographic

The Cannes Atelier is not the first festival to chose Hamlet from the Slums. At the 4th Gouana Film Festival the film received an award of $20,000 from the Egyptian streaming platform Shahid as well as $10,000 from Sparkle Media Services.

The complete list of films selected for the Cannes Festival Atelier is available here.

Sources : L’Atelier, Cairo Scene, Torino Film Lab, El Gouna

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