(El-Banate dol )
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.
From a xenophobic viewpoint, some
Americans tend to think that certain issues are
endemic only to our shores. In reality, many
countries suffer with some of the same social
issues that we do. One example is runaway or
throwaway children. Large cities are often
dotted with kids who have escaped from abuse
or other atrocities and who have sought refuge
on the mean streets. As filmmaker Tahani
Rached shows in her intriguing documentary
THESE GIRLS (EL-BANATE DOL), the issue
extends as far away as the streets of Cairo.
A profile of several young women living in
poverty and squalor, the film seeks to educate
the viewer on the plight of these oppressed
females. Each day is fraught with danger and
threats, whether it is from the police who seek
kickbacks or from their male counterparts who
kidnap them, hold them hostage and make them
sexual slaves. A sign of their struggles is whether
or not their faces have been defiled by scars.
Another is whether or not they are raising children
in the same environment.
There are moments in the film that are heartbreaking. You can feel that
THESE GIRLS are simply that, young women, children at heart, despite having
had to harden their exteriors. They can be scrappy and belligerent, or tender
One of the main characters is also an extraordinary woman named Hind,
a devout Muslim, who is involved in an outreach program designed to help the
street dwellers. She is seen offering counsel and comfort and mediating
A slice of life that shines a light on an area some may wish to forget,
Tahani Rached's THESE GIRLS offers the viewer the opportunity to confront
an overlooked and often dismissed world.
An image from These Girls
(El-Banate dol )
Directed by Tahani Rached,
Photo Credit: Studio Masr