// Presented as part of December's North African Series //
Hala Lotfy / 2012, Abu Dhabi, Alexandria, Antalya, Berlin, Carthage, Marseille, Medfilm Rome, Melbourne, Oran, Seattle, Thessaloniki / 96'
Soad is a young unmarried Egyptian woman who lives with her mother and father in Cairo. Her father has been left largely incapacitated by a stroke, their airless, timeless apartment sealed off from the rest of the world. Soad dutifully cares for her father while her mother, back home after working the graveyard shift as a nurse, sleeps. Granted a rare moment of freedom, Soad leaves the apartment to wander the quiet, empty streets of Cairo until dawn.
Meticulously crafted and attuned to the finest gradations of darkness and light, Coming Forth By Day is a naturalistic portrait two Egyptian women grappling with an absence of purpose. Hala Lotfy's debut feature premiered at Seattle, Thessaloniki where it won a Special Mention, and Abu Dhabi, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Feature and the festival award for Best Director from the Arab World.
Coming Forth by Day, or How Condensed Time and Space Reveal the Revolution
In an exclusive essay for Filmatique, Dr. Stefanie Van De Peer examines the condensed time and space of Hala Lofty's Coming Forth by Day within the context of Egyptian cinema post-revolution.
"Cinema is more than ready for an exciting new female auteur from the Arab world... this ambitious chronicle of 24 hours in the life of a frustrated Cairo woman displays unmistakeable talent"
- Neil Young, Abu Dhabi Review, The Hollywood Reporter
"Rigorously shot and edited, Hala Lotfy's impressive debut, Coming Forth By Day, is an Egyptian story told via an indie arthouse aesthetic whose antecedents include Chantal Akerman and Tsai Ming-liang... Lotfy's use of space is nothing short of miraculous, disorienting the viewer by almost eliminating a sense of time"
"Metaphoric portrait of Egypt as an inert society that is incapable of change. The focus of this film is not Tahrir Square, but the daily struggles of a mother and daughter, whose day-to-day life offers an equally compelling insight into contemporary Egypt"
"With her exceptional cinematic vision, Hala Lotfy managed to capture the boredom of her characters, and their dull daily routine with as little dialogue as possible. The complexity of the relationship between the mother and the daughter is nothing short of spellbinding, as they both feel guilty about the father yet resort to what most humans do when feeling guilty; they blame each other. The director skillfully sheds a light on the pressure imposed on families by caring for a disabled member, a subject rather common among most Egyptian households yet rarely spoken of"
- Lamees Shaheen, Film Review, In The Mood For Films
"[N]ot only a very accurate portrayal of a possible day and night of a young woman in Cairo, but also a harsh, if subtle, comment on how the heavy burden of expectation sidelines any sense of purpose for Egyptian women"
- Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Film Review, Indiewire
"Coming Forth By Day is a breakthrough film in the new realist wave of independent Egyptian cinema"
- Film Review, Sursock Museum Beirut
"[F]ully captures and distills the emptiness of the women's lives, while sandy, shadowy tones and gently hand-held camera work, especially effective on a bus journey, give the film a visual palette of realism... it's certainly beautiful, if bleak, in its own way, and as a bastion of independent Egyptian cinema, a noteworthy piece of cinematic history"
"Al-Khoroug Lel-Nahar (Coming Forth By Day) represents an example of a collaborative and organic film that departs from the conventions of contemporary Egyptian cinema. It reflects the passion of an emerging generation of filmmakers"
- Sara Elkamel, Film Review, Ahram Online
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