Synopsis by Mark Deming
A Middle Eastern woman is stranded between new freedoms and old traditions in this drama from writer and director Jocelyn Saab. Dunia (Hanane Turk) is an Egyptian woman in her early twenties whose mother was a famous belly dancer. Dunia has inherited her mother's beauty and talent, but is also keenly intelligent and is studying toward a master's degree in literature. Dunia studies dance under an instructor (Walid Aouni) who obviously is drawn to her as well as her skills, and she's also caught the eye of Beshir (Mohamed Mounir), an instructor at her college who is also helping her with her thesis on romantic poetry of the Arab world. However, Dunia is swept off her feet by Mamdouh (Fathi Abelwahab), a handsome young man who values her intelligence and independence. However, when Dunia marries Mamdouh, his attitude changes as he makes it his business to stifle her forthright nature, while Dunia's mother fears he may force Dunia to undergo the clitoral circumcision that was common to women of her generation. Wanting to express herself, Dunia signs up to take part in an international dance competition, but rather than traditional Egyptian belly dancing, she presents a bold performance piece inspired by the repression of women in her homeland.
Egypt, bellydance, women's-issues