Egypt premiere of mental health care documentary Zelal

MUMBAI: Zelal (Shadows), the documentary explores the state and practice of the mental health profession had its Egypt premiere on 13 March at Giza.

The documentary, directed by Marianne Khoury and Mustapha Hasnaoui, explores the state and practice of the mental health profession and delves into life inside psychiatric institutions in Egypt. 

Filmed in two large asylums, the film reveals the horrific conditions in which patients are expected to live - squalor and neglect is endemic, staff are stretched beyond breaking point, therapy and treatment seems non-existent. Khoury interviews inmates with gentle sensitivity and respect, never veering into sensationalism or patronising sentimentality.

It‘s a brutal indictment of the country‘s failed healthcare system and the consequence of an increasingly religious conservatism in policymaking that leaves the afflicted stigmatised and left to rot.

The film won the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRISCI ) award for best documentary at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF).

The film was presented in Arabic with English subtitles.

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