It’s not very often that an Egyptian movie has an original idea behind it, and survives its way to Egypt’s movie theatres uninterrupted, unexploited, and uncensored. However, very few do. Identity decided to account for these relatively perplexing performances for our readers to enjoy.
- On A Day Like Today/Zay El Naharda
A 2008 psychological drama thriller, directed by Amr Salama, and starring the revolutionary Basma, the movie follows the life of Mai after her boyfriend, Ayman, dies chasing her brother, a heroin addict played by Asser Yassin. The events reoccur a year later with her new boyfriend Yasser. With the help of a friend, they unravel that the same story, or state of literal déjà vu, if you may, had happened to Ayman a year prior to his death. The movie takes place in flashback form, and dissolves with an out-of-the-blue cessation.
An independent Ahmed Abdallah-directed movie, revolves around the underground music and art scene of Alexandria. Broken-hearted, Khaled Abo El Naga wanders about on the streets of his hometown, only to stumble upon the city’s immensely innovative art scene, from sidewalk hip-hop singers to female rock bands, skateboarders and graffiti artists. His aspiration to shed some light on this parallel universe of overwhelming creativity is what leads the movie on, and leaves you captivated and unable to stop watching as you, too, get to witness a life you never thought could exist in Egypt.
- Sorry For Disturbance/Asef 3al Ez3ag
This movie leads the plot of Ahmed Helmi as an aviator, grappling to maintain an ordinary life due to his mental illness. An illness which soon gives rise to an unexpected plot twist as he learns not everything that happens in his life is real. This movie poses as an accurate and breathtaking representation of the state of this particular mental illness, and the labeling, frustration, and miscommunication issues that come along with it.
You can say this movie can be summed up in the 3 questions Nelly Karim asked during the trailer “Have you been sexually harassed before? How many times? What was your reaction?”. Telling the story of the poverty-smothered side of Egypt and how it’s become successful at reducing, objectifying and oppressing women to nothing more but sexual objects, by all kinds of people from husbands to bus drivers. It’s the true life story of 3 random women, who encounter life changing sexual harassment incidents, one having been harassed on a public transportation bus under the name of 678, granting the movie it’s name. They develop their own unique ways to counteract sexual harassment on the everyday streets of Egypt.
Another one of Amr Salama’s coming of age dramas, Asmaa aims to educate people about the societal associations and conflicts that come along with being an HIV patient, including unemployment and being barred from minimal health care rights. The protagonist, projected by Hend Sabry, contracted HIV from her husband. She then attempts to seek the path for her treatment and emotional well-being by engaging in support groups, and eventually awareness TV shows. She is denied treatment surgery for her burst gall bladder upon her telling the doctor about her HIV case, an event which may have lead to her death. She grapples throughout to bring back her right for living despite her illness, making room for an unexpected ending.