Arabic Cinema continues to make strides in the film industry as the latest documentary, Um Ghayeb, by Egyptian director Nadine Salib won the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique International (FIPRESCI) Federation of Film Critics Award for Best Documentary at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
Um Ghayeb is a documentary about a woman, Hanan, who yearns for a child, and the struggles she faces living in a community that distances itself from infertility. The film explores deep emotional concepts that face many women in the Arab world, including fertility, mortality and identity.
The idea of the film came to Nadine during a visit to Upper Egypt, where she met a woman with the name “Um Ghayeb”. In Egypt, women are referred to by their son’s names, as “mother of so-and-so”. However, the moniker “Um Ghayeb” is given to women who cannot conceive, literally translating to “mother of the Unborn”. “When I first decided to make a film on the subject,” Nadine Salib explained, “it was simply because I got fascinated by the melancholic tone of this name.”
About the director:
Nadine Salib is an Egyptian film director born in 1984. After graduating from film school in Egypt in 2006, she began work as an assistant director in commercials before heading into the independent field in 2009. Her first film, “Dawn” won second prize in the Arab women filmmakers’ competition at the Baghdad International Film Festival in 2011.
Watch the trailer for “Um Ghayeb” here: