Mother of the Unborn

    Um ghayeb

    • Nadine Salib
    • Egypt, United Arab Emirates
    • 2014
    • 85 min
    • International Premiere
    • IDFA Competition for First Appearance

    In Hanan’s opinion, “The best thing in the world is God giving you a baby and a kind husband.” She has the kind husband, but not yet the baby. This Egyptian woman has been trying to become a mother for 12 years now. According to the doctor, her womb is too narrow, and she has undergone three unsuccessful operations to enlarge it.

    Known in the village as “mother of the unborn,” Hanan is also willing to try less orthodox medical options. In fact, she has tried everything the small community rooted in ritual, magic and superstition has to offer. She crossed the railroad tracks seven times just before a train passed, an experience almost as terrifying as the time she had to step over a huge snake.

    During conversations with family members and villagers, Hanan is funny, levelheaded and hopeful, but her sorrow and bitterness are revealed in personal, candid interviews. Against the backdrop of the sandy village in the south of Egypt, other villagers, including the midwife, the gravedigger and an expectant mother, give their opinions of Hanan’s misfortune and talk about marriage, new life, miscarriages and mourning.


    • 85 min
    • color
    • DCP
    • Spoken languages: Arabic
    • Subtitles in: English
    Nadine Salib
    Maartje Alders for Hassala Films
    Albatrik Art Production and Cinema Services
    Sara Yahia
    Micheal Youssef Shafek

    IDFA history

    International Premiere
    IDFA Competition for First Appearance
    Supported with €17000 for Classic: Production & postproduction

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    IDFA history

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