58th LFF Day 2 Afternoon

Excuse my French [Lamoakhza] Egypt LAUGH Section

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Hany and his parents live in an Egyptian bubble of wealth, protected jobs, private schools and leafy, protected suburbs, along with only about ten percent of the rest of the Egyptian population. Cleansed, air conditioned, gentle and soothing environments. But everything changes when Hany’s father, a wealthy Egyptian with a job in a European Bank in Egypt, dies suddenly.

Money becomes a serious concern. Hany has shown great promise in school and in his Church environment as a Coptic Christian, but his mother is not a church goer, although she also is a Coptic Christian. But his schooling is an expensive luxury that they can no longer afford, so he is sent to a state boys school, a madrassa in fact.

This coming-of-age drama is filled with all the most obvious tropes: new school, new boy, new everything…but all the same it is not at all clichéd. Although every obvious situation arises: petty teasing, stolen lunch box, stolen bike and all the rest, right through to “hero of the class”, this film which took five years to make is about much more.

Without being in any way polemical, it subtly points up the differences in the life in the bubble – shot in whites, blues and soft light and the life in “the rest” of Egypt. The real Egypt, if you like. Dusty, yellow, hot and sometimes violent. This was not a film about religion but about prejudice, and during the film various vignettes point up the ways in which prejudice and not religion distort our vision.

In the Q&A afterwards, the Director Amr Salama told the audience that in many significant ways this film was autobiographical, he had come aged about seven from a wealthy Saudi Arabian background to an Egyptian life that was noticeably different. All the events in the film actual happened during his time at school in Egypt.

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Filed under Film Review, Modern History, Select Cinema, Travel, Uncategorized

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