Whether on the sly or not-so-subtly, as a nation that refuses to talk about sex, we often see that reflected on the silver screen...
Play sports. Pray. Chew gum. Such are the ingenious pieces of advice the pious, the conservative, and the absolutely clueless tend to give to those who dare speak of their sexual frustration. The most liberal of this bunch, might recommend masturbation at the most. Needless to say they’re talking out of their asses.
In spite of Egyptian government censorship, some filmmakers have managed to produce interesting films on the topic. Some are more direct than others, but all hammer the point through.
1- Film Thakafy (2000) Comedy. Directed by Mohamed Amin. Starring Ahmed Rizk, Ahmed Eid, and Fathy Abdel Wahab.
This timeless stoner film is about three sexually frustrated friends, fixated on watching a particular porn video. Having no private place, no VCR, and no TV (at least not all three at the same time), they go on a misadventure of hilarity, their group increasing in number of sexually frustrated people as they go, falling in one mishap after the other, all because of the restrictions of society.
2- El Naama Wel Tawous (2002) Drama. Directed by Mohamed Abou Seif. Starring Basma, Moustafa Shabaan, and Lebleba.
He grabs her, rips her wedding dress off, and in spite of her protestations, fucks her like a barn animal. So begins the story of the newlyweds who become so frustrated, that they seek the help of a sex therapist.
3- Bab El Hadid (1958) Drama/Thriller. Directed by Youssef Chahine. Starring Youssef Chahine, Hend Rostom, and Farid Shawky.
The story of a man driven to madness by sexual frustration and obsession.
4- El Ekhteyar (1970) Psychological thriller. Directed by Youssef Chahine. Starring Ezzat El Alayly, Soad Hosni, and Mahmoud El Meligui.
Written by Youssef Chahine and Naguib Mahfouz, this film is as gripping as it is literary in nature. The opening scene shows us cops investigating a site where they have just found a dead body. The events just take us on a spin from there to the very end.
5- Libido (2013) Short film/Comedy. Directed by Youssef Alimam. Starring Mazin Helal and Youssef Alimam.
An award-winning, controversial documentary about sex in Egypt, and the resulting collective social behaviour stemming from sexual frustration.
6- Bentein Men Masr (2010) Drama. Directed by Mohamed Amin. Starring Zeina, Saba Mubarak, and Nehal Anbar.
Two unmarried Egyptian girls in their thirties are driven to extreme measures by their sexual and social frustration.
7- Sahar El Layaly (2003) Drama. Directed by Hani Khalifa. Starring Khalid Abul Naga, Ahmed Helmy, Fathy Abdel Wahab, Sherif Mounir, Hanan Turk, Mona Zaki, Ola Ghanem, and Gihan Fadel.
A web of stories amongst a group of close friends depicting relationship trouble, with one particular story focusing on a wife’s shattering sexual frustration.
8- Afareet El Asfalt (1996) Drama. Directed by Ossama Fawzi. Starring Mahmoud Hemeida, Hassan Hosni, Maged El Kedwani, Abdallah Mahmoud, and Salwa Khattab.
Following the lives of microbus drivers, and their entanglement in a web of twisted secret affairs that result from sexual frustration.
9- El Raghba (1979/1980) Drama. Directed by Mohamed Khan. Starring Nour El Sherif, and Madiha Kamel.
A man rendered impotent by war injuries irrationally pursues a married woman with whom he shared a relationship 10 years earlier.
10- El Hob Fo’ Hadabet El Haram (1986) Drama. Directed by Atef El Tayeb. Starring Ahmed Zaki and Athaar El Hakim.
A very insightful film about a couple unable to get married for financial reasons as a result of society’s unrealistic traditions and demands for marriage. Unable to have sex due to lack of privacy and personal space as well as regressive traditions against pre-marital sex, they elope, only to find that they still haven’t solved the problem of having a ‘place’.