Monday, March 19, 2012

Egyptian Film: Yousry Nasrallah's Scheherezade, Tell Me A Story Available on DVD

From a media release:

Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story Now Available on DVD!

Director: Yousry Nasrallah
From: Egypt
Year: 2009
Minutes: 135
Language: Arabic with English subtitles
Genre: fiction
Original title: Ehky Ya Schahrazad


This "bold and brave" (Variety) drama from Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah is a tale ripped from the headlines, and yet a clever reference to the myths and lore of the Middle East.

Cairo, today. Hebba, a television show host, presents a successful political talk show on a privately owned network. Karim, her husband, is deputy editor in chief of a government-owned newspaper. His ambition is to become editor in chief. He is led to believe by the party leaders, that his wife’s constant meddling with opposition politics could put his promotion in danger. Using his boyish charm and sexual prowess, he convinces Hebba to stay away from politics, and devote her program to social issues for which the government cannot be held responsible. She starts a series of talk shows around issues involving women. She listens to the stories of resilient, strong women, who, like Scheherazade in “A Thousand and One Nights”, tell their stories to stay alive. Hebba knows, of course, that women’s issues are political. But she could not imagine up to which extent. Gradually, she finds herself walking in a minefield of abuse, sexual, religious, social and political repression that lead to the break-up of her marriage. From storyteller, Hebba herself becomes a story.

“More than 70 percent of Egyptian households depend on women’s work. Rather than accept this reality, and accordingly accept women as equals, society is constantly pressuring women into showing more submission” writes Yousry Nasrallah in his production notes. “Formally, this paradox has allowed me to restore (and subvert) a link with a wonderful tradition in Egyptian Cinema: the superb melodramas and the gorgeous women, who allowed audiences to emote, think and enjoy films for over a hundred years.”

Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Toronto Film Festival writes “Fluid, handsome and gorgeous to behold, Scheherazade, tell me a story is a polished piece of Egyptian storytelling – polished to an edge.  Nasrallah proves himself a master of compelling narrative that carries a strong social critique.  Provocative and audacious in its exploration of how men and women shape each other’s lives in today’s Cairo, Scheherazade, tell me a story marks an important addition to the canon of Egyptian cinema.”

DVD FEATURES:
2-DVD set
Includes the Egyptian feature Fallen Angels Paradise (Oussama Fawzi, 2000)  and the short Rotating Square (Ahmed Hassouna, 2002).

Ossama Fawzi's ghoulish satire, ''Fallen Angels Paradise,'' goes where few films have gone before by suggesting that life in society's lower depths can be a loathsome kind of utopia. [...] ''Fallen Angels Paradise'' exudes a randy, robust charm as it unapologetically thumbs its nose at respectability and everything the word implies. Stephen Holden  - New York Times

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