Archive of films Whose Country? / Balad Meen?
Egypt / USA / France
2016, 60 min
Section: Documentary Films - Competition
A young Egyptian filmmaker turns in a scathing report on the dissolution of his homeland, whose people had barely tasted their suddenly-acquired freedom when they found themselves choking on the turbulent events of the months that followed. The candid testimony of plainclothes police officers, the cornerstone of the old system, reveals the waning enthusiasm after the early post-revolution period and offers a bleak look at Egypt’s future.
A young Egyptian filmmaker turns in a scathing report on the land of his birth. Five years earlier Egypt stood on the threshold of untold freedom but today the country is gradually being pulled back into the depths of corruption and the autocracy of armed units. The film follows the director over the course of three years – from the start of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 through the army’s removal of President Morsi – as he gets closer to a group of Cairo police. Mutual trust grows and, with it, the sense of horror over testimony that backs up claims of rampant corruption and ill treatment at the hands of the security forces. The enthusiasm of the early post-revolution period gradually fades and the outlook for the future takes on a dismal cast… Who is to blame, the crooked system or the dodgy morals of those responsible? The courageous director seeks to answer this question, openly speaking about what he experienced during the course of the revolution and the subsequent normalization of the social order. His movie thus ultimately becomes an inward confession of a man distressed to see his country falling apart.
About the director
Mohamed Siam (Egypt) studied psychology before becoming a filmmaker. He has been awarded several international grants for his film projects, including support from the Sundance Institute, IDFA Bertha Fund, Screen Institute Beirut, and Hot Docs Blue Ice Group Fund. A Berlinale Talent Campus alumnus, he also attended a program for talented filmmakers in Durban. He worked as assistant director on the feature documentary The City of the Dead (2009) and on the drama In the Last Days of the City (2016). He demonstrated his lensing skills shooting the documentaries The Trials of the Spring (2015) and The Path (2015). Siam debuted as director with the fiction short A Leak (2011) and the documentary Whose Country?, and he is now working on his third helming attempt, the documentary Amal, awarded last year as a work in progress by Durban FilmMart (AfriDocs Prize) and by the Robert Bosch Foundation (Arab-German Film Prize).
About the film
|Section:||Documentary Films - Competition|
|Screenplay:||Georgina Van Welie, Talal Al-Muhanna, Bruni Burres, Mohamed Siam|
|Dir. of Photography:||Mohamed Siam|
|Producer:||Talal Al-Muhanna, Mohamed Siam|
|Production:||Linked Productions Inc., ArtKhana Corporation|
|Coproduction:||ITVS, Pumpernickel Films|