This film has been nominated for the Audience Award endowed with 1,000 euro. Please vote after watching the movie.
You can find an overview of all nominated films here.
Souad, a young student from the city of Mansoura in the northern Nile Delta between Alexandria and Cairo, is looking for ways to escape the incompatibility between her growing sexual desire and society’s norms. Souad is the film’s main figure of identification, signalled as such from the start through the dramatic structure and the atmospheric, documentary-like cinematography. With Souad literally disappearing from the screen right in the middle of the film, Egyptian director Ayten Amin breaks a taboo in two senses: cinematic and social. This twist deprives the story and the audience of their heroine, and also brings a topic to the big screen that only became more public in the years following the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. Her disappearance becomes an open secret that even her family shuts their eyes to.
The film Souad speaks for millions of post-revolutionary Egypt’s youth, who spend their most formative years in a political and ethical limbo. The national depression that hit Egypt after the economic crisis under Abd al-Fattah as-Sisi in 2016 and the acute erosion of values by conservative political Islam – a fact not confined simply to the time since Mohamed Mursi came to power – gushes out in Souad in a uniquely authentic portrayal of latent hysteria that reflects the fragility of an entire country. Yet director Amin avoids indulging in the fatalism so prevalent in Egypt. Instead, she draws a second character out of the narrative: Rebab, Souad’s younger sister. The second part of the film sees us accompany the 13-year-old on her odyssey along Alexandria’s Mediterranean Sea, which will eventually resolve the conflict.