A quiet masterpiece of hard-hitting reportage, Mustapha Hasnaoui and Marianne Khoury's 'Zelal' has drawn global critical praise for its hard-hitting and sobering insight into the lives of those afflicted by mental illness in Egypt today. 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. Harrowing 'Zelal' may be, but as a piece of vital social documentary, its sensitivity and uncompromising respect for its subjects imbues them, and the films arguments for fair treatment, with dignity and eloquence.
Directors: Marianne Khoury, Mustapha Hasnaoui
Winner of FIPRESCI, Best Documentary Film
Country: Egypt, France, Morocco, United Arab Emirates
Length: 90 min