23/06/2014

Omar El Zohairy, Egyptian director

"I wanted to make a film about fear"

Events and Festivals, Egypt

Omar El Zohairy's The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometre 375 is the first Egyptian film ever to have been selected for Cannes’ Cinéfondation student film competition. This May, it screened at the event as one of only 16 student films to have been picked from up to 1,631 submissions.

A rough adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Death of a Government Clerk (1883), The Aftermath is a film about fear, a black comedy on the absurdity of modern life, according to its young director. Just this June, it was awarded Best Student Film in Palm Springs.

Euromed Audiovisual met El Zohairy in Cannes.

"What I like in the story [Anton Chekhov's The Death of a Government Clerk] is that it is very absurd [and applies to] our modern life, even though it's a very old one. The storyline is very smart, because it's very simple and to the point. I liked that it was about fear."

The film was shot on the grounds of an old factory in Cairo built in the 1960s: "The locations are part of the story. They represent the idea of modernism and modern life. The places are bigger than the guy. He's just a little thing in front of every building. That was the idea: to go to the iconic places that refer to modern life."

El Zohairy says that he was not a very good student at film school, as he was often off already working as an assistant director or producer instead of studying, and pulled the film together last minute as a graduation project.

"I realised that I have a deadline and that I have to send them a film, to the film school. So I picked, just reading, the story, and I called one of my friends and we [wrote] a script. And then in 28 days we [made] the film."

Interview in English

share this article by email print this page