[press conference for Cairo Conspiracy (2022)
at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival] It's fiction, but like with all fiction, reality always seems to smash you in the face! I have a personal relationship to Al-Azhar; my grandfather went to Al-Azhar and it's an institution that I have been interested in for a long time. When I wrote the script there was no conflict between the president and Sheikh Al-Azhar, the Grand Imam. The conflict started when I had already written the script. So it has been very tense between Al-Azhar and Sisi [Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
]. I wanted to tell a story essentially about authority but I couldn't ignore reality and I had to create a parallel reality in a way, because the real Sheikh Al-Azhar - Tayeb - is a very intelligent man, very sophisticated; a voice of reason, I would say, in a region full of crazy voices and megalomaniac leaders. He's actually a voice of reason, so this power struggle that is going on is sort of a mix.