Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Egypt/Austria/USA, 2018. Desert Highway Pictures, Film-Clinic. Screenplay by A.B. Shawky. Cinematography by Federico Cesca. Produced by Dina Emam. Music by Omar Fadel. Production Design by Laura Moss. Costume Design by Asmaa Alawi. Film Editing by Erin Greenwell.
The old Finding Your Place In The World narrative is given a fresh spin in this touching tale of a man who has grown up in a leper colony, his face and body badly scarred by the disease despite his being cured. Not caring that Egypt still has antiquated ideas of how to treat people like him, Beshay decides to leave the isolated colony that he has spent the majority of his life in and heads towards his home town to see if he still has any living family. Stowing away on his rickety cart is Obama, a little boy from the neighbouring orphanage who wants to see the wider world as well. It’s only about three days travel to his destination, but with their limited resources and the dangers they face from people who are scared of them, it might as well be three months of them staying ahead of danger and need, and they don’t even know if they’ll find anything at the end of their journey. There are times when Beshay, played by first-time performer Rady Gamal, falls into Symbol territory, the movie is as interested in teaching a lesson as it is in entertaining, but ultimately it’s a touching and beautifully filmed story of a character that we as viewers are also challenged to see the humanity of.
Cannes Film Festival: In Competition