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El Khoroug | Hesham Issawi, 2010
Egypt/UAE | 96 minutes
In the timely and resonant Cairo Exit, every character is looking for a way out. Amal, a Coptic Christian woman, is torn between staying home and caring for her mother or eloping with her Muslim boyfriend. Her sister Rania has been romancing a successful businessman, but desperately tries to find money for an operation that will “restore” her virginity. Abandoned by her husband, the other sister, Hanan, is reduced to prostitution in order support their child. Through these and other stories, director and co-screenwriter Hesham Issawi sketches a portrait of a country pushed to its limit, where the desperation that defines daily life threatens to explode. Well acted, especially by newcomer Maryhan A in the key role of Amal, Cairo Exit, although completed months before the recent Egyptian uprising, chronicles the feelings that led thousands to Tahrir Square.