Egyptian films past and present have had something to say about women, but these ones defied the norms - here are 8 of them.
We still have a very long way to go before women receive equal rights. It has been a very long and arduous fight, most of which was fought on film. Women took to cinema to tell their stories and trigger the questions society failed to pose. Here are eight great Egyptian films that took on women's issues and succeeded in changing public conceptions of women for you to commemorate the occasion with!
2oreedu 7allan (I Want A Solution)
Upon its release in 1975, this drama stirred up controversy and conversation for its obvious and simple message: women should be able to divorce their husbands. The film tells the story of Dorriya (Faten Hamama) who finds herself in an ugly legal battle to be granted divorce from her abusive diplomat husband (Roushdy Abaza).
El Bab El Maftou7 (The Open Door)
This Henry Barakat masterpiece stars Faten Hamama who plays the role of Laila, an audacious young woman who grew up in a conservative household. Laila struggles to align her values and politics as a woman with her reality and fails, or does she?
2e7ky ya Scheherazade (Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story)
One of Yusry Nasrallah’s many cinematic gems, is this 2009 film that follows the story of a TV presenter – played by Mona Zaki – who addresses women’s issues on her show, which makes for controversial content. However, she is subdued by her husband who is trying to land a job as the head of a major state newspaper and fears that her political views will jeopardise his candidacy.
Miraty Modeer 3am (My Wife Is A General Manager)
This hysterical 1966 comedy will make you laugh in stitches at how petty Egyptian men can be. Salah Zulfikar goes mad with jealousy after his wife, played by Shadia, becomes his superior at work!
This 2010 drama deals with rampant sexual harassment in Egypt. 678 is the number of the bus Boshra’s character has to take every day; on her many bus rides, she endures countless incidents of sexual harassment until one day, she loses it on them motherfuckers!
Have a box of tissues handy before you watch this 2011 drama. Widely considered the first Egyptian feature film to tackle the misconceptions surrounding AIDS, the film follows the story of Asmaa (Hind Sabry’s character) who is afflicted with the deadly disease as she struggles to keep it a secret and receive medical treatment.
3afwan 2ayoha El Qanoun (Sorry, Mr. Law)
Say what you will about Inas El Degheidy, when she wants to get a point across through film, the controversial filmmaker does so in the most confrontational fashion; she does not tiptoe around anyone’s feelings. This 1985 drama will make your blood boil as it exposes Egyptian laws’ double standards in dealing with men and women when it comes to honour killings and crimes of passion.
El Ostaza Fatma (Miss Fatma)
This is an oldie but goodie! Having just graduated from law school, Fatma (Faten Hamama’s character) aches to pursue a career in law but is discouraged by her lawyer fiancée, who dismisses her capabilities and questions her ability to practice law because she is a woman. One day, he gets convicted of a murder and guess who comes to his legal assistance and wins the case?