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Egypt | 2018 | 97 minutes | A.B. Shawky

In this unabashed heart-tugger, a man disfigured by leprosy leaves his colony, joined by an orphan, to travel across Egypt and search for the family who abandoned him as a child.

"Shawky not only brings authenticity but also an unguarded honesty to his script."—Cannes Review

Bashay, the protagonist of Yomeddine, is that rare cinematic character you may never have seen onscreen before. A lifelong resident of a leper colony north of Cairo, where he married and made a life as a garbage collector, he decides one day to search for the family who left him there as a child. With his young friend Obama (like "the guy on TV") and his donkey Harby, Bashay sets out on his journey in a film that is part road movie, part buddy comedy, and part affecting neorealist drama. The bittersweet story is told with clear-eyed candor, but also with sly humor and warm humanity. "Yomeddine" is Arabic for Judgment Day, referenced here by characters who hope one day to be judged by their inner worth rather than their outward appearance. In this remarkable first feature, director A. B. Shawky revisits the leper colony where he earlier made a documentary short, and met Rady Gamal, the charismatic non-professional actor who plays Bashay. Shawky's documentary roots and Gamal's performance both contribute to the film's naturalistic style, enhanced by Federico Cesca's cinematography (Patti Cake$, SIFF 2017 and Dead Pigs, SIFF 2018).

Justine Barda

Director Biography
Egyptian/Austrian director A.B. Shawky met the lead actor for Yomeddine at an Egyptian leper colony that had been the subject of an earlier documentary short he made while a student in Cairo. He expanded the idea into a nonfiction film for his thesis for NYC's Tisch School of the Arts.

Sponsored by PATH

  • Director: A.B. Shawky
  • Principal Cast: Rady Gamal, Ahmed Abdelhafiz
  • Country: Egypt, USA, Austria
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 97 minutes
  • Producer: Dina Emam
  • Screenplay: A.B. Shawky
  • Cinematographers: Federico Cesca
  • Editors: Erin Greenwell
  • Music: Omar Fadel
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Cleveland International Film Festival 2019 (Grand Jury Award)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Arabic
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Strand Releasing
  • International Sales: Wild Bunch