The bacteria left scars on his face and body which Egyptian society would rather keep hidden. As a child, Beshay, (Rady Gamal) was taken by his father to a leper community on the margins, with a promise that he would soon be back among his own people. But years have passed and when his wife dies, this illiterate man, now cured of the disease, decides to trace his family. He hopes to understand why, like so many other leprosy sufferers, he was abandoned.
In his first journey, riding a donkey towards Qena, the southern Egyptian town where he was born, he is helped by the young Obama (Ahmed Abdelhafiz), an orphan from Nubia whom he has signed up as an apprentice. Along the way the pair discover the harshness of a world he had always been kept apart from.
Having come up through documentaries and advertising, Abu Bakr Shawky has seized on one Egyptian society's taboos for his first feature film. Shot between Cairo and the Sudanese border, in remote areas along the Nile, Yomeddine's authenticity is underpinned by the portraits he made in the Abu Zaabal leper colony for his first film: The Colony, a short documentary completed in 2008.
During his conversations with the residents, Abu Bakr Shawky was taken by the humility and the humour shown by these "outcasts", who were mostly abandoned by their relatives. The director wove their accounts together to create a fictional story. "I realised that leprosy was more of a social problem than a medical one," Abu Bakr Shawky stressed. He entrusted the title roles of the film to amateur actors.
The director created this feel good movie by completing a difficult two-week trek across Egypt, just like his two leading characters, on their quest to find humanity.