2 min read

For several years, I studied the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe. I carried out research on radicalization, integration problems, jinn possession, and psychosis, and at a certain point I got exhausted. A friend in Cairo gave me simple advice, “Stop focusing on the darkness in this world: look at the light.” 

I took the advice, and together with the Egyptian filmmaker Muhammad Mustapha and the photographer Amira Mortada, I embarked on a research and film project about religious experiences of light. The result can be described as a road movie documenting a movement of people who insist on keeping a space for light and love in their lives despite difficult political circumstances. As Amira puts it: “In Egypt after the revolution, you either become crazy or Sufi.” 

As the film progresses, it becomes an experiment with film as a medium of light and with the transformative power of images. Through a deep focus on people’s experiences, we have aimed to reach beyond the surface of religious and political boundaries and into a contemplation of the universal significance of light in human life.

A field trip into the mystical traditions of Islam exploring people’s search for light at a time of darkness and political tension in post revolutionary Egypt. Sonia sees light streaming into her heart from a person’s finger. Aya is lifted into a luminous space in the midst of a ritual. Maher travels to the shrine of a holy man to find out if the light and love that people are referring to is real. Meanwhile the film crew, Muhammad, Amira, and Christian, try to find out how they can film these experiences of light and how there can be so much light and darkness in this world and inside themselves. 

78 min, documentary
Spoken languages: Arabic, English, Danish
Subtitles: English, Arabic, French, Greek
Directed by Christian Suhr
Produced by Hala Lotfy
Camera: Christian Suhr, Amira Mortada, and Muhammad Mustapha
Script and editing: Muhammad Mustapha and Christian Suhr
Main Cast: Sonia Hassan, Aya El Hosseiny, Maher al-Sharnouby, Magda Habshey