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[Others] When popular series challenge Puritanism in Egypt.

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Post time: 13-3-2018 04:36:14 Posted From Mobile Phone
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Conservatism progressively extends within the Egyptian society to the point that a scene with a kiss is frowned upon, criticized and arouses the wrath of a crowd.


On television, in the cinema or in popular streaming series, popular fiction challenges taboos about relations between men and women or about the emancipation of young people in Egypt, a country where Puritanism grows.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, Egyptian cinema, then one of the most important in the world, extolled female characters of strong character and filmed scenes of love that had nothing to envy Western productions of the time.
"Things began to change in the 1980s with the regression of society" in relation to customs, the famous critic Tarek El Shenawi told AFP.
Under the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gulf countries, conservatism progressively spread within Egyptian society.
Some young filmmakers, however, propose daring productions that, while arousing public interest, provoke criticism from the guardians of morality.Many of them disseminate their work on video platforms such as YouTube.
The director of the production "Balash Tebosni" (Do not Kiss Me), a comedy released at the end of February, laughs at the kiss taboo that now exists in Egyptian cinema today.
"Comedy allows people to accept the issue better," Amer told AFP."Society puts pressure on artists because they are more conservative than they are," he says.
In this feature film "reserved for adults", a young filmmaker struggles to shoot a scene with a kiss in the face of the strong reluctance of his leading actress, who claims to be pious.
Yasmin Raeis, who gives life to the character, remembers his childhood, when he saw "totally normal" movies with kiss scenes."But, when I grew up, people began to say that it is something that should not be done," he told AFP.
--- Generational gap ---
Egyptian fiction now privileges the police and action stories, but some family comedies dare to tackle social taboos, as well as a part of the youth of the country.
Followed by hundreds of thousands of viewers on YouTube, the series "Sabaa Gar" (Seventh Neighbor), whose second season is currently broadcast by private television channel CBC, is accused by some of corrupting the youth.
Its protagonist is a single woman who lives alone and has sexual relations, smokes tobacco and hash in secret. "Sabaa Gar" shows a generation gap between young people who claim individual decisions and their elders, more attached to social norms.
The aim of the popular series onYouTubewas not to arouse controversy, assures AFP Heba Yusry, the production's correalizadora.But it has allowed "people (...) to know how the new generation thinks", he rejoices.
The famous YouTube series also shows the frustrations of a young business woman who dreams of having a child but does not want to share her life with a man.It concludes a pact with a colleague: to marry with the sole purpose of procreating and then divorcing.
This is one of the chapters of YouTube's famous Egyptian series.
A similar theme had already been a great success to the popular comedy "Bashtery Ragel" (Buy a man) released in theaters in February 2017, Valentine's Day.
But on the sets of filming, as in society, conservatism is tenacious: many actresses refuse to make kiss scenes or papers considered unmoral, in the name of a "clean cinema", according to the jargon used in the sector.
Some even decided to leave the stage for religious reasons.
The Egyptian State itself is presented as the guarantor of morality. Under the authoritarian regime of President Abdel Fatah al Sisi, repression was reinforced in the name of good manners, especially a few weeks before a presidential election in which it seems to be guaranteed re-election.
Two little-known singers were recently sentenced to prison for "incitement to depravity" after appearing in suggestive video clips on YouTube.


Source: With information from AFP.

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