Egyptian director Kawthar Younis presented her acclaimed film My Girlfriend at the Venice Film Festival. Image Credit: Supplied

It is a monumental time for Egyptians now as they celebrated another Egyptian film to be part of the Venice Film Festival competition. The short film that has made history is none other than My Girlfriend directed by Kawthar Younis.

The Egyptian filmmaker has been in constant shock and overwhelmed with pride and excitement to represent Egypt and achieve one of her own personal dreams of having a line of recognition for her work.

“It has been a dream of mine since I started working in the industry.” She tells us “the moment I read the email I thought this must be a dream. I would not believe it until I went to sleep and woke up assured that the email was still intact. It took me around a week to believe it was happening.”

The short film participated under the Orizzonti Cortometraggi Concorso which in Italian stands for ‘Horizons Short Film Competition’. This is an international competition that spotlights films that represent current trends. It is fair to say that film holds great power in society with its influential touch—it captures people’s thoughts and feelings. It has both the ability to connect you more with yourself and with others.

Kawthar Younis saw the beauty of how film can challenge the way you view the world from the early age of thirteen and has been eager to make it in the industry ever since. “I have always been sure of what I wanted to be when I grew up, being a director was also my father’s dream, but he chose a different path, a more academic one and so he became a cinema professor at the Cairo Higher Institute of Cinema instead. I also partly wanted to fulfill my father’s dreams,” Younis assures us.

The ambitious filmmaker believes in the elation that you feel after watching a film with emotions running high and the questions on the world around you begin to ask yourself. Younis’s latest film My Girlfriend explores gender specifically in the Middle East where conversation on the topic of breaking gender bias and stereotypes is not frequently discussed.

“I wanted to explore the issues females face in society and explore what gender really means.” A question that Younis alliterates about her film is “what if the tables were turned?”

My Girlfriend takes us on a journey through the lens of a couple who test their relationship which ultimately ends up with them seeing a blurred vision of their own gender roles.” Younis is aware that in Middle Eastern society there is still a substantial portion of people dividing genders and boxing them in categories with what they should do and how they should act.

Through making the film Younis has noticed her own perspective on the topic evolve and even sees a difference in her relationship with her husband; she is now looking at discussions they have from his viewpoint as her husband and as a man. Perhaps if we put ourselves in the shoes of the other person in all our relationships and tried to see the world through their eyes as opposed to our own we would not be acting through the trained ideas of gender ideals. Maybe then and only then we will all have more appreciation, understanding and alignment with one another.


1) Egyptian director Kawthar Younis presented her acclaimed film My Girlfriend at the Venice Film Festival. Image credit: supplied