Azziara is a 42-minute documentary, filmed and directed by Marouan Omara and Nadia Mounier, in collaboration with Islam Kamal. As explained in the avant-titre, Omara was approached by an international development organization working in Egypt, and asked to film a documentary about the development of agricultural and irrigational systems in Egypt, with a special focus on women’s role in the countryside, Mada Masr reports.

While filming the footage, however, the movie seems to have sprouted a life of its own, and it took a very different and melancholic turn, which the filmmakers honoured and faithfully followed.

Even though the documentary had previously screened at the Luxor African Film Festival, as well as at the Goethe Institute in Cairo and Alexandria, and the Netherlands-Flemish institute in Cairo, the Egyptian censorship bureau decided against it for Zawya Cinema.

Omara, Mounier, and Kamal, however, have posted the documentary online, to be viewed by the public until the end of the Cairo Cinema days festival, on the 16th of May, and the result was a marked increase in views, quickly hitting the 500 point, a count that, according to Omara, far outnumbers Zawya Cinema’s theatre capacity.

Concerning the public fate of the documentary, a 15-min version was delivered for domestic viewership, completely concealing the aforementioned modification, and conforming to the government’s usual media habits. However, thanks to the liberating powers of the internet, you can find out what it is that the censors were so keen to cloak.

Watch the entire documentary here on our website, or on Omara’s Vimeo profile.

The Visit "Azziara" (2015) from Marouan Omara on Vimeo.