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Bashtaalak sa'at

Shall I Compare You To a Summer's Day?
Still from the film "Bashtaalak sa
© Aflam Wardeshan / Amerikafilm
  • Director

    Mohammad Shawky Hassan

  • Egypt, Lebanon, Germany / 2022
    66 min. / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language

    Arabic, English

A glance leads to a smile, a smile to a rendezvous: every love story begins the same way. These narratives are stored in songs and poems and live on beyond their inevitable endings, as Shakespeare’s titular sonnet 18 also suggests. In Mohammad Shawky Hassan’s metafictional essay, a female narrator who wishes to tell the story of a love between two men encounters a polyamorous chorus of lovers, and this oft-told tale is multiplied. In Club Scheherazade, there is no protagonist, and every song has various versions. Heteronormative dramaturgy is challenged polyphonically and across a range of media: lovers ask each other about threesomes, Grindr contacts and past dates. Pop clichés are twisted, heartache permeates the men’s singing, and poems by Wadih Saadeh are read out while a lover’s dirty laundry is aired. The narrator mischievously tries for a happy ending as her characters exit the story. “If pain could be forgotten through words,” we hear at one point, “no lover would ever have to walk away wounded.” (Jan Künemund)

Mohammad Shawky Hassan, born in 1981 in Cairo, Egypt. He studied philosophy, film direction and film studies and works as a director, writer, cinematographer and editor. His short film And on a Different Note was shown in the 2015 Forum Expanded programme and has been acquired as part of the MoMA’s permanent exhibition.

Production Mohammad Shawky Hassan, Maximilian Haslberger, Hesham Marold. Production companies Aflam Wardeshan (Berlin, Germany), Amerikafilm (Berlin, Germany). Written and directed by Mohammad Shawky Hassan. Cinematography Carlos Vasquez. Editing Carine Doumit. Music Amen Feizabadi. Sound design Kinda Hassan (Sound Design & Electroacoustic Composition). Sound Tsvetelina Valkova. Production design Veronica Wüst. Costumes Veronica Wüst. Make-up Nuria de Lario. Assistant director Alaa Abdullatif. Line producer Dilara Çatak. Associate producers Karim Marold, Balthasar Busmann. With Donia Massoud, Ahmed El Gendy, Salim Mrad, Nadim Bahsoun, Hassan Dib, Ahmed Awadalla, Richard Gabriel Gersch.

Films: 2011: it was related to me (18 min.). 2012: On a Day Like Today (7 min.). 2015: And on a Different Note (24 min.). 2022: Bashtaalak sa’at / Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day?.

Bonus Material

  • Still from the film "Bashtaalak sa


    In “Footnotes of Desire” writer Karim Kattan examines the diverse influences of Mohammad Shawky Hassan’s BASHTAALAK SA'AT.

  • Still from the film "Bashtaalak sa

    Director's Statement

    Mohammad Shawky Hassan on the influences of BASHTAALAK SA’AT.

Forum Program 2022

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur