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Chinese film defies critics and wins the Golden Pyramid
Published in Daily News Egypt on 10 - 12 - 2006

Egyptian film Cut & Paste is another big winner at the 30th Cairo Film Festival
CAIRO: Chinese film The Road, came out the clear winner at the 30th Cairo International Film Festival, taking home two prizes and the Jury s Special Mention in a lackluster closing ceremony Friday.
The tearjerker, following the story of a sacrificing woman set against the backdrop of political developments in China over the course of 40 years, received the Golden Pyramid for best film and received the Best Actress Prize for Zhang Jingchu and a Special Mention from the Jury for actor Fan Wei.
The Chinese victory marked a successful round for the festival with a simple, low-key ceremony that polarized some critics with its modest quality and the jury s choice of winners.
Even the group of young Egyptian artists who presented the awards, including Menna Shalaby and Dalia El-Beheiry couldn t add much zest to the event.
The ceremony started with a small feature that chronicled highlights of this year s festival followed by a short speech by festival president Ezzat Abu Ouf who appeared exhausted.
Abu Ouf, along with honorary president Omar Sherif, gave away the awards at the star studded Opera House main hall.
The debonair star of such classics as "Dr. Zhivago and "Lawrence of Arabia easily stole the show as he gracefully glided on stage in the spirit of a 20-year-old.
The other big winner of the night was Egyptian director Hala Khalil s sophomore effort Qass We Lazq (Cut and Paste) that won the Naguib Mafouz Prize, awarded for best first or second work for a director.
The film that follows the aspirations and disappointments of young Egyptians also shared the Best Arabic Film Prize, a LE 100,000 check presented by the ministry of culture, with the Algerian Barakat .
Directed by Djamila Sahrouai, Barakat is an intense Drama about a physician searching for a kidnapped soldier in war-torn 1990s Algeria.
The Silver Pyramid, the Special Jury Prize for best film, went to the Sri Lankan film Sankara, about a Buddhist monk battling between desire and morality.
The best actor award went to the young Argentinean actor Nicholás Mateo for his role in La Velocidad Funda el Olvido (Speed Begets Oblivion). The film, identified by some critics as the best film in the festival, tells the story of a young man s journey to find his mother, erase his old memories and start a brand new life.
Iranian Director Khosro Masoumi won the Best Director award for directing Jayee Dar Dour-Dasti (Somewhere Too Far) about the tribulations facing a young man trying to marry the daughter of a woodcutting mobster.
The Hungarian film A Het Nyolcadik Napja (The Eighth Day of the Week) won the Saad El Din Wahba Prize for best script. The film tells the story of a 70-year-old newly homeless retired ballerina who finds love in a relationship that resurrects her life.
The International Critics Jury (FIPRESCI) prize went to the Mexican film La Ultima Mirada (The Last Gaze) about the two parallel lives of a painter on the verge of losing his sight and a young girl attempting to escape her life as a maid working in a brothel.
The best artistic contribution for cinematography, editing, music composition and art direction were all, unlike previous years, presented in the shape of one award to the Indian film Omkara, a Bollywood adaptation of Shakespeare s Othello.
The Italian Sotto La Stessa Luna (Beneath the Same Moon) took home the first prize of the digital feature lengths films competition, which inaugurated the awards ceremony.
The second prize went to the British film Everything.

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