Coming Forth By Day is 24 hours in the life of Suad (Donia Maher) and her mother (Salma Al-Najjar). Suad spends almost all of her time within her house taking care of her sick father (Ahmed Lutfi), alternating duties while her mother does nursing shifts at the local hospital.
Egyptian filmmaker Hala Lotfy’s first feature length film deals heavily with themes of duty, responsibility and morality, her slow panning shots capturing every detail of the apartment and the lives being led inside it. The cinematographic language paints a depressing picture of a young woman yearning for a life far removed from her own and wondering if she will ever break free from the constraints that bind her.
Living her entire life within the walls of her house, every day is the same for Suad. Her claustrophobic environment with its bleak and colourless surroundings deny her the simplest of pleasures. Living a very sheltered life, it seems as though she has missed the development of her adult identity due to the circumstances around her. Her mother’s controlling nature means she is essentially a child in many ways, controlled by the constant guilt enforced upon her for seeking more to her existence. She aimlessly wanders the streets of Cairo, searching for a better life and wondering if this is all hers will amount to.
Coming Forth By Day is an everyday story, with everyday people. The deterioration of a someone so important and close to you is soul destroying and one wonders what will happen to Suad when her father passes and her life no longer has a specific purpose.
This film requires a great deal of patience that does pay off with a thought provoking, open-ended final scene. What happens next? Who knows.
Coming Forth By Day is screening as part of the 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival.