Abu Saddam journeys hundreds of kilometres in his truck. The titular character endures many of life›s pressures. Directed by Nadine Khan, the film is participating in the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF)’s main competition.
have been under pressure. This prompted her to explore the hidden world of truck drivers. Khan became familiar with places frequented by the drivers, such as cafes and rest stops. She got closer to a few of them who helped her develop the protagonist Abu Saddam.
Mamdouh revealed. “Making a film on the road and the intricacies of Abu Saddam, a multifaceted character, was a unique challenge. He is a defeatist who attempts to persuade himself in many ways that he is right and everyone else is wrong. He actually resembles the truck he is driving.” Mamdouh revealed that when working on the role, he got closer to a group of truck drivers to learn the ins and outs of the profession. Equally, a young actor Ahmed Dash who portrayed Abu Saddam’s assistant had to get acquainted with the world of truck drivers. «The most difficult scene I faced was the psychological reaction to Abu Saddam’s deliberate accident,» Dash said during the discussion.
During a discussion held on 2 December and attended by the film’s cast and crew, Khan spoke of the many challenges she experienced. These include the need to diversify shooting angles because most of the film takes place in one location, the big truck cabin. The variety of footage, dialogue, and the actors› performances helped her set the tone.
«I wanted to highlight the magnitude of Abu Saddam›s pressures, as he struggles with many psychological, material, moral, and family stresses. I picked the name Abu Saddam because it is resonant and widespread among the character›s popular class,» Khan said.
Mahmoud Ezzat, who co-wrote the script with Khan, stated that the process of writing took three years. He made it clear that the film was written for commercial purposes rather than a festival participation and that its entry to the CIFF was purely coincidental. Producer Ahmed Fahmy added that the submission was a last-minute decision, which led to the postponement of its release in Egyptian cinemas until mid-December.
Khan also slammed the attendees› query regarding the film›s message, emphasising that “I wanted to tell a tale that touches hearts, having a specific message was irrelevant.”
Director of Photography Abdelsalam Moussa confirmed that filming was indeed challenging, especially because they were on the road, and that numerous unexpected events, such as the lightning that occurred in the film, may delay filming or modify the plan. “Lightning, thunder, and rain erupted during the last days of filming, forcing us to reshoot some scenes,” Moussa explained.
According to Khan, the film›s idea derives from her mental image of a damaged truck she once saw on the road. Remembering the tragic crash, she wondered about the condition of a fast-moving vehicle and the driver who must
The film depicts the lengthy voyage of a heavy truck driver from Matrouh to Al-Amriya. Drawn to the stories of the characters who find it hard to find their place in society, Khan fused those lines when creating Abu Saddam. For example, the truck’s door is scratched, a detail that is strongly linked to the character’s obsessive-compulsive disorder. Actor Mohamed Mamdouh, who portrays the driver, revealed that the character destroyed the truck of his own free will, yet the scratches bother him as he sees them in the vehicle’s mirror.
As the film begins from the middle of the events, the actors are thrown right in the heart of the plot and the characters they portray. «There was no one challenging scene, the entire film was a struggle,» Khan admitted.
“The well-written script and plot, as well as the whole team, attracted me to
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