Ibrahim El Batout, Egyptian director of Winter of Discontent

“I thought, You have to make a film whatever that film is”

Events and Festivals, Egypt

Ibrahim El Batout’s Winter of Discontent was screened last week in the Orizzonti competition at the 69th Venice Film Festival. The feature, which intertwines the lives of a tortured activist computer whiz, a state security officer, and a television anchor woman, is set during, and immediately after, the Egyptian revolution. The film stars Amr Waked, who also produced the film. Euromed Audiovisual spoke to both.


Ibrahim El Batout
“During the revolution, on the 17th day, February 10, I went to the square and I was culturally and humanly shocked. [...] The emotions that were stirred up were very conflicting. I thought, You have to make something, you have to make a film whatever that film is.”

“I don’t make films that are scripted. [Waked] bought that idea, and trusted in it, and made the film. We didn’t go into a development phase where you write a treatment a synopsis, and you go and you change and you add... We said we wanted to make a film, and we went and we made a film.” 

“The actors we have in the film are really - it’s not a compliment - great actors. You can overload them with tasks, they will always deliver. The method was simple, the method was having maximum pressure on set to develop a dialogue while we were filming, and that, I think, made them own the characters more than anything else.”


Amr Waked

“Somehow this revolution unleashed the creativity of Egyptian artists, beginning with drawings on the floors, graffitis on the walls, poets and musicians... All that was so vigorous on the square every day that you felt jealous. You felt like you wanted to do something as well, that you wanted to give something back to these people.”

“I wouldn’t have been so excited about a similar project if it was at a different time and if it wasn’t Ibrahim -- Ibrahim is war correspondent. He’s a guy who tells a story under pressure, under danger, in five minutes, and he has the truth as well. That talent that he had was the pillar that we all leaned on, and with complete confidence that whatever the result [...] it will be fulfilling.”

“Showing the film in Venice was extremely fulfilling and rewarding... This is why we make films: to have audiences react like that.”


Interview in English


Winter of Discontent - Download the press kit [pdf, english]


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