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Tips from the culture desk: Zawya returns and history takes the front seat
In this March 19, 2014, photo, Egyptians watch a movie in the Zawya cinema in downtown Cairo. The 170-seat Zawya cinema hopes to generate a market for alternative, international or independent films in Egypt, where one of the worldís oldest movie industries has fallen into decline. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Two events this week prompt us to look back into history, while a concert in Alexandria looks promising for classical Arabic music lovers. For Cairo-based cinema fans, Zawya is finally back after its summer hiatus with a film that questions our public and private identities, and Cimatheque continues its programming.

I am Not Your Negro film Sunday and Saturday

The week starts and ends with screenings of Raoul Peck’s celebrated 2016 film I Am Not Your Negro at Cimatheque. The Oscar-nominated documentary tells a history of race, identity and violence in America by interpreting an unfinished manuscript by writer James Baldwin. Baldwin’s text was intended to become a book titled Remember This House, telling the stories of his friends Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers, all civil rights leaders who were assassinated. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film is in English.

7 pm, July 30 and August 5, Cimatheque, 19A Adly Street, 5th floor, apt. 28/29, downtown Cairo. Tickets LE15 for one screening, LE100 for a program ticket. More information here.

Ghalia Benali concert  Monday

In an initiative organized by the Cairo Opera House, exceptional Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali takes over the open-air Roman Theater in Alexandria for a concert with her band, interpreting classical Arab music by female musicians.

9 pm, July 31, Roman Theater, Fanar Street, Alexandria. Tickets LE75. More information here.

Perfect Strangers film  starting Wednesday

Art house cinema Zawya starts its new season with Paolo Genovese’s Italian drama Perfetti Sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers, 2016). Genovese explores how our mobile phones are gateways to secret lives that contrast with our public personas: During a dinner party, seven friends in their early forties decide that any interactions on their phone during dinner must be shared with the table, a proposition that inevitably reveals more than they had bargained for. English and Arabic subtitles.

Starting August 2, Zawya, 4 Abdel Hamid Said Street, behind Cinema Odeon, downtown Cairo. More information here.

Townhouse Salon with Alia Mossallam Thursday

As part of a series of conversations at Townhouse, Alia Mossallam talks about her text RAWI, about motherhood, writing and revolutionary politics. Mossallam has long been collecting oral history testimonies in Nubia, Alexandria and Port Said for various projects, in addition to leading classes at universities and alternative learning institutions such as CILAS. The talk is in Arabic, and a reading of the text will be in English.

Alia Mosallam at Townhouse’s 60Pages writing workshop

7:30 pm, August 3, Townhouse, 6 Nabrawy Street, downtown Cairo. More information here.