El Banat Dol

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Those girls astonish us by the strength they exude, the laughs that enliven them and the hardness they have to use to face each day. They are women, and thus twice marginalized. Their existence, their lives and adopted codes defy the social model. Their days are full of perils. Be it the police shake downs or the kidnappings by their fellow street dwellers… Whether they are women, children, mothers or all that at the same time, they live only in the present, by necessity. We catch a glimpse of the child within them in the dances, laughs, and acrobatics, as well as in the fights that can sometimes degenerate. But there is always that solidarity…

They are on the run, and on a quest for another manner of living and liberty, "Those Girls" is also the story of the encounter of Tata, Mariam, Abir and Donia with another woman, Hind. An encounter under the sign of love. Hind is an illuminated person. A practicing, veiled Moslem, she is animated by the universal principles of respect for every person. Her engagement for the girls brings her to transgress social barriers and taboos.

This film makes us discover a world, invisible to indifferent eyes,
but whose existence witnesses the vital and secret workings of society.

"Egyptian director Tahani Rached moved to Canada in the 1970s. Since 2004 she has worked at the Canadian National Film Board, an organisation that has made a major contribution to the documentary film industry in Canada and elsewhere in the world. El Banat Dol is Rached’s tenth documentary in 35 years. Past projects include a documentary on the Lebanese Civil War (1983), another on Palestine (2004), and Quatre Femmes d’Egypte (1997), her first film about Egypt in which the country’s history from the 1952 Revolution is presented through the friendship between four women. In El Banat Dol, her second film about Egypt, Rached leaves behind her experiment of distilling modern Egyptian history through the eyes of four intellectuals and takes on the task of distilling contemporary Egyptian reality through the experiences of six girls, street children in one of the nouveau riche quarters in what may be called the "third Cairo", in contrast to the first, which is the Fatimid city, and the second, which was constructed by Khedive Ismail in the second half of the 19th century", to quote Samir Farid, Al Ahram Weekly.

Rashed followed the girls for a year to capture their stories and lives as each one of the six girls has a different heart breaking story than the other. One was born on the street, the other ran away from home or kicked out by the family. Each of the girls has tragic story of love and abuse. Tahani Rashed captured these stories in a sensitive and dignified manner not putting the girls on the stand but pointing out the forgotten daughters of Egypt.


El Banat Dol was screened and well reviewed at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.





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