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The Return Of The Prodigal Son

Fall Grants 2023 - Production Stage

Rani Massalha / Feature Narrative / Egypt, Tunisia, France, Qatar / 90 min / Original Language: Arabic / Interests: Fiction


Cairo 2009. Back from the army, Salem, 25, joins his family in Cairo’s rag-picking district, home to a majority of Copts and more than 300,000 pigs. There, he finds his father, Youssef, a silent former swineherd and his older sister, Mira, married to Gaby, a manager of a small garbage recycling business. Salem is entrusted with a pig farm by his brother-in-law. He thrives in his work, makes friends, and falls in love. But when the swine flu appears abroad, psychosis undermines the neighborhood.

There are no cases in Egypt, and yet paranoia is gradually setting in Cairo. Salem can no longer sell his meat. For fear of illness, butcher shops no longer buy his meat. The rag pickers in the neighbourhood are stigmatized—because of their proximity to the pigs—and no longer have access to the buildings from which they collect their garbage. And without garbage, there is no more food for the pigs. Salem and his family are caught in the whirlwind of this “pig crisis”. The Mubarak government preventively passes a law to slaughter all the pigs. It is a shock for Salem, who finds himself torn between the decision to endorse the government’s decision and the actions of resistance.


Rani Massalha
Rani Massalha, Valerie Maureau, Gladys Marciano
Habib Attia, Marie Legrand
Production Company
Cinetelefilms, Les Films Du Tambour

About the Director

In 2013, Rani Massalha directed and co-produced his first feature film, ‘Giraffada’ with Saleh Bakri, Laure De Clermont, and Roschdy Zem. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before embarking on an international tour, while having an official screening at the United Nations headquarters in New York. It was produced by MACT Productions, distributed in France by Pyramide in 2014 (25,000 admissions) and recently bought by Netflix. Rani Massalha is currently in financing of his second feature film, ‘The Return Of The Prodigal Son’, produced by Habib Attia and Marie Legrand.


  • Main Contact

    Habib Attia


  • Main Contact

    Marie Legrand

    Les Films du Tambour

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