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International Programme 2019
Where Did Ramses Go? Amr Bayoumi

The subject is powerful men, politicians, kings, one’s father – and the costly move of the famous statue of Ramses. A personal look at a country between authority and revolution.

Where Did Ramses Go?

Documentary Film
62 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Naji Ismail (Rahala Production & Distribution)
Amr Bayoumi
Magdy Youssef
Osama Elwerdany
This is about powerful men: politicians, king, one’s father. Amr Bayoumi’s old man was an authoritarian patriarch. On the old analogue black and white photos the head of the family sits between two other men, legs wide apart and a self-righteous, arrogant look in his eyes. Bayoumi’s relationship with him was never emotional.

Using personal memories – stories, pictures, newspaper cuttings, cartoons – the Egyptian filmmaker reconstructs the history of his native country since the 1950s, the political upheavals from Nasser to Mubarak and finally the 2001 revolution. He skilfully uses a larger metaphor for this purpose: the famous statue of Ramses II and its curious fate. It was found, reconstructed and erected several times at various locations. Most recently it had to move in 2006 from Ramses Square to another interim location– presumably because Mubarak and the underground station named after him would not tolerate a pharaoh above him. The mammoth project took twelve hours. Countless people followed the monument on its way through the crowded streets of Cairo, screaming farewells, shaking their heads without understanding. Ramses as a symbol of military, power and triumph becomes a political pawn here and the rhetorical question of the title becomes an emblem of a country between authority and revolution.

Julia Weigl