El Gouna Film Festival: Unveiling The Long Awaited International Film Lineup

Following a one-year hiatus, El Gouna Film Festival just released its first wave of highly anticipated international films for its upcoming sixth edition, which will run from October 13 until the 20th. The lineup is a mixture of critically acclaimed films from rising talents and experienced filmmakers. The artistry in these picks guarantees a wonderful cinematic experience that celebrates authenticity, storytelling and diversity.

  1. Anatomy of a Fall

A woman is put on trial for the killing of her husband, and their blind son faces a moral dilemma as the only witness. This French thriller discusses cultural differences and nationalism that affect the legal system. The film had its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, winning the Palme D’Or and Palm Dog Awards. It received the GIO Audience Award from the Sydney Film Festival and the International Competition Audience Award at the Brussels International Film Festival.

  1. The Buriti Flower

“The Buriti Flower”, originally titled Crowrã, tells the story and the memories of the Krahô community who are known as the indigenous people of Brazil. The film places a lens on the culture, traditions, and the political resistance of the community. It also shares their trauma and resistance. It won the Un Certain Regard Ensemble Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It also won Best Film by an Emerging Director at the Munich Film Festival.

Via Cineuropa
  1. The Echo

The docufiction, originally titled El Eco, tells the story of a village that exists outside of time. In the remote village, children take care of their sheep and their elders. Through frost and drought, they must understand the undeniable truth of death, illnesses and love. It explores mental disorders, traumas, and dealing with the truth. The Mexican/ German production won the Encounters Prize for Best Director and the Berlinale Documentary Award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Via Variety
  1. May December

The American romantic drama follows an actress, Elizabeth Berry, who travels to Georgia to research and study the life of Gracie, whom she is set to play in her upcoming film. The movie premiered at Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or.

Via Variety


  1. Obscure Night – Goodbye Here, Anywhere.

The feature documentary follows Malik, who leads a group of African immigrants as they try to make it to Europe and undergo an arduous journey. Imprisoned by real and invisible bars, the film draws attention to these children’s daily struggles with hope and persistence.

Via Unifrance
  1. On The Adamant

“On The Adamant”, originally titled Sur l’Adamant, is a French documentary that follows the lives of patients and caregivers at L’Adamant Day Center, a psychiatric center operating from within a boat located in the middle of the Seine River in central Paris. The film won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere.

Via Film Affinity
  1. The Shadowless Tower

Gu Wentong, a middle-aged food critic, is working with a young photographer, Ouyang Wenhui. Divorced, and estranged from his father, Gu Wentong is looking for a new perspective on life. By coincidence, he learns about the location of his father. Encouraged by the young photographer, he chooses to reconnect with his father, after forty years. “The Shadowless Tower”, originally titled Bai Ta Zhi Guang, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Via Film At Lincoln Center
  1. A Strange Path

At the dawn of the pandemic, a young filmmaker travels to his home country, after 10 years of living abroad. He tries to rekindle his relationship with his father. As they grow closer, strange events occur, making it harder to connect. It is ultimately a story about family connection and creating a sense of belonging. The film was first screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won best feature, performance, screenplay, and cinematography.

Via Tribeca Film Festival
  1. Youth (Spring)

Filmed over six years, “Youth (Spring)” follows the daily life of Chinese workers in the garment industry. It is a co-production between China, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The film had its international premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or.

Via Deadline
  1. All To Play For

Sylvie is a single mother of two, Sofiane and Jean-Jacques. After Sofiane gets hurt alone in their apartment, he is placed in a foster home. As Sylvie faces separation anguish, she is determined to win the legal battle and get her son back. “All To Play For”, Rien à Perdre, highlights the struggle of single mothers against a system that awaits their failure. It won Prix d’Ornno-Valenti at the Deauville American Film Festival.

  1. Dreaming & Dying

Three friends in their fifties reconnect after years. When they are forced to face their own demons, a long-buried love triangle resurfaces. The Indonesian-Singaporean film explores middle age sexuality, and accepting unmet desires. The film debuted at the Locarno Film festival, winning the Gold Leopard and Best First Feature.

Via In Review Online
  1. Family Portrait

Set during the dawn of Covid, “Family Portrait” follows an attempt at taking a family photo together, but it takes a dreamlike turn. The matriarch disappears and her daughter is desperately trying to find her. The film first premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Filmmakers of the Present award.

Via Rotten Tomatoes
  1. If Only I Could Hibernate

A poor teenage boy is set on winning a physics competition for an academic scholarship. But his mother must leave him and his sibling in the midst of winter for a job in the countryside. The film explores themes of poverty and education. It also highlights the Mongolian landscape, traditions, and culture. This movie marks the first Mongolian film to have ever been part of Cannes’ official selection.

Via Variety
  1. Lost Country

Set in 1996 Serbia, a teenage boy has to confront his own mother, who is a spokesperson and accomplice of the corrupted government. His friends are joining the mass student protests and rising against the government. The film inspects feelings of paralysis, hopelessness and desperateness in the context of post-Yugoslavia. It premiered at the Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the Critics’ Week Grand Prize.

  1. Scrapper

Jason returns to London from Ibiza to live with his 12-year-old daughter, Georgie, after her mother dies. Living alone, Georgie fills the empty apartment with magic, but when her father enters her life, it forces her to confront her reality. The British comedy-drama covers reconnection and grief in a positive and upbeat light. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.

Via Variety
  1. Stepne

Set in Ukraine, Anatoly has returned to his home country to look after his dying mother. An interaction between his brother and a beloved causes him to reflect upon his life decisions. “Stepne” first premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it won Best Director and FIPRESCI Prize.

  1. Totem

Sol, a seven-year old girl, is spending the day at her grandfather’s house. She is preparing for her father’s surprise birthday party. As hours pass by, Sol comes to realize that her life is about to change. The film first premiered at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival, where it won Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. It went on to win more awards at the Hong Kong and Beijing International Film Festival.


18. Whispers of Fire & Water

“Whispers of Fire & Water” tells the tale of Shiva, an audio installation artist, as he visits the biggest coal-mining region of Eastern India. As he struggles to obtain leads for his work, his problems are made worse by the fact that his life begins getting intertwined with that in the mines. The Indian feature film was first screened at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Filmmakers of the Present Award.


19. White Plastic Sky

“White Plastic Sky” tells the story of a young couple, Stefan and Nora, living in a post-apocalyptic Budapest in the year 2123. Faced with scarce resources, at the age of 50 everyone must be turned into a tree. When Nora signs up before her time, Stephan must save her at all costs. The animated science fiction won the Grand Competition Feature Film in the Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films.

Via The Hollywood Reporter

These are this year’s wondrous selections. The entire collection is a testimony to the global talent of filmmakers worldwide, which El Gouna Film Festival has been highlighting since its first edition. Stay tuned as the festival will announce its Arab film line-up in the coming weeks.


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