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NEWS/Mohamed Khan’s Factory Girl in Movie Theatres

The 71-year old Egyptian director Mohamed Khan returns back to Egyptian cinema after a seven-year break with his recent film now showing in Egyptian movie theaters called “Factory Girl”.

Written by Khan’s wife Wessam Soliman, the film’s story follows a young woman Hayam, played by a relatively new actress Yasmeen El-Raees, who works at a clothing factory with other dozens of women who fantasize about finding the man of their dreams. The girls’ daily boring routine gets a little more exciting when a new handsome supervisor is hired. The green-eyed Salah, played by Hani Adel, catches women’s attention and gossip. For Hayam, it was love at first sight despite the social gap between her and Salah. The love story resulted in a positive pregnancy test that was discovered in the work’s garbage. Everyone knows it is Hayams’. Instead of denying those claims to save herself an inevitable scandal, Hayam decides to stay unapologetic.

Commenting on Hayam’s character, Raes told Gulf News, “Hayam is someone who’s not easily broken even if faced by what the society dictates should be the way she should live her life,” says the actress, speaking through a translator. “I think that’s an important role for a woman to have, especially in Egypt today.”

Raees, was selected from 200 other candidates. She had to shave her head for the role, and says she did it without any hesitation. “Hair will grow back anyway, but you don’t get to play such a role every day,” she says. “Actresses will retire or die, but the films they do will stay forever. For me that’s important.”

Besides the romantic story the film captures, “Factory Girl” gives insight into the lives of factory workers, their daily struggles, and class differences in nowadays Egypt. Soliman said she had to spend many months working in a clothing factory to get under the skin of the character. “Only the manager knew who I was and what I was there for. It was an eye opener, to develop friendships, learning their stories and their views of life,” says Soliman, Gulf News reported.

The film is dedicated to Egypt’s legendary actress Souad Hosny who passed away in 2001. Hosny’s presence in the film sparks nostalgia for good old days’ romance. Hosny's voice accompanies Hayam during her ups and downs throughout the film, Al Ahram Online reported.

The film won two awards at the Dubai International Film Festival last December: the Muhr Arab Feature Best Actress Award, handed out to the well-deserving Yasmeen El-Raees, as well as the coveted FEPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Best Arab Feature award.

by Dina Shehata

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