PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Mohamed Siam, director of the film Amal.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Director Siam Mohamed talks about Amal, his feature documentary, which he presented at the 30th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The film talks about a young woman, Amal, and her coming of age from 14-years-old to 20-year-old, during the Egyptian Revolution and in the years after it. In this interview, the director tells us that one of the things his documentary is that change is a hard thing, even harder when what is changing is a huge country like Egypt, of 90,000 people. Yet, all the facts, stats, and news are much easier to comprehend when it is characterized in a person. Amal, the protagonist of his film, allows a spectator to comprehend this, and as Siam describes Amal as a “kind of a sponge, absorbing everything, and a mirror, reflecting everything. Through her we see all of the country.” Among the other topics dealt with in this interview, we ask Siam about filming a person’s life over the course of many years, and the bond that developed between him and Amal.
Amal: Amal is 14 years old when she ends up on Tahrir Square during the Egyptian revolution, after the death of her boyfriend in the Port Said Stadium riot. During the protests, she is beaten by police and dragged across the square by her hair. This coming-of-age film follows her over the years after the revolution. As the film cuts between the unfolding current events and Amal’s rapidly changing life and appearance, we see her searching for her own identity in a country in transition. Amal is fiery and fearless, sinking her teeth into the protests and constantly lecturing her mother, who works as a judge. A girl among men, she also has to fight for respect and the right to take part, both in the street and in the rest of her life. In Egypt, even for a young woman like Amal—her name means “hope”—the choices open to her for her future are limited.