Free Trip to Egypt is the epitome of a “feel-good movie”. The fact that it’s also a documentary is proof that positive affirmations can manifest organically.
Tarek Mounib, a Canadian-Egyptian Muslim, takes it upon himself to cook up a social experiment of cultures. Mounib reaches out to Americans and offers them an all-inclusive trip to Egypt, no strings attached (except to have a film crew and director Ingrid Serban document their experience with assigned locals). Initial reactions are filled with skepticism and doubt. Not because of the “too good to be true” nature of the free trip, but because of the cultural clash that many people seem to be apprehensive about in our current climate. Nonetheless, Mounib selects an array of different citizens who are game to sign up, which includes people of different religious backgrounds and age ranges.
The film has been brilliantly edited, allowing each individual experience to overlap each other (such as a terrific scene where numerous participants are in an Egyptian museum at the same time). But, the film hasn’t been doctored to manipulate viewers. Movie goers receive an untampered outsiders perspective in Free Trip to Egypt. Even when the film drops beats of heavy emotion, Serban and her production maintain to stay on the fringe of the trip. Mounib, on the other hand, interacts with the subjects quite a bit and will occasionally hold group interviews. Other than playing a role producing this documentary and funding the trip, Mounib doesn’t act like he has a major prerogative. He’s a friendly presence, and his meditation keeps the discussions personable and civil; making this film seem less conventional and more conversational. Especially when the subjects start calling each other out on contradictive behaviour.
The personal change we see in Free Trip to Egypt is impressive. While this experience has given its subjects food for thought, the observational results offer audiences a warm feeling of reassurance.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie