Egyptian Movie Star Ahmed Zaki Dead, Joan Allen Says 'Yes' at Tribeca

Egyptian movie star Ahmed ZakiEgyptian film actor Ahmed Zaki.

Egyptian movie star Ahmed Zaki dead at 55

Egyptian movie star and sometime producer Ahmed Zaki died at age 55 on March 27 in Cairo. Zaki, renowned for his screen portrayals of Egyptian presidents Gamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat, had been suffering from lung cancer. He had been in a coma for several weeks.

A major box office draw for more than two decades, he was reportedly born Ahmed Abdullrahman Zaki on Nov. 18, 1949, in Zaqazeeq (a.k.a. Zagazit), about 80 km north of Cairo. (According to some sources, Zaki was actually born to a poor family in a rural area in the Nile Delta.)

From Egypt's downtrodden to powerful men

A graduate of the Cairo Higher Institute for Drama Studies, at the beginning of his career Zaki played characters representing the yearnings of young and poor rural Egyptians. But he would truly make his mark through his portrayals of powerful men in political films.

In that regard, Zaki was sort of a mix of Paul Muni, George Arliss, Charlton Heston, and the Ben Kingsley of Gandhi. Perhaps with a touch of Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson. If online sources are to be believed, Zaki was known for – quite literally – pulling no punches in several violent action scenes.

Political films

Besides his incarnations of Nasser and Sadat in, respectively, Mohamed Fadel's Nasser 56 (1996), about the nationalization of the Suez Canal, and Mohammed Khan's Days of Sadat / Ayam El-Sadat (2001), Zaki also starred in several other political films.

Most recently, he was seen in His Excellency the Minister / Ma'ali al wazir (2003), in which he played a guilt-ridden, corrupt government official.

Haitham Ahmed Zaki to finish 'Halim'

Zaki's son, Haitham Ahmed Zaki, is set to finish Halim, featuring the older Zaki as the late Egyptian singer Abdul Halim Hafez. The younger Zaki will play Halim Hafez in his early years.

Before being taken ill, Ahmed Zaki intended to portray current Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on film.

Egyptian film star Ahmed Zaki IMDB page.

Yes Movie Joan Allen Simon Abkarian'Yes' movie with Joan Allen and Simon Abkarian.

Tribeca Film Festival 2005 film lineup announced

Organizers have announced the film lineup of the 2005 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival. Below are a few titles.

  • Michael Winterbottom's controversial, sexually explicit 9 Songs, featuring Kieran O'Brien and Margo Stilley.
  • Wong Kar-Wai's moody 2046, starring 2005 Hong Kong Film Award winners Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Ziyi Zhang.
  • Joseph Lovett's documentary Gay Sex in the '70s, a look at post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS gay New York.
  • Jaume Collet-Serra's House of Wax, a remake of the 1953 Vincent Price horror classic.
  • Paul Cronin's documentary Mackendrick on Film, about British director Alexander Mackendrick (The Man in the White Suit, The Ladykillers, Sweet Smell of Success).
  • Sally Potter's romantic drama Yes, starring Joan Allen and Simon Abkarian.
  • Costa-Gavras' black comedy The Ax / Le couperet.
  • Nahid Persson's documentary Prostitution Behind the Veil, featuring three Iranian women who have become sex workers in order to support their drug addiction.

The 13-day Tribeca Film Festival begins on April 19.

See also: “'9 Songs' Movie: Explicit Sex vs. British & Australian Censors.”

 

Simon Abkarian and Joan Allen Yes movie image: Sony Pictures Classics.

“A celebration of mediocrity.”

That's actor-director Mel Gibson, referring to the Oscars, while speaking to an interviewer at the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network.

By the way, Empire magazine agrees with him.

“The Oscars aren't about quality. They're peer group nods of approval and, as a result, there has been a surfeit of unworthy Best Pictures and, rest assured, there will be many more to come.”

Empire magazine writer Patrick Peters, in reference to the magazine's list of the 10 worst films ever to win a Best Picture Oscar. The very worst was Mel Gibson's Braveheart (1995, “dialogue has all the thudding subtlety of a parody”), followed by A Beautiful Mind (2001, “clunkingly intricate direction”), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952, “tawdry circus spectacle of hoary cliches and caricatures”), Ordinary People (1980, “nothing more than a TV-movie that got lucky”), Forrest Gump (1994, “revisionist nonsense”), Terms of Endearment (1983, “a weepie espousing family values”), Around the World in 80 Days (1956, “A-list co-stars confined to blink'n'miss 'em cameos”), Cavalcade (1932-33, “patronizing politics underpinning sentimental storylines”), Rocky (1976, “given Watergate and Vietnam, hardly surprising the Academy should hail a picture restoring the American dream”), and How Green Was My Valley (1941, “Hollywood's eagerness to show solidarity with war-torn Britain”).

Now, is How Green Was My Valley really worse than The Life of Emile Zola, The Broadway Melody, Grand Hotel, or Cimarron? And what about Gladiator?

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