Alexandria… Why? + short film and Q&A

We are pleased to be hosting NAZRA: Queer Arab Lives on Film in our Towner Auditorium, in association with Eyes Wide Open Cinema, a Brighton-based LGBT+film strand. Until December we will have a monthly exploration of queer Arab identities and experiences. Each feature-length film will be accompanied by a short film and Q&A discussion with an esteemed expert.

Still from Alexandria… Why?, Youssef Chahine, 1979. 

Youssef Chahine was one of the most influential voices in Egyptian cinema history. Alexandria…Why? is Chahine’s semi-autobiographical melodrama set amidst the tumult of 1940s Egypt.

Young cinephile Yahia dreams of a life in Hollywood or on the theatre stage, but the threat of war in Europe and the rumblings of Egypt’s nascent anti-colonial struggle set to thwart these hopes. Meanwhile, in a notably subversive – but also tender – representation for its time, an an Egyptian aristocrat finds himself falling for a precocious British soldier he has captured.


Still from Half a Life, Tamara Shogaolu, 2017.

Directed by Tamara Shogaolu, 2017 12m
In Arabic with English subtitles
This animated short documentary pairs the intimate narration of a young, Egyptian gay activist with highly stylised animation, bringing the streets of Cairo to life through his firsthand account. He shares a traumatising encounter that prompted him to become a queer rights activist in Egypt’s unstable, increasingly dangerous and oppressive social climate.

+ Skype Q&A with Dr Samar Habib

Dr Habib is an expert of international standing on gender and sexuality, and is the author of books and articles on same-sex love and desire among women in the Arab world and the juncture of Islam and homosexuality.

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