Science fiction is a rare genre in the otherwise rich and diverse history of Egyptian mainstream cinema. One exception is the film "The Master of Time", directed by Kamal El Sheikh in 1987. In this film, the main character, a scientist named Mr. Kamel, is obsessed with the idea of immortality. Through radical editing, Lebanese artist and filmmaker Rania Stephan captures the quintessence of this obsession. In her film, she eliminates all fictional elements from the original and retains only the transition shots featuring doors, gates, and all forms of crossing and passing through.
Stephan’s 10-minute version of "The Master of Time" is a cinematic experiment in search of the hidden substance of the film. The filmmaker manages to double the original film’s experience in a most entertaining way: Together with Mr. Kamel, the spectator is caught in an eternal interim time reminiscent of Kafka
Artist and filmmaker, born in Beirut, Lebanon, Rania Stephan graduated in Cinema Studies from Latrobe University, Australia and Paris VIII University, France. She has directed videos and creative documentaries notable for their play with genres, and the long-running investigation of memory, identity, archeology of image and the figure of the detective. Anchored in the turbulent reality of her country, her documentaries give a personal perspective to political events. She gives raw images a poetic edge, filming chance encounters with compassion and humour. The work on archival material has also been an underlying enquiry in her art work. Approaching still and moving images like an editor - part detective, part cinephile - she traces the absence and remembrance that are originary to those images. She has had solo exhibitions as well as group exhibitions and participated in residency programs. Her feature film “The Three Disappearances of Soad Hosni” (2011) received critical acclaim and won numerous prizes. Rania Stephan’s art work is represented by Marfa’ Gallery Beirut, Lebanon, where she also resides.