Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story 2009

Ehky ya Schahrazad

Directed by Yousry Nasrallah

A popular TV talk show host risks everything to unearth startling stories of women’s subjugation in contemporary Cairo. “Brilliantly provoking, fierce and audacious… a film that Egypt thoroughly needs.” — Daily News Egypt

Egypt In Arabic with English subtitles
135 minutes



Kamel Abou Ali


Waheed Hamed


Samir Bahsan


Mona Rabi

Production designer

Mohamed Atteya

Costume designer

Dina Nadeem


Tamer Karawan


Mona Zakki (Hebba), Mahmoud Hemeida (Adham), Hassan El Raddad (Karim), Sawsan Badr (Amany), Rihab El Gamal (Safaa), Nesrine Amin (Wafaa), Nahed El Sebaï (Hanaa), Mohamed Ramadan (Saïd), Sanaa Akroud (Nahed)


Venice, Toronto 2009


The titular heroine of 1001 Nights finds her 21st-century equivalent in popular TV presenter Hebba Younis, who hosts a daily talk show on Cairo TV. Pressured by her bosses (and ambitious husband) to be less confrontational in her dealings with politicians, she opts for a stealthier approach. She will feature human interest stories about ‘ordinary’ women. First off: a beautiful, educated, talented woman who has decided to remain a virgin because of the unacceptable restrictions demanded by any man who ever interested her. The subversive impact of the increasingly jaw-dropping tales of female subjugation Hebba draws into her spotlight inevitably arouses serious male hostility – just as 10,000 Facebookers condemned popular actress Mona Zakki for starring in this vivid, rousing film. — BG

“Yousry Nasrallah, one of Egypt’s greatest filmmakers, has crafted not only this year’s best Egyptian film so far, but one of the most important movies of the decade. A brilliantly provoking, fierce and audacious cinematic document about Egyptian women… Nasrallah and the film’s scriptwriter, Waheed Hamed, dabble in sex, politics, violence and social mores with a confident, unshaken pen… What Nasrallah essentially does is magnify these issues in a tightly controlled dramatic form, concluding with a strong statement neither direct nor preachy. There’s no uniformed message; just a stern picture of the reality of our times… Scheherazade is a film that Egypt thoroughly needs; a wake-up call to the sordid world our leaders, religious guides and fathers have created.” — Joseph Fahim, Daily News Egypt