Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Art in Revolution

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The San Francisco International Film Festival (hosted by SF Film Society) is back for its 54th year. The festival will run from April 21st through May 5th and hold screenings throughout the city, with many of them happening in Japantown’s Kabuki Theater and New People.

This afternoon, I met up with a friend to catch Microphone, an Egyptian film about social messages communicated through street culture in present-day Alexandria – namely graffiti art, underground music, skateboarding, and documentary filmmaking. The title reflects a parallel between the plot and partial objective of the film, which is to promote street culture and its charismatic players in the urban and liberal  city of Alexandria (a city caught under the constraints of a conservative government and past). The non-linear storytelling technique used by director Ahmed Abdallah might be lost on audiences earlier on in the narrative, but if you stick it out and watch the entire film, there is a very cohesive and rewarding message, regardless of the outcome for all characters introduced.

It also didn’t hurt that the lead male character, Khaled Abou El Naga, so closely resembled McNulty from HBO’s The Wire. Here’s the teaser for the film. (I highly recommend ordering and watching the film if just for music that will give you goosebumps.)

The director was not able to attend the screening, though El Naga (who also produced the film) represented him, gave context surrounding the fruition of making this film, and answered questions from members of the audience. El Naga also addressed the serendipitous timing with the uprising in Egypt earlier this year. The film opened in Egypt on January 25th, which is now globally recognized as the official start of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. (While the video is not great, the audio is worth listening to if you’re making dinner, coffee, or just getting ready in the morning.)

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