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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

Film shines spotlight on Egypt's sexual harassment

The cast and crew of Egyptian movie 678 are optimistic it will receive awards for pushing boundaries and shining the spotlight on sexual harassment in the country.
The cast of the Arabic movie 678, with its director, Mohamed Diab, wearing a black jacket, at Madinat Jumeirah during the festival.
The cast of the Arabic movie 678, with its director, Mohamed Diab, wearing a black jacket, at Madinat Jumeirah during the festival.

DUBAI // The cast and crew of Egyptian movie 678 are optimistic it will receive awards for pushing boundaries and shining the spotlight on sexual harassment in the country.

Mohamed Diab, the director of the film, believed it to be among the most important movies he had produced.

Speaking at the seventh Dubai International Film Festival ahead of the gala screening of the film last night, Diab said: "I have made commercial movies before, but 678 was a risk. I have a strong belief in it and will continue its campaign, because it is not just a movie."

The title of the movie was chosen to symbolise the problem's ability to escalate - that sexual harassment was not at its beginning or final stages. "When people are oppressed and under pressure, the response could be in the form of an even greater explosion, which is what you see towards the end of the film. However, we are not advocating violence, only that each person interprets the issue in their own way," Diab said.

Egyptian singer Bushra, who was cast as one of the leading ladies, said the movie was about all women from all social classes.

"This film is about women's rights, human rights and the invasion of privacy. We are discussing it from an Egyptian perspective because this is how we experienced it, but there is no doubt that this is a universal problem," she said.

"Women of all ages and social class can [fall victim] to harassment, so the issue is how each relates and handles it," she said.

Bushra also noted a surge of serious films which surpassed commercial motivation. "Politicians alone do not create change. It is high time for us actors and filmmakers to also participate," she said.

Majid al Kedwany agreed, saying there was a new generation of filmmakers and screenwriters in Egypt who were striving to send important messages through film.

"We are not only talking about sexual harassment but harassment of the psyche. This happens in all parts of the world, not just Egypt," said Mr al Kedwany. "This is just one of the issues we are exploring."

"678 is among my favourite movies," said lead actress Nelly Karim. "And I hope people feel Egypt is hosting distinctive films that discuss real issues and causes."

 

melshoush@thenational.ae