Ahmed Nour's 'Waves' Wins at Ismailia Film Festival

Egyptian director picks up Best Long Documentary award for intimate look at revolution

Ahmed Nour
Chris Teague/A24 Films
By Adam Grundey
Jul 04, 2014

Ahmed Nour’s Waves, which focuses on the recent history of the filmmaker’s home city of Suez – up to and including the revolution of 2011 (which saw then-president Hosni Mubarak step down) and its aftermath – won the Best Long Documentary award at the 17th Ismailia International Film Festival last month.

“The idea for this movie began before the revolution,” says Nour. “It’s more a film about the 30 years of Mubarak’s rule, and about my generation; born in the early Eighties. I wanted to make a film about my generation in Suez, but it was never urgent for me, you know? I was always postponing making it.” When the revolution began, however, Nour quit his job and began shooting the movie. “So the revolution became a narrative line, but it’s not the main theme.”

Waves, despite its subject matter, is a disarmingly tranquil film (“I didn’t want a loud voice,” Nour says), part-autobiography, part-animated imaginings and part-deeply personal accounts from families who lost loved ones during the uprisings.

The film, while bleak in places, seems to offer a message of hope at the end. Nour refuses to call it optimistic, however. “It’s realistic,” he says. “We don’t know if we’ll live to see real change, but I totally believe that, sooner or later, a change will come.”

One change he hopes Waves – which will appear at the Galway Film Fleadh in Ireland this month – will help instigate is to shift Egyptian society’s focus from the past to the future. “Our problem in Egypt is that we’re always talking about the past,” Nour says. “We should start talking about how we want to make something. And I think the revolution’s a part of that too.”

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