Initially, the film was conceived as a historical biopic about the legacy and personal life of Oum Kulthum. However, in 2013, after many drafts of the script, we decided to change the direction of the film from a biopic to a personal story, sharing my own perspectives and challenges as an Iranian woman director.
Looking for Oum Kulthum, therefore, reflects my own obsessions, challenges, process, and unexpected self-discovery. By looking into the destiny of an iconic Middle Eastern female artist, I have been able to explore my own experiences, and that of other Middle Eastern women in greater depth.
A film within a film
Looking for Oum Kulthum was created as a film within a film, navigating between moments of the singer’s private and public life on the one hand, and Mitra’s experience on the other, as she directs a film about an artist she admires, yet has difficulty penetrating.