In the mid-1990s, what did young Egyptians think of wearing the hijab? And of love? Where would their future lie, in their village or in Cairo? Yousry Nasrallah, one of the biggest names in Arab cinema, shows the diversity of their answers, from both male and female perspectives.
The central figure is Bassem Samra, a 24-year-old teacher and aspiring actor in a film by Youssef Chahine. He holds lively conversations with friends, family and colleagues about their lives, with topics ranging from family pressure to get married to the complexities of dating in Arab society. The hijab turns out to mean something different to each of them—a means to be able to walk down the street undisturbed, an expression of faith.
These relaxed, introspective discussions paint a varied picture of society that undermines many Western prejudices. What ultimately matters for these young people is to find their way in a world in which men and women receive mixed messages.