Synopsis by Mark Deming
Teenage girls left to fend for themselves on the streets of Cairo are profiled in this documentary from Egyptian filmmaker Tahani Rached. In El-Banate Dol, orphaned and homeless girls share the grim facts of their daily lives -- they have little money, nowhere to stay, are frequently the target of rapists, and are often scarred facially by their attackers who believe the girls are to blame for the crimes committed against them. Some have been left with children by their boyfriends, who then shun the girls for bringing them shame in the form of illegitimate babies. With few options and fewer prospects, the girls frequently blot out their misery by sniffing glue or taking pills, though a few older women try to give them the moral support they need to avoid such temptations. El-Banate Dol follows the lives of these young women without sentimentalizing or sensationalizing their plight, but depicts the severity of their tragedy by allowing audiences to observe their lives at face value. El-Banate Dol (aka These Girls) received its North American premier at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.
street-kid, homelessness, teenagers, rape, substance-abuse