As I Want (2021)


Cairo, January 25, 2013: An explosion of sexual assaults takes place in Tahrir Square on the second anniversary of the revolution. In response, a massive outpouring of enraged women fill the streets. Director Samaher Alqadi picks up her camera as a form of protection and begins documenting the growing women’s rebellion, not knowing where the story will lead her. When Samaher becomes pregnant during filming, she starts to re-examine the constructs of her own childhood in Palestine and what it means to be a woman and a mother in the Middle East. She begins an imaginary conversation with her mother, who died before Samaher could see her one last time. She begins to form the words left unsaid and shares her deepest secrets in an intimate inner voice that guides us through the story. She goes on a traumatic visit back to her parent’s house in Ramallah, where she is confronted with the dark memories of a childhood she managed to escape. Meanwhile, the struggle in Egypt continues and, even after the birth of her son, Samaher still finds herself on the frontline.



“As I Want is an important and impressively powerful film about the fight for liberation and emancipation, with harrowing real-life stories helping drive women to show their collective power against ignorance and hostility.” 

– Mark Adams, Business Doc Europe, March 1st 21

“A strong cinematic bid against women’s oppression in the Arab world”

– Davide Abbatescianni, Cineuropa

 This feature promises to “boldly combine elements of fiction and documentary” and “manoeuvre effortlessly from captivating reality to visual poetry.”

– Cineuropa, Davide Abbatescianni, 15.4.21

“As I Want is not merely a document of these women’s uprising against the Islamist Morsi and all he represents. It’s also a cinematic letter from the director to her mother – a woman she loves dearly who nevertheless raised her to loathe herself. The political and the personal inextricably intertwined.”

 – Lauren Wissot, Modern Times Review

Samaher Alqadi, Egypt, France, Norway, Palestine, Germany, 2021, 78´
Berlin IFF – Encounters, IP: CPH:DOX, DOCS Barcelona, Durban IFF, DOKU Fest Prizren, LATAM Premiere: SANFIC, Der Neue Heimatfilm, IDFA - Best of Fests, JCC Carthage, Human FF, Big Sky IDFF, KINORAMA Trondheim, Filmes des Femmes, Cinema du Reel, Movies that Matter, Ecrans du Reel Beirut
Fipresci Award at Flying Broom Women´s Film Festival, SANFIC - Best Film in the International Competition, Best Documentary in Heimat Film Festival Austria, FIFI Bordeaux - Winner of the Contrebande Competition, Special Mention in Inconvenient Films, JCC Carthage - Bronze Award & Lina Ben Mhenni Human Rights Award Best Documentary in Women FF in Sale, Audience Award at Festival dei Popoli, Honorable mention at HUMAN Oslo DFF, Special Mention - Sguardi Altrove Milan 2nd award at "+16” category of Cine a la Vista international festival, Honorable mention - Sharjah Film Platform, UAE
World except of Egypt, Spain,Israel & Middle East;
Spain: Docs Barcelona, Alternative distribution: Slovakia - One World in Communities, Poland - Watch Docs Travelling, Italy: Zalab, VOD: Tenk
Festival & sales

The Palestinian filmmaker Samaher Alqadi was born as one of nine children and grew up in the Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah. She first worked for the Palestinian Ministry of Culture before being accepted into the Egyptian Higher Institute of Cinema in Cairo. An emerging voice in Arabic documentary, her films focus on the evolving status of women and dissident artists in the Middle East. As I Want is her first feature-length documentary.