Adel Imam steals the show at the Marrakech International Film Festival

Flashes blazing from cameras everywhere, crowds lining up along the red carpet cheering vigorously, as the Egyptian eminent Adel Imam stepped out of his black fancy car making his way to the opening ceremony of the Merrakech International Film Festival to receive the Career Tribute Award. 
After consecutive years of glamorous film celebration, MIFF raised the curtain on its 14th edition Friday night in a strong presence of Egyptian artists along with a slew of promient international personalities from the film industry.
French renowned actress and jury chairperson Isabelle Huppert inaugurated the night with an Arabic sentence expressing her happiness for taking part in the festival. She then gave a brief address praising the late founder of the Marrakech festival Daniel Toscan du Planntier as well as the great French designer Yves Saint Laurent, who had always perceived Morocco as a source of inspiration.
The eight panelists then joined Huppert on the stage for officially inaugurating the festival; each announced in his/her own language.     
Former Moroccan Minister of Culture Touria Jabrane called Imam as the “living legend” while introducing his decades-long acting career that has succeeded to “walk a fine line between anger and sarcasm.”   
Imam’s entrance to the stage, with a usual wide smile and funny dance moves, unsurprisingly, brought audience to their feet for not less than five minutes.  
The 74-year-old superstar carved out a glittering career, comprising over 100 films and 10 plays, in which he addressed a wide range of hot, controversial socio-political and religious topics. His career has also enjoyed a parallel success in television realm, especially in recent years.  
In his speech, Iman described the cinema as a “great invention that mirrors ourselves and where we can see the history of mankind through camera lens.”
He concluded giving praise to Egypt, “I come from a country where the origin of art stemmed from since our great Pharaonic ancestors…Egyptian cinema is the mother of Arabic cinema.”
Along the 10-day event, the festival showcases a number of Imam’s distinct films including “Zahaimar” (Alzheimer's), “Emaret Yaqubian” (The Yacoubian Building), “Toyoor al-Zalaam” (Birds of Darkness), “Hassan w Marques” (Hassan and Marcus) and “Ihna Bitua al Autobis” (We are the Bus People).
Egyptian mega star Adel Imam receives the Career Tribute Award. 
After years-long absence, the participation of an Egyptian movie in the official competition makes a strong comeback with the psychological thriller “Al-Feel Al-Azraq” (The Blue Elephant) starring Khaled al-Sawy, Nelly Karim and Kareem Abdel Aziz. The latter was among the Egyptian stars that graced the festival’s red carpet along with Diva Yousra, directors Inas al-Daghady and Marwan Hamed.
In a press conference that took place the night before the inauguration, Nour Al-Deen Al-Sayal, the festival’s vice president, said: “The choice had been fallen upon Al-Feel Al-Azraq because the jury saw that the film has unique theme and has been highly acclaimed by audience and critics alike; an equation that is usually difficult to reach.”
During the opening ceremony, the four sections of the festival was listed including The Official Competition, Out of Competition, Cinema at Heart, The Students Competition, and Cinema for the Blind.    
Besides Imam, the Career Tribute Awards will also be handed out to high-profile figures on separate days including the English actor Jeremy Irons (Saturday) and the American actor and director Viggo Mortensen (Sunday) along with two Morrocon producers Khadija Alami, and Zakaria Alaoui (Thursday).
On Tuesday, Japanese cinema is set to be awarded with a country tribute, screening an intriguing mixture of 27 films covering every genre from animation and social to crime and horror.                           
Other highlights of this year’s edition is holding three master classes by international directors naming Bille August (Denmark), Alex de la Iglesia (Spain), and Benoit Jacquot (France), in an effort to convey a comprehensive illustration on the process of filmmaking with an in-depth, professional guidance. 
The opening night was wrapped up with the screening of English film “The Theory of Everything,” directed by James Marsh.
The 14th edition of the MIFF runs from 5 until 13 December.

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