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Egypt’s ‘Feathers’ Dominates Critics’ Awards For Arab Films

Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy’s absurdist social satire “Feathers,” in which the good-for-nothing husband of a woman with three children is turned into a chicken, is the big winner of the sixth edition of the Critics’ Awards for Arab Films.

The biting black comedy, winner of last year’s Cannes Critics’ Week prize, scooped best film, director and screenplay at the prizes organized by Cairo-based Arab Cinema Centre (ACC) and voted on by 167 film critics from 68 countries, who viewed the films on Festival Scope.

Nominees are chosen among Arab-language films that premiered on the festival circuit outside of the Arab world in 2021. The awards were announced on Sunday in Cannes.

“Feathers,” which took six years to get to the big screen, was produced by Juliette Lepoutre from Still Moving (France), in co-production with Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic (Egypt), Shahinaz Al Akkad from Lagoonie Film (Egypt), Derk-Jan Warrink and Koji Nelissen from Kepler Film (The Netherlands), Giorgos Karnavas and Konstantinos Kontovrakis from Heretic (Greece), and Verona Meier.

Variety in its review praised Feathers as a “tremendously impressive and complete feature debut.”

Palestinian thesps dominated the acting awards with Maisa Abd Elhadi winning actress for her daring performance in Hany Abu-Assad’s feminist Bethlehem-set thriller “Huda’s Salon,” and Ali Suliman scoring best actor for Egyptian director Mohamed Diab’s “Amira” about Palestinian children conceived behind bars with smuggled sperm.

The best doc gong went to Syria-born Palestinian filmmaker Abdallah Al-Khatib’s “Little Palestine, Diary Of A Siege” which looks at the lives of Palestinian refugees living in the district of Yarmouk in Damascus, Syria.

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