Egyptian film Feathers garners mixed reviews in Egypt despite Cannes success
An Egyptian feature film about poverty called 'Feathers' has prompted both accolades and criticism over its representation of Egypt.
The film was screened in the North African country for the first time at the fifth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival in the Red Sea coast, where it won the award for best Arab narrative film but drew criticism from some Egyptians for its depiction of poverty.
The dark comedy film, which follows the story of a woman whose husband is transformed into a chicken, had also won the coveted Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, as well as the Fipresci prize.
Actor Sherif Moneer walked out of the screening and told local media that the film presented Egypt "negatively", while others praised the director, Omar El Zohairy, for presenting the country’s social issues in a way that viewers understood.
"I walked out because I saw exaggerated pictures that distorted our image – a family living in torment, and filth. This made me feel very upset," Moneer told a chat show in a phone call, The Times reported.
"I always knew that Feathers was going to be a difficult film to get everybody to like…especially here in Egypt," producer Mohamed Hefzy told The National.
Elsewhere on social media, reactions to the movie were mixed.
Sana, who studies sociology in the University of Oxford tweeted: "Reactions to award-winning Feathers at GFF shows that the movie did not only succeed in providing social commentary on exorbitant rates of economic poverty, but has also -unintentionally- succeeded in pointing out poverty in intellectual and moral depth within elite circles."
Another Twitter user who goes by the handle @NaNervana added: "The Egyptian movie #Feathers is not just political its also pointing out about how men become these days. The brilliant idea of transforming the man to a chicken Chicken and not even a rooster was just outstanding can't wait to watch the movie."