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NEWS/Rags & Tatters' Box-Office Success

Egyptian independent film Rags & Tatters achieved significant success after a two- week display in a limited number of Egyptian movie theaters, making $30,000. Although it was decided to run only for one week, the film’s distribution company, Al Arabia Cinema, decided to extend it for another week.

“The success of Rags & Tatters confirms the readiness of the Egyptian film market to accept different genres of films,” said Isaad Younis, Al Arabia Cinema CEO and famous Egyptian actress, Screen Daily reported.

In November 2013, Rags & Tatters won the Grand Prix (The Goldne Antigone) at the Montpellier Film Festival. It was also screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was selected in London Film Festival and Abu Dhabi Film Festival in the official competition.

Written and directed by Ahmed Abdallah, the film captures a historical moment in Egypt’s January 25th  revolution history, when the prisons of Egypt were mysteriously opened following January 28th protests allowing prisoners to escape. The main character played by Egyptian actor Asser Yassin is a prisoner who left the prison at the night to witness bloody skirmishes in Cairo’s streets while searching for a refuge. In his journey Yassin navigates the most marginalized neighborhoods in Cairo, Ezbet El Zabbaleen, home to Cairo’s garbage collectors who literally live on garbage in Muqattam; and the City of the Dead, where the poorest live and work amongst the dead.

In the film’s press kit, Abdallah said, “The film is an attempt to delve into the deep; inside some worlds that surround us everywhere, but we consciously chose to ignore their existence,” Rothe wrote.

The film has a unique style as it includes almost no dialogue between characters with emphasis on storytelling through the picture. When asked if he hesitated to play an almost silent character, Yassin said he was motivated by this challenge; as he had to work hard on his facial expressions and body language.

After getting his mechanical engineering degree from the American University in Cairo, Yassin decided to follow his passion for acting. Despite his young cinematic career path, Yassin earned himself solid marks. In 2010, Yassin won the "Best Actor" award from Carthage Film Festival for his role in Messages of the Sea.

Rags & Tatters is not the first film to secure Director Ahmed Abullah a worldwide recognition. His previous film Microphone which documents the underground art scene of the city of Alexandria also won several awards. Microphone received the Best Arabic-language film Award from Cairo International Film Festival and Tanit d'Or from Journées cinématographiques de Carthage. In addition to Best Editing Award from Dubai International Film Festival in 2010.

Rags & Tatters' distribution company is currently working on distributing the film in different countries in Europe and the Middle East.

by Dina Shehata

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