How many identities can we have in the eyes of a chance acquaintance on a public bus, in our protected circle of best friends or in the pictures we post on social media? Souad, a 19-year-old Egyptian, is on the cusp of adulthood. In her everyday life, her desire to explore new kinds of freedom clashes with the expectations of society, her family and religious community which she has internalised. On the one hand, she creates a secret cosmopolitan alter ego on her smartphone and seeks romantic connections online. On the other, she is a diligent student, obedient daughter and big sister. But when Souad’s notions of a self-determined life shatter, the busy noise of her contradictory realities dissipates, clearing the way to reveal an encounter between two people who have nothing in common but their relationship with Souad. Perhaps it is only now, in this encounter, that Souad becomes tangible.
With a sure hand for changes of pace, and skilfully juxtaposing dense and unhurried moments, Ayten Amin gets remarkably close to her characters to depict the longing to know another person and to be recognised ourselves.
by Ayten Amin
with Bassant Ahmed, Basmala Elghaiesh, Hussein Ghanem, Hager Mahmoud, Sarah Shedid, Carol Ackad, Mona Elnamoury, Islam Shalaby, Nayera El Dahshoury
Egypt / Tunisia / Germany 2021 Arabic 96’ Colour

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • Bassant Ahmed (Souad)
  • Basmala Elghaiesh (Rabab)
  • Hussein Ghanem (Ahmed)
  • Hager Mahmoud (Wessam)
  • Sarah Shedid (Amira)
  • Carol Ackad (Yara)
  • Mona Elnamoury (Mother)
  • Islam Shalaby (Father)
  • Nayera El Dahshoury (Aunt)


Director Ayten Amin
Cinematography Maged Nader
Editing Khaled Moeit
Sound Design Victor Bresse, Sara Kaddouri, Moustafa Shaaban, Mohab Ezz
Sound Mixing Lama Sawaya
Art Director Chahira Mouchir
Costumes Nayera El Dahshoury
Colourist Belal Hibri
Producer Sameh Awad
Co-Producers Dora Bouchoucha, Lina Chaabane, Mohamed Hefzy, Wim Wenders, Léa Germain, Ayten Amin, Mark Lotfy
Co-Production Nomadis Images Tunis
Film Clinic Kairo
Road Movies Berlin
Fig Leaf Studios Alexandria

Produced by

Vivid Reels

Ayten Amin

Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1978, she studied film criticism at the Egyptian Cinema Writers and Critics Association and then film at the Art Lab of the American University in Cairo. Her graduation film, Her Man, based on a short story by Egyptian author Ahdaf Soueif, screened at Clermont-Ferrand in France and many other festivals. She also co-directed the documentary Tahrir 2011, which premiered at Venice. Her feature debut, Villa 69, screened at film festivals in Abu Dhabi, Malmö and Cannes.


2006 Her Man; short film 2009 Spring 89; short film 2011 Tahrir 2011: The Good, the Bad, and the Politician; documentary 2013 Villa 69 2021 Souad

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021