Abu Dhabi: The first premiere screening for the 56 minutes long film “Living Skin” is also Egyptian Director - Fawzi Saleh’s first movie.
Living Skin speaks about children as young as 10 years old, whose families live under the poverty line. Due to their unfortunate living conditions, those children are forced to leave their education and work in dangerous and hazardous jobs, such as in tanneries in a slum, in a very poorly located area in Egypt, where the sewage water is part of the streets they walk and live in.
Even though young, several of the children’s jobs shown in the movie included: exposure to acid burns (folic and sulphuric acid), paint, fumes, machinery knives that end up chopping their fingers off if not careful, and climbing from tall buildings without any precautions taken.
Ten year old Mohamed’s father spoke about his son working in a tannery during the movie. He said: “You see how corrupt our environment looks like? If I leave my boy out in the streets without work, he will end up becoming either a thief or a murderer, he’s better off working that roaming around those dirty streets with wannabe children!”
The director, Fawzi Saleh, decided to portray the story of child labour in Egypt when he first moved from an area in Egypt called Port Saeed, to Cairo in 2008. “I lived nearby the area I shot the movie in, and was astonished at the poor living conditions among people, one cannot imagine what they go through without seeing it. At the time I was an assistant director. I took up the idea of shooting the movie with my director who encouraged me to direct the movie myself, so I decided to pursue it, and by 2009, I produced my first movie Living Skin.”
When speaking to the audience, Fawzi explained that his ultimate dream as a child was to become Robin Hood. “As robin hood, I believed I could take money from the rich, and give it to the poor. When I grew up and attended university I dreamt of becoming a politician but failed to do so. And look at me today… a director!”
Tabloid! speaks to the director after the movie screening:
What was your aim behind focusing on those specific young characters?
I wanted to shed light on the “below poor living conditions” some of the Egyptians and their children are living in.
Has this movie been shown elsewhere? Do you plan to screen it in Egypt soon?
The movie just came out two weeks ago, and is screened for the first time in Abu Dhabi. I expect it to come out in Egypt by November.
Why did you choose those specific kids as characters in your movie?
I chose eight kids out of 45, and they were selected for their horrendous poor living conditions. These kids are working in chemical-related-jobs, with no precautionary measures and that’s supposedly illegal in Egypt and in the whole world!
Do you plan to make more similar movies?
Yes, I plan to focus on a similar message in all my movies. There are hardly any movies out there that show what poor living conditions some people go through.
It’s a sad movie, but very realistic and definitely based on truth. Many Egyptians live in beyond poor-living conditions which usually end up harming their health’s, their children’s future, and is a slow and in-direct road to death.
The director did a great job in portraying all that, and I truly hope certain influential decision makers watch the movie, and take some action. It would be good to see more movies of the same sort. Definitely a must see!