Tue Mar 18,2014
By E. Nina Rothe
Factory Girl official website: http://factorygirl-movie.com/
Factory Girl on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FactoryGirlMovie
If I wanted to explain to the uninitiated why I love cinema from the Arab world so much, I would probably use Mohamed Khan’s ‘Factory Girl’ (FATAT EL MASNAA) as an example. Khan and his script-writer wife Wessam Soliman give the audience a story that is from the heart, about real women and actual men, set in a world where people move within those shades of grey we actually all live in, safely away - we think - from politics and wars, yet incredibly close to the precipice. Life, the real stuff, the kind we all live, everyday, everywhere. But more beautifully so.
Of course, Egyptian cinema has had extra attention thrown its way lately, and not all for the right reasons perhaps. The Arab Spring brought about an interest from the West, so for a while every story geared towards a more international audience dealt with the revolution. Independent producers like Mohamed Heftzy were still making gems, but it was harder and harder to get to watch them outside of Egypt. A film like ‘Cairo Exit’ (EL KHOROUG) was shown at the Tribeca Film Festival two years ago, but producer Sherif Mandour disclosed, while in NYC for the screening, that he had to smuggle the only copy of the film to Poland. And then there are the countless “tributes” to European cinema, like the upcoming ‘Halawet Rooh’, which from the poster and teaser appears incredibly similar to Giuseppe Tornatore’s ‘Malena’.
Thankfully, there still are those priceless producers like Mohamed Samir, who battled to get ‘Factory Girl’ made. And DIFF, ever-championing wonderful cinema, supported the film with post-production through its Enjaaz funding programme. Samir's efforts and the festival's contribution all paid off, considering the warm reception the film got at DIFF.
Mohamed Khan on the red carpet at DIFF - Video
The argument I get most often when I’ve liked a film, while someone else did not, is that it’s “not real” enough, it’s too idealized. But cinema is not meant to be real. It’s meant to remind us of the best we have to give, while also transporting us away, for about 90 minutes or so, to a world where we forget our worst. Cinema is a dream, a beautifully busy and inexpensive vacation we take from our lives. And the best kind of film is one that manages to teach us something, deep down inside, along with our entertainment.
So, you may be thinking, why watch ‘Factory Girl’ and not the latest ‘Robocop’ or action thriller blockbuster? Well, there is a place and time for Hollywood fare, but independent cinema is a gem to be supported. Unlike the work of big studio executives, who all sit around deciding what you and I will like based on the latest video game or marketing poll, independently made movies are fruits-of-labor projects, ideas born out of a need to make the world around us better, to change it somehow with its presence. A belief in the magic of the movies. And how can we not be for that!
Here is the trailer here
‘Factory Girl’ begins a theatrical run this week in Egypt and then across the UAE starting the 27th of March, powered by MAD Solutions. The film won the FIPRESCI feature award at the 10th Dubai International Film Festival, where lead actress Yasmine Raees also picked up a Muhr Award for Best Actress.
Back in December I raved about it in a blog on the Huffington Post and going back to it, I still stand by my words. Check it out here. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/e-nina-rothe/mohamed-khans-ifactory-gi_b_4452242.html