Monday, 18 of September 2017
El Gouna, September 18, 2017 — El Gouna Film Festival has announced that it will bestow its Career Achievement Award on prominent Lebanese film critic Ibrahim Al-Aris, in recognition for his major contributions to the field of film criticism in the region. Al-Aris will receive his award on the opening night of the festival’s first edition that will take place between the 22 nd and the 29 th of September, 2017. It’s expected that a stellar group of leading Arab and international film figures will be in attendance.
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Lebanese Film Critic, Ibrahim Al-Aris, to Receive Career Achievement Award at El Gouna Film Festival

El Gouna, September 18, 2017 — El Gouna Film Festival has announced that it will bestow its Career Achievement Award on prominent Lebanese film critic Ibrahim Al-Aris, in recognition for his major contributions to the field of film criticism in the region. Al-Aris will receive his award on the opening night of the festival’s first edition that will take place between the 22 nd and the 29 th of September, 2017. It’s expected that a stellar group of leading Arab and international film figures will be in attendance.

El Gouna, September 18, 2017 — El Gouna Film Festival has announced that it will bestow its
Career Achievement Award on prominent Lebanese film critic Ibrahim Al-Aris, in recognition
for his major contributions to the field of film criticism in the region. Al-Aris will receive his
award on the opening night of the festival’s first edition that will take place between the 22 nd and
the 29 th of September, 2017. It’s expected that a stellar group of leading Arab and international
film figures will be in attendance.


In its first edition the festival is paying tribute to three outstanding Egyptian, Arab and
international leading film industry figures who have enriched the art of cinema in their own way.
Since film criticism is an important pillar of the film industry, it only seemed too fitting to
celebrate a prolific critic like Al-Aris. In previous releases, the festival had already announced it
will be giving a Career Achievement Awards to Egyptian film star Adel Imam, and to Academy
Award winning actor Forest Whitaker.


“We are honored to give Al-Aris a Career Achievement Award for his indisputable contributions
to the Arab film industry throughout the past 50 years,” says Festival Director Intishal Al
Timimi. “He is a crucial cinematic figure who has helped cement the stature of Arab cinema
around the world, be it through his beautifully crafted essays or his constant presence in
significant cultural events.”


Al Tamimi adds, “By paying tribute to Al-Aris, we honor an entire generation of pioneering film
critics and historians, the likes of Samir Farid, Khamis Al-Khayati, Adnan Madanat, Sami Al-
Salamony, Ghassan Abdel Khaliq, Mustafa Al-Messennawy, Samir Nasri, Qusai Saleh Darwish,
Ali Abu Shadi, Kamal Ramzy, and Nour Eldin Sail.”


Al-Aris’s writings and contributions extend to include different aspects of culture, politics and
social sciences, making him a fine example of an organic intellectual. “Everyone who’s familiar
with Al-Aris’s works knows that his writing has transcended criticism to broader horizons, which
is evident in many of his books, studies and interviews,” Al Timimi further elaborates.
Meanwhile, Al-Aris has expressed his appreciation for being selected to receive the Career
Achievement Award during the first edition of El Gouna Film Festival: “I am honored to be
recognized by El Gouna Film Festival, as I believe it will constitute a turning point in the region,
reaffirming Egypt’s pivotal role in the Arab film industry” he says.

Born in Beirut in 1946, Al-Aris is a film critic, journalist, cultural historian and translator. He
studied film directing in Rome, screenwriting and criticism in London, and has been working in
journalism since 1970. He currently heads the film department in London’s al-Hayat newspaper,
where he writes a daily column about human heritage and the history of world culture. In
addition, he has translated around 40 books and papers about cinema, philosophy, economics,
history and criticism from French, English and Italian.


His most significant works include: “A Journey in Arab Cinema”, “Martin Scorsese: A
Cinematic Biography”, “Youssef Chahine: A Child’s Perspective”, “A Rebel’s Grip”, “Cinema:
History and the World”, “Arab Cinema: Its History, Its Future and Its Role in the Renaissance”,
“A Cinema of Humans: A Reading in the Life and Work of Selected Filmmakers”, and, most
recently, “the Cinema and Society in the Arab World trilogy”, of which two volumes have
already been published by the Centre for Arab Unity Studies in Beirut, while the third is
currently in progress.


Al-Aris has compiled his daily columns in a 12-volume anthology he chose to title “The
Encyclopedia of Human Heritage”, of which one volume is titled “The History of Film in 100
Years”, a critical reading of 100 foreign films considered by Al-Aris to be major turning points
in cinematic history, where he prompts readers to visit diverse works across the cinematic
spectrum that push aesthetic limits in pursuit of an alternative language of film.
Other volumes include “1000 Years of Music”, “1000 Years of Opera”, and “1000 Years of
Visual Art”, where Al-Aris addresses iconic works of art that have come to hold cultural,
political and philosophical significance in world history, from painting to sculpture. Throughout
each volume, Al-Aris approaches culture with an unconventional perspective, one that glorifies
the role of the individual in collective civilization. There are no differences between Shakespeare
and Naguib Mahfouz, Bach and Mahler, Japanese novels and African poetry—they are all
different faces of the history of humanity, as signified by the title of Al-Aris’s daily column: “A
Thousand Faces for a Thousand Years.”


In addition, Al-Aris has other notable works, including “The Suspended Dream: The Cinema of
Maroun Baghdadi”, an analytical reading of Baghdadi’s (1950 - 1993) work in relation to his
brief but productive life. In the book, Al-Aris follows the career of the late director, who ushered
in a new wave of Lebanese cinema in the late 1970s, from his debut feature “Beirut Oh Beirut”
(1975), all the way to his last, “La fille de l’air” (1992), through the many films he made in
between, both in Lebanon and France, where he lived during the last few years of his life. Al-
Aris lingers on “Zawaya” (Corners), the film Baghdadi had returned to Lebanon to film and was
working on when he passed away.

Other works by Al-Aris include “The Ambiguous Picture”, about Lebanese cinema, “Image and
Reality: Writings on Film, and The Language of Self and Perpetual Modernity”, among others.

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