In his feature debut, French-Egyptian filmmaker Namir Abdel Messeeh sets out for Cairo to investigate the phenomenon of miraculous Virgin Mary apparitions in Egypt's Coptic Christian community. As he seeks out witnesses to the well-known 1968 sighting in Zeitoun, where hundreds of thousands of people claimed to see a vision of a hovering Virgin Mary, the professed secular skeptic Namir quickly discovers that no one within the church will agree to speak with him. Without the cooperation of the Coptic community, and facing opposition from his traditional family and skittish producers unwilling to fund his aimless project, Namir changes course and travels to his birth village hoping to find answers. There, against his mother's initial forbiddance, he reconnects with long-lost relatives and a provincial life so foreign from his own.
Slowly gaining the trust of his extended family, and that of his doubtful, yet devoted mother, Namir enlists all of their help to reimagine his film as a touching and often hilarious portrait of family and heritage. Ultimately, and in a breathtaking conclusion, the journey leads an entire village to discover the power of community and for Namir, an individual recognition of spirituality.
After the Movie (4/25 only): Stay for a conversation with director Namir Abdel Messeeh, filmmaker Sameh Zoabi, screenwriter/novelist/journalist Rula Jebreal, and Associate Professor and Director of the Integrated Media Arts MFA Program at Hunter College CUNY Andrew Lund on cultural identity and contemporary international filmmakers who explore diaspora identities and a journey to their roots. Moderated by film critic Glenn Kenny.
Length: 85 minutes
Language: Arabic, French
Premiere: North American
Director: Namir Abdel Messeeh
Screenwriter: Namir Abdel Messeeh, Nathalie Najem, Anne Paschetta
Producer: Namir Abdel Messeeh
Editor: Sébastien de Sainte Croix
Director of Photography: Nicolas Duchêne
Namir Abdel Messeeh is a French filmmaker of Egyptian origin. He had the idea for The Virgin, the Copts and Me after watching a videotape of the Virgin Mary's apparition in Egypt with his Coptic Christian mother.
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