recent comment on salata baladi:
I watched your amazing film yesterday and of course, it is the kind of film one has to sit with and let sink in for a while. I thought it was tender and sensitive and, naturally, provoked moments of tension and emotional confusion in me (mainly the scene of reunion with the family in tel aviv). The confusion was mainly at the incongruence of familiar experience with what i was seeing on the screen (and cheering on your sweet mama and baba while also struggling with my own virtual discomfort in those tel aviv apartments and wondering what hidden emotions your mama and baba and you must be experiencing on so many levels) and a deepening of sadness over the many unchronicled losses attached to the palestine tragedy. i am not oblivious to those losses, but salata baladi evoked them in a more personal way obviously.
one thing that strikes me about some of the response to your film: people expect clarity and completeness from a film and act as if every statement uttered is definitive, rather than as a starting point for further discussion or even just an open question. it also seems many people want to be relieved of their discomfort by the filmmaker, and assume the filmmaker and director themselves have resolved all their contradictions and discomfort, or that they do not also share some of the discomforts evoked in the viewer. maybe this is one of the "fruits" of simple religiosities and/or nationalisms: to have clarity and be relieved of confusing and discomforting thoughts and emotions. i don't think salata baladi is a call for normalization or anti-boycott per se, but could rather provoke a more meaningful conversation about those strategies. i am interested in hearing more about the egyptian responses to the film.