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SCHEHERAZADE, TELL ME A STORY (Ehky ya Scheherazade)
Lina Mangiacapre Award Venice Film Fest
"Bold and brave... Yousry Nasrallah presents women's sexuality as an expression of self-determination" -Variety
"An excoriating and exhilarating critique... beautifully executed" -Senses of Cinema
Recommended! -NewCity Chicago
"This superb 2009 feature, like the finest works of his mentor [Youssef Chahine], brilliantly intertwines melodrama, a lyrical formal style and a ferocious political denunciation of Egypt's oppressive patriarchal culture and corrupt political state" -TimeOut Chicago
Critics' Choice! "The movie is refreshingly blunt in its feminist outrage, but Nasrallah never allows this to compromise character, humor, or artistry" -Chicago Reader
A sharp observation of Egyptian society, Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story uses the classic Arabian Nights framework of a story within a story. Hebba Younis (Mona Zakki), is a contemporary, fiercely independent talk-show host. She is married to Karim Hassan (Hassan El Raddad), an opportunistic newspaper editor for a government-owned daily. Hebba is asked to forfeit the success of her career for the professional ambitions of her husband and in the eyes of government officials, he must persuade his wife to soften the critical tone she broadcasts across the nation.
Afraid of how yet another divorce may affect her celebrity status with the public, Hebba finally complies, ultimately privileging the success of her marriage over her own personal and professional aims. In shifting away from hard politics to devote her program to social issues for which the government cannot be held responsible - the so-called "women's stories" - she discovers lives and struggles that may be even more damaging to reveal. Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story is a surprising, engrossing and thoughtful film about modern gender politics in Egypt.
Directed by Yousry Nasrallah, Egypt, 2009, 134 mins. In Arabic with English subtitles.