Distorted Reality

Egypt: ‘Feathers’ ruffles feathers for ‘distorting’ the country’s image by portraying poverty

By Abir Sorour

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Posted on December 31, 2021 09:58

Still from film ‘Feather’

During the screening of the Egyptian film ‘Feathers’ (2021) at the Gouna International Film Festival, two of Egypt’s hyper-nationalist actors, who often play intelligence officers in espionage films, walked out. They later accused the film of depicting poverty in Egypt and “distorting the country’s image abroad”.

Since 2014, Egypt’s military and police leaders have been increasingly taking charge of all the state’s leading positions and civil society. Syndicates, media, press, and political parties are quasi-controlled by the state, leading to the closure of a free public sphere.

Despite having not seen the film, dozens of pro-state figures and media institutions have repeated the accusations, calling for the film to be banned and the film director to be “held accountable” because of using poverty as its storytelling device, which is not necessarily political, but touches on several societal diseases in contemporary Egypt.


Omar el-Zohairy’s film, which scooped up the Cannes International Film Festival Critics Week award, tells the story of a lumpenproletariat family in a dirty and dusty city that resembles an abandoned storehouse.

The family comprises a loud patriarchal working father, a

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