Health crisis keeps Omar El Sherif away from Marrakech Festival

Published October 2nd, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

A sudden downfall in the health condition of international legendary actor Omar El Sherif has prohibited him from attending the third annual Marrakech Film Festival, which is scheduled to launch this week. A member of the organizing committee of the festival has stressed that Omar has personally apologized for being able to fly from Paris to Marrakech due to his failing health, reported the London based Elaph. 


The festival administration committee in Morocco has announced that it will present prominent Egyptian actress Yusra with an Honorary Award during the launching of the festival. It was revealed that the actress will be presented the award alongside French actor Alan Dilon, Indian actor Amitab Patshan, and American international director Oliver Stone.  


The Egyptian-born superstar has returned in a new movie about love between an old Muslim and a young Jew. Sherif described his new film as "a comeback." The love portrayed in Francois Dupeyron's "Monsieur Ibrahim" - which Sherif presented Friday at the Venice Film Festival in Italy is not the kind of dashing romantic role that made him originally famous.  


This time, it is a story of love between a lonely old Muslim shopkeeper and a neglected Jewish teen in Paris during the 1960s, who flee loneliness together through a unique relationship and friendship.  


Sherif, who rose to stardom in such cinema classics as "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago," also received a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement after an impressive long movie career.  


"It's because I really love the script, I love the things that were said in this film," AP cited him as saying.  


"I hadn't made a film for five or six years before this. I wasn't finding suitable parts. I always had this problem because I have an accent that is not Italian, not French, not English, not Spanish or Mexican."  


"When I was a young actor and I sold tickets at the box office, they used to change parts to suit me. But when you're an old man, and the director needs an old Italian, he gets one," he said. "In this film, I'm playing the part of an old Arab, which is what I am."  


"Life is so simple," Sherif conveyed. "I would like there to be dialogue for everyone. For the Palestinians, for Israel, for everyone."  


Omar was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1932 into a wealthy Lebanese-Egyptian family and began his career playing in Egyptian films before heading on to Hollywood. 

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