QUATRE FEMMES D’EGYPTE

Tahani Rached
Canada, Egypt 1997 | 90 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU

How do we get along with each other when our views col­lide? This is a modern, urban ques­tion which is vital and uni­ver­sal. Four Egypt­ian women dare to answer this ques­tion. Their con­fronta­tion rede­fines the notion of tol­er­ance. The four girl­friends have one common goal: human dig­ni­ty. They are full of love for their coun­try. They still remem­ber the regency of King Faruk and they had hoped for fun­da­men­tal changes after Nasser’s rev­o­lu­tion. All of them have been fight­ing for social jus­tice since then, and yet, their iden­ti­ties have devel­oped accord­ing to the rhythm of his­to­ry. Each one of them has chosen a dif­fer­ent path. Their Islam­ic faith, Chris­t­ian belief, or Athe­ist con­vic­tion are like antipodes, their dif­fer­ent notions of a state col­lide: one wants the seper­a­tion of reli­gion and state, others fight for a social­ist or an Islam­ic coun­try.

Nev­er­the­less, the four women refuse to con­demn each other or allow dis­dain to enter into their rela­tion­ships. They listen to each other’s dif­fer­ent opin­ions and they are able to con­tra­dict each other. It doesn’t impair their friend­ship. They accept each other com­plete­ly, allow quar­rels, check each other , cal­cu­late and judge with­out with­draw­ing them­selves. They dare to judge each other and to tell each other what they think. They give each other the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explain them­selves and take revenge. And they laugh about it.

The Pro­tag­o­nists
Amina Rachid is a pro­fes­sor of com­par­a­tive lit­er­a­ture at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cairo. A left­ist mil­i­tant and a non-prac­tis­ing moslem since her youth, she worked for a decade at the nation­al research centre in Paris (CNRS) and returned to Egypt at the end of the 70s. She is editor-in-chief for ‘Nour’, a lit­er­ary jour­nal devot­ed to the work of Arab women.

Safy­naz Kazem left Egypt in 1961 to study in the United States of Amer­i­ca and stayed for 5 years. A devot­ed Moslem who wears the veil and advo­cates the strict appli­ca­tion of Sharia (Islam­ic law). She works as a writer, the­atre critic and jour­nal­ist. Recent­ly, she pub­lished an essay on the roots of her writ­ing.

Sha­hen­da Maklad is a leader of the agrar­i­an rev­o­lu­tion and the strug­gle for peas­ants’ rights fol­low­ing the assas­si­na­tion of her hus­band, whom she suc­ceed­ed. A prac­tis­ing Muslim, she has run for elec­tion three times.

Wedad Mitry is a retired teacher, trade-union­ist and cam­paigns for the rights of women. She was par­tic­u­lar­ly active in the fight for the right of women to vote. She is a prac­tis­ing Copt.