Fighting Social cancer

"Angels curse women who reject their husbands!" complains a frustrated man in the film Cairo 678. When his more frustrated wife replies by asking if sex is what he married her for, he says yes. "I didn't marry you to play backgammon with you." Well, nothing good comes from normalized misogyny, not in Cairo or anywhere. A few years ago, Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab was a successful young screenwriter with several Middle Eastern blockbusters to his credit, but as he later told The New Yorker, "I wanted to do something that I believed in." Diab turned his attention to what Egyptians describe as a "social cancer," the epidemic of sexual harassment. That is, if they describe it at all; the country's first-ever harassment suit wasn't filed until 2008. Cairo 678, Diab's directorial debut, dramatizes that case, weaving it into a fictive but nonetheless heart-wrenching depiction of three Cairene women from three different classes, each suffering from harassment and without hope of recourse, who take the matter of justice into their own hands. As the San Francisco Film Society's Artist in Residence, Diab screens his film on Thursday and gives a talk on Monday. "When you see the film," he has said, "you know why people made the revolution."

Thu., Oct. 10, 7 p.m., 2013
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