Love in the Place of Conservative Behavior

in 10th Dubai International Film Festival

by Mohsen Waify

Of the 15 features in the Muhr Arab competition at the Dubai International Film Festival, the winner of the Best Film prize was Factory Girl, by the Egyptian director Mohamed Khan. The film was awarded for its depiction of impoverished girls working in a small factory, and the candid expression of their desire for love despite their socially conservative environment. Khan tells the story by using a simple narrative structure and a fixed rhythm throughout the film.

Born in 1942 in Egypt, Khan became one of the most prominent directors of the 1980s wave of Egyptian realism. He directed his first short film El-Batikhain 1972. His first feature film was Darbet Shams (1978); since then, he has made 22 featuresspanning many genres. Khan was nominated for the Golden Prize at Moscow International Film Festival in 1983 and 1987 for his films El Harrifand The Wife of an Important Man, and he has also directed the seminal films Missing Person (1984), Dreams of Hind and Camilla (1988), and Supermarket (1989).

In DIFF’s short film competition which comprised 14 films, the award was given to the Iraqi film Children of God(Atfal Allah) by Ahmed Yassin. It deals with ayoung boy, an amputee,after the American occupation. He stakes his most prized possession, a collection of football posters, on a battle-of-the-sexes football match. In order to win the affections of his crush, a goalkeeper, he bets on the girls’ team to win. 

This film has a simple,gentle narrative which is inspiring,and does not resort to harsh language or amelodramatic tone. Ahmed Yassin, who was born in 1986 in Iraq, co-wrote the short film My Name is Mohammed (2008), which screened at the Gulf Film Festivalin 2009. He has also served as a production assistant and sound recordist on Son of Babylon (2009).  He is currently based in London, working as a documentary filmmaker.

Edited by Lesley Chow