In 2016, Egyptian movie director Eman El Naggar wrote and directed the film ‘Suicidal Notions.’ Six years later, in 2021, another Egyptian filmmaker Manal Khaled directed ‘Trapped,’ whose script she co-wrote with Rasha Azab.
At first glance, the two movies seem unrelated as they both have different characters, storylines, music, style and overall mood.
Yet upon closer look many common threads appear which give viewers a better understanding of each movie as a unique cinematic masterpiece portraying the arduous journey of contemporary Egyptian female filmmakers in their relentless quest to freely express themselves — along with their experiences and thoughts.
A few weeks ago, director Maggie Morgan selected ‘Suicidal Notions’ to be screened at the German Goethe Institute in downtown Cairo as part of its El-Projector event series. The screening attracted a large crowd and was followed by a Q&A session with the director.
El Naggar gave a glimpse into the circumstances that surrounded the production and screening of the film, which she co-financed herself along with Mohammad al-Tahami, with the support of the Cultural Resource organisation and Egypt’s National Cinema Centre.
The screening at Goethe Institute was the first in a long while. Aside from the 2016 Cairo International Film Festival and a few intermittent screenings in “alternative” movie theatres, Egyptian audiences has had, until recently, very few opportunities to see the movie.
On its part, ‘Trapped’ has been screened at various festivals, including South by Southwest (SXSW) in the United States in 2021, Karama Human Rights Film Festival in Beirut, and Amman International Film Festival.
Initially limited to select audiences, the film was featured late last year on Netflix, giving it a wider reach.