Egypt premiere of mental health care documentary

Ahram Online, Saturday 12 Mar 2011

Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui’s documentary film 'Zelal' will be screened on Sunday 13 March at Galaxy cinema

Zelal (Shadows), directed by Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui, will receive its Egypt premiere at Galaxy cinema, Giza, on Sunday 13 March, at 6pm.

The documentary explores the state and practice of the mental health profession, and delves into life inside psychiatric institutions in Egypt. The film won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRISCI ) award for best documentary at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF)

Synopsis (courtesy of DIFF)

A quiet masterpiece of hard-hitting reportage, Mustapha Hasnaoui and Marianne Khoury's 'Zelal' has drawn global critical praise for its hard-hitting and sobering insight into the lives of those afflicted by mental illness in Egypt today. Filmed in two large asylums, the film reveals the horrific conditions in which patients are expected to live - squalor and neglect is endemic, staff are stretched beyond breaking point, therapy and treatment seems non-existent. Khoury interviews inmates with gentle sensitivity and respect, never veering into sensationalism or patronising sentimentality. It's a brutal indictment of the country's failed healthcare system and the consequence of an increasingly religious conservatism in policymaking that leaves the afflicted stigmatised and left to rot. Harrowing 'Zelal' may be, but as a piece of vital social documentary, its sensitivity and uncompromising respect for its subjects imbues them, and the films arguments for fair treatment, with dignity and eloquence.

Cast & Credits

Director/Scriptwriter: Marianne Khoury, Mustapha Hasnaoui; Producer: Gabriel Khoury, Marianne Khoury; Cinematographer: Tamer Joseph, Victor Credi; Editor: Doaa Fadel.

The film will be presented in Arabic with English subtitles; Running time: 90 mins.

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