When Ziad Jallad first read the script for Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous, the actor found it very “relatable” but also “very absurd and funny.”
The film is written and directed by Wissam Charaf and follows the story of Mehdia, an Ethiopian migrant domestic worker in Beirut, who loves Ahmed (Jallad), a Syrian refugee who struggles to survive in dealing in second-hand metal scraps, while affected by a mysterious physical condition related to shrapnel wounds exposure during the war.
Their love story seems to have no future, but since they have nothing, they can lose nothing and when the opportunity presents itself, they leave Beirut in a hopeful and desperate get-away while Ahmed’s physical condition gets worse and worse.
“I could relate to this story because I come from this part of the world and I could relate to those themes of refugees, of how domestic workers are treated in all parts of the world,” Jallad told Deadline’s Red Sea Studio. “I think this movie is universal because yes it talks about situation in Lebanon and about racism and how Syrian refugees are treated and how domestic workers, no matter where they come from, whether it be Asia or Africa.”
Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous is playing at the Red Sea International Film Festival this week in its main competition section.
The film shot some scenes in Lebanon and while there, the Lebanese-Egyptian actor recalls being “shocked” by the situation there given the country is currently in a crisis due to corruption and unsustainable financial policies.
“I hadn’t been in Lebanon for a few years but I was kind of shocked by the situation over there because of the bombings that that happened the year before that and the financial crisis,” he said. “Half of the shops were closed, it was like a ghost city in a way, a lot of poverty in the streets. So, I was sad to see the state of the country but at the same time I was happy to be there to shoot in Lebanon and to be with Lebanese people and to work with them.”
Take a look at the video above.