Cairo, today. Hebba, a television show host, presents a successful political talk show on a privately owned network. Karim, her husband, is deputy editor in chief of a government-owned newspaper. His ambition is to become editor in chief. He is led to believe by the party leaders, that his wife’s constant meddling with opposition politics could put his promotion in danger. Using his boyish charm and sexual prowess, he convinces Hebba to stay away from politics, and devote her program to social issues for which the government cannot be held responsible. She starts a series of talk shows around issues involving women. She listens to the stories of resilient, strong women, who, like Scheherazade in “A Thousand and One Nights”, tell their stories to stay alive. Hebba knows, of course, that women’s issues are political. But she could not imagine up to which extent. Gradually, she finds herself walking in a minefield of abuse, sexual, religious, social and political repression that lead to the break-up of her marriage. From storyteller, Hebba herself becomes a story.
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“More than 70 percent of Egyptian households depend on women’s work. Rather than accept this reality, and accordingly accept women as equals, society is constantly pressuring women into showing more submission” writes Yousry Nasrallah in his production notes. “Formally, this paradox has allowed me to restore (and subvert) a link with a wonderful tradition in Egyptian Cinema: the superb melodramas and the gorgeous women, who allowed audiences to emote, think and enjoy films for over a hundred years.”
Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Toronto Film Festival writes “Fluid, handsome and gorgeous to behold, Scheherazade, tell me a story is a polished piece of Egyptian storytelling – polished to an edge. Nasrallah proves himself a master of compelling narrative that carries a strong social critique. Provocative and audacious in its exploration of how men and women shape each other’s lives in today’s Cairo, Scheherazade, tell me a story marks an important addition to the canon of Egyptian cinema.”