At first glance, the film “Scheherazade, Tell Me a Story” seems to provide another viewpoint about women. However, its underlined notions of politics, patriarchy, gender and the nation are what make this film stand out.
Placed in Egypt, the film tells primarily the story of Hebba, a “modern” and “liberated” TV show hostess who has a very successful career. Her popular show deals with a number of political issues, ranging from corruption to religious extremism. Karim, Hebba’s husband, is a very successful reporter who has the opportunity to be editor-in-chief of a governmental newspaper. In his new role, Karim is asked to “control” his wife and make her focus her show on different issues; thus, he pressures Hebba to avoid political topics of any type in her show.
Their perfect marriage comes to an end when Hebba starts reporting on women’s issues at her husband’s request, only to realize that women and their sexuality are regulated politically. The effects of patriarchy find their way in their marriage through the political power that Mubarak’s regime was said to exercise in both the public and the private. Hebba realizes that despite her modern-Westernized experience, women in Egypt live double lives between tradition, modernity, religion and politics. She decides to bring women’s experience into her show, thinking that their stories will have nothing political. However, women’s love lives and sexualities prove to be the most political topics.