Persistence pays off for director Namir Abdel Messeeh , as well as the audience, in his documentary film ‘The Virgin, The Copts, and Me’.

The premise is intriguing.  Namir travels to Egypt to document an apparition sighting of the Virgin Mary in 1968.
But red-tape and resistence from local authorities jeopardise the production of his film.

Namir appears on camera, the documentary is through his eyes.  He is an engaging person, who despite the roadblocks (some from his family),  managed to make me appreciate the efforts he had gone to to complete the film.

He is a young filmmaker starting out, but the difficulties he encounters forces a realisation that perhaps his next movie will be a straight forward narrative. ‘No more documentaries’ he says exasperatedly.
But in Australia we have a tendency to admire the underdog, in particular if those closest to them are some of their biggest detractors.  And Namir becomes an underdog in this film.

We meet alot of Namir’s family during the documentary, and each, despite supporting roles, stay in your mind long after the film.  The mother who orders Namir not to film his family for the documentary.  His grandmother, who has experienced so much of life, but quiet and thoughtful.

I enjoyed The Virgin, The Copts and Me.  I found the film’s ending to be most rewarding, and it made me think back to an early scene from the 1973 film Spirit of the Beehive.

The Virgin , The Copts and Me screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012 and the Berlin Film Festival in 2012 (where it came third for the Panorama Audience Award).

You don’t have to have a deep interest in religion to appreciate this film.  The journey of how something is made, out of nothing, – is the main reason to see it.

Score: 3 stars

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