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SALATA BALADI

by Nadia Kamel

Digital Betacam, color, 104’, 2007

coproduction with Snooze Productions, Les Films d’Ici, RTSI-Televisione svizzera, Cityzen TV

original version: Arab, English, Italian, French, Hebrew (o.v.) / subtitles : English

Premiere Locarno Film Festival 2007 - Ici & Ailleurs

Awards: San Francisco Arab Film Festival: Best Documentary, Mumbai International Film Festival: Best Long Documentary & FIPRESCI Award, National Film Festival, Egypt: Certificate of Merit. Festival selections: Locarno Film Festival 2007, Middle East IFF Abu Dhabi, Paris Grand Ecran, Cinema East Film Fest, New York, IDFA Amsterdam, Solothurn Film Festival, Women Film Festival Alexandria, Ljubljana Documentary Film Festival, Festival Docatunis, Tunisia, Internationales Dokumentarfilm Festival München, Beirut Docudays, DocLisboa, Les Etats généraux du Documentaire de Lussas, London International Documentary Film Festival

21st century Egypt, spurred by the rallying cries of a global clash of civilizations, risks drowning in a xenophobic frenzy. MARY, a grandmother, and her daughter (the filmmaker) join efforts to give Mary's grandson, Nabeel, a glimpse into possible alternatives: the family's 100-year history of mixed marriages. Like many Egyptians, after a century sprinkled with multiple immigrations, a few conversions and a few mixed marriages, Nabeel is a mix of Egyptian, Italian, Palestinian and Lebanese with some Russian, Caucasian, Turk and Spanish; from his Moslem, Christian and Jewish descendants he inherits a track record embracing socialism, fascism, communism, nationalism, feminism and pacifism. But as the grandmother weaves her way through the family fairy tales, she bumps into her own fears and the continued silence shrouding one branch of the family grows distressingly louder. In an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people dispossessed by the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948, Mary has been boycotting her Egyptian Jewish family in Israel for 55 long years. Inspired by the telling of her own stories and the fresh perspectives her 10-year-old grandson brings to them, she and her loving, eclectic circle engage in the breaking of arguably one of the most vicious taboos in modern Egypt.