The Virgin, the Copts and Me
Born in Egypt and raised in France by his Coptic parents, filmmaker Namir Abdel Messeeh considers himself an atheist, so his relationship with his religious roots is complicated. After watching an old video of a religious holiday in the region of his birthplace, in which his mother Siham claims to have had a vision of the Blessed Virgin, Messeeh convinces his producer that the claims of Marian apparitions in Egypt will make a great subject for a feature-length film. In this playful documentary, which is as much about filmmaking as it is about family and religion, Messeeh travels to Egypt. There, he quickly finds out how divisive the subject of these apparitions is. He then decides on another strategy and travels to the Asyut region, home to many of his mother's relatives. But when he leaves Cairo just as the Arab Spring is unfolding, Messeeh ends up in conflict with his producer, who then drops the project. Now the forceful Siham steps in, adding to the project what turns out to be at the very heart of the matter: theater.