Director Ayten Amin / 2021 / Egypt

Tradition and technology meet head-on in this tense coming-of-age drama about two Egyptian teens and a web of deceptions.

Small-town adolescent Souad lives a double life. At home, she is modest and obedient, fulfilling the expectations of a good Muslim young woman; with friends and strangers, she is irreverent and flirtatious, flaunting a would-be long-distance relationship with a big-city social media influencer. When these two worlds collide – with catastrophic consequences – Souad’s younger sister, Rabab, travels to the northern liberal metropolis of Alexandria to investigate what went wrong.

Reminiscent of the work of the Dardenne brothers (Young Ahmed, MIFF 2019; Two Days, One Night, MIFF 2014) in its pulsating immediacy and unwavering humanism, the second feature by up-and-coming auteur Ayten Amin captures a rarely portrayed angle on contemporary North African life: one situated at the intersection of conservative religious values, adolescent desire and omnipresent modern technology. With its urgent, almost verité cinematography keeping pace with Bassant Ahmed and Basmala Elghaiesh’s animated portrayal of the central sibling pair, Souad is striking both narratively and visually, #nofilter.

“Brilliantly alive to the contradictions of teenage life in conservative Egypt … Remarkable not just for its razor-sharp, nonjudgmental insight, but also for the nuanced performances making each character rounded yet ultimately unknowable.” – Variety

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