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Mother of the Unborn

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Mother of the Unborn (Um Ghayeb)

Directed by Nadine Salib

  • Egypt, United Arab Emirates 2014; 88 min
  • Original version: Arabic
  • Genre: Documentary
    • FIPRESCI Award for Best Documentary - Abu Dhabi FF
    • Peter Wintonick Special Jury Award - IDFA

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  • From the director of YAM & I presented at CineGouna SpringBoard


People search for unspoken or even absolute truths when it comes to the notions of life and death. Fertility is associated with the miracle of creation, but for countless women around the world it is not necessarily a happy subject. MOTHER OF THE UNBORN looks compassionately at this deeply felt experience. Nadine Salib begins her journey to the south of Egypt, often referred to as the forgotten region, in search of infertile women labeled with the name Mother of the Unborn or Um Ghayeb. These women are often stigmatized, treated as a bad omen and forced to perform ancient fertility rituals rooted in their culture. Salib arrives as an outsider into the world of these women and is brought into the intimate fold of their lives, choices and existence. She is confronted with the same questions about being a woman and about motherhood as the people she meets who share her perspective. What follows is a rich dialogue and a fascinating record of varying encounters and world views. Her film is striking in its poetry and quiet meditation on the notions of death and the creation of life. It takes us deep into the daily lives of unpredictable characters, stories to be told and fabulous beliefs as Salib’s journey transforms into a collective search for belonging.



    Maartje Alders