What Comes Around

A Black and Paper interview with director Reem Saleh. The filmmaker’s documentary “What Comes Around” is a glimpse into the lives of people residing in a poor area of Cairo, Egypt neighborhood.

What Comes Around avoided Western Stereotypes of People lives in the region. There were human factors, not the 2 dimension images shown on regular television.

I am happy you saw this human factor in my film, not stereotypes. The Middle East is huge. There is everything. Stereotypes do not reflect the society. The Egyptian neighborhood is Muslim, but religion does not play a role in the film. It is a film about the struggles of life.

Can I say the subjects of the film seemed to suffer from a “Poverty of Decisions Making”?

Actually No! They did what they felt. They were happy they managed to buy a motorcycle, (for the son) so they wanted to sacrifice a rabbit because this removes the “evil eye” and paying for the two weddings.

You may think it is poor decision making or a waste of money but personally I think there is nothing wrong with this. It made them feel good.

You did not judge the characters, it was presentational, true?

Yes, it is true. I followed them and their lives. There is no right or wrong. I wanted the audience to see it without being judgmental.

Are the subjects of the film trapped or doomed to their fates?

I wouldn’t say “trapped” but perhaps in a vicious circle. They are in their comfort zones, contentment. Few start climbing further. I hope this films opens the horizons for them to do things differently.

What is your background?

I am passionate about film. I studied cinema in Lebanon at the American University. I worked in TV and did some acting. I worked for the Doha Film Institute as a film programmer. I started working on this documentary in 2010. I shot over 200 hours of footage, post production took a year.

WHAT COMES AROUND was screened at the 68th Berlinale in the Panorama Section.

This interview is part of the Black and Paper #thisberlinale18 project, sponsored by Canon Camera and Pringle of Scotland.