×

In the Shadow of a Man

Four Egyptian women from diverse backgrounds and generations talk about their lives and how they were shaped by their gender, in slender, low-budget docu "In the Shadow of a Man," from debuting English-Egyptian helmer Hanan Abdalla.

Four Egyptian women from diverse backgrounds and generations talk about their lives and how they were shaped by their gender, in slender, low-budget docu “In the Shadow of a Man,” from debuting English-Egyptian helmer Hanan Abdalla. Although format and assembly are conventional, with visuals repping an intimate, handheld variation on standard-issue talking heads, the tie-in to contempo events in Tahrir Square and current curiosity about the distaff perspective of the Middle East and relationships could spark interest from broadcasters, fests and human rights forums.

Discussion of marriage — and attitudes toward it — dominates the conversations. Thirty-one-year-old Suzanne, an independent shopkeeper, has broken six engagements and blew off a potential date to join the protests in Tahrir Square. Badreya, a hard-working young mother of four in Upper Egypt, feels lonely and unappreciated by her husband, but is willing to make sacrifices for her kids. Now 73, upper-class Shahinda eloped with her cousin and evolved into a passionate activist for the rights of Egyptian farmers. Meanwhile, feisty 69-year-old Wafaa divorced at 35 and moved to London to work as a laundress before winding up as the helmer’s nanny. Tech package is bare-bones basic.

In the Shadow of a Man

Egypt

  • Production: A Hanan Abdalla production in association with Zero Prod., Mosireen, U.N. Women Egypt. (International sales: Pacha Pictures, Paris.) Produced by Hanan Abdalla. Executive producers, Cat Villiers, Khalid Abdalla, Tamer El Said, Hossam Abdalla. Directed by Hanan Abdalla;
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV), Abdalla; editor, Sard Abd Allah; music, Anouar Barhem, Laila Samy. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama Documentary), Feb. 12, 2012. Running time: 65 MIN.
  • With: With: Wafaa, Badreya, Shahinda, Suzanne.