Khaled El Hagar

"Khaled El Hagar"

Khaled El Hagar


Khaled El Hagar came to Cologne for the fourth time in 2010. Born in Suez in 1963, he studied law in Cairo until 1985, because “he didn’t manage to get accepted onto a film course”. He gained his first experience of filmmaking later, as an assistant to Youssef Chahine, Egypt’s most famous director. He didn’t have to wait long for recognition, as he received a prize for his first short film “You are My Life” at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen in 1989. As Khaled El Hagar saw that there was no chance of him fulfilling his ambitions of being a political filmmaker in his home country, he moved to London in 1991. There he completed his studies at the National Film and Television School and made the short film “A Gulf Between Us” in 1994 as the final project of his degree, in which he played the main role. The film won a number of awards at international festivals, yet screenings were banned by the Egyptian film censorship board. The story of the impossible love between an Arab and an Israeli did not sit well with the nationalist propaganda in Egypt during the Gulf War.

In “Little Dreams”, Khaled El Hagar made his first full-length feature film in 1993, again with a moving anti-war message. And despite the film’s depiction of Egypt’s national hero Gamal Abdel Nasser not being a positive one, the film was allowed to run in Egyptian cinemas with some success, because the criticism of the cult of the leader and of an enthusiasm for war was expressed by a twelve-year-old boy.

The comedy “Room to Rent” from the year 2000, on the other hand, was again banned in Egypt, because it openly addresses subject matters such as homosexuality – too much for the film censors in Cairo. The film was euphorically received by the audience in Cologne, however, when it was presented by Khaled El Hagar at the “Out of Europe VII” festival in 2002. Shortly afterwards, he received the Audience Award at the Cologne Mediterranean Film Festival (which unfortunately no longer exists). Since then, Khaled El Hagar has worked primarily in Cairo, shooting two films about strong women, with “Women’s Love” (2004) and “None But That” (2006). Both became box office hits in Egypt thanks to their opulent stories, prominent actors and popular music. At the 2010 festival, the Egyptian director, who the New York African Diaspora International Film Festival recently honoured with a retrospective of his works, presented his latest film “Kobolat Masroka”, the feature film with the most kisses in Egyptian cinema history. The film was both successful and controversial in Cairo, and the director received death threats for his work. Another reason why he was invited to attend the festival in Cologne as a guest.


A gulf between us (1994): Actor, Screenplay, Direction

Room to rent (2002): Screenplay, Direction

Red Sky at night (2007): Screenplay, Direction

Elements of Mine (2004): Screenplay, Direction

Little Dreams (1993): Direction

Kobolat masroka (2008): Direction