At Night, They Dance is one family’s story. The film takes us into the heart of a clan of women, in which the art of dancing has been passed down from mother to daughter since time immemorial.
The youngest daughter, Hind, is in love with a married man – she is the one who brings scandal into the household. The eldest, Amira, irritates clients and suffers the laments of a woman often courted but never wed. Bossy, a good girl who marches to her own drummer, reluctantly carries on the family tradition.
The matriarch, Reda, holds the family and its business together – sometimes with a light touch, but mostly with an iron fist. The passionate centre of the family holds court in her small apartment, where a steady stream of complaints and pleas play out almost theatrically. Here, daily life is slowly unveiled as a delicate balance of fears of the profession’s hazards, attempts to cheat reality, and hopes for a better life. Amidst the chaos there are glimmers of tenderness and love, and vulnerability occasionally finds small spaces to exist.
Like folk heroines, these women are larger than life, united, dignified and resourceful.
Filmed in Cairo, At Night, They Dance takes an unsentimental yet lyrical look at a hidden world full of surprise and fascination. The viewer is allowed in as a privileged witness. A gritty film in which raw beauty triumphs over the harshest realities. An unflinching film on the power of the will to live. An uncommon film, full of bare emotion and searing drama.
Awards and mentions
Best Documentary – Gala des prix Génies, Toronto
Special Jury’s mention – FIFPG, Genève
Special mention – RIDM
Best documentary – Camden International Documentary Festival, Maine
DocsBarcelona Award for Best Documentary Film – DocsBarcelona
Mention honorable prix Colin Low, ONF – Doxa, Vancouver
Jury’s Special price – HotDocs, Toronto
Sélection officielle à la Quinzaine des réalisateurs – Cannes
« Seldom has Egypt’s capital been so evocatively captured through a domestic prism and fests shouldline up to grab this gem. » Robert Koehler, Variety
Research, screenplay, direction / Isabelle Lavigne et Stéphane Thibault
Production / Lucie Lambert
Camera / Stéphane Thibault
Sound recording / Isabelle Lavigne
Editing / René Roberge
Sound editing / Claude Beaugrand
Sound Mix / Luc Boudrias
Music / Benoît Charest
With / Reda Ibrahim Mohamed Ali, Amira Said Samir Sayed, Bossy Said Samir Sayed, Hind Said Samir Sayed