- Published on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 10:45
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Hymens, sexual harassment and honor crimes are taboo subjects usually kept under the rug in Gaza.
The Through Women's Eyes film festival organized by the Palestinian Women's Affairs Center was dedicated to films directed by women who addressed these delicate issues. Taking place on Oct. 2-3, the film festival was held in the Rashad al-Shawa auditorium in Gaza City. Although the quality of these works paled in comparison to featured Arab and foreign films, they were nonetheless among the most controversial.
"Red Stain" is a five-minute short feature film that looks at the wedding night through the lens of traditions in different communities.
On this night, a woman is supposed to bleed as a sign of her virginity, though this did not happen for the female lead in the film. As a result, she was forced to endure her husband's anger and looks of suspicion cast by those around her.
Soon enough, the shame that had beset the bride turned into pride when, after visiting a doctor with her mother-in-law, the report confirmed that she was a virgin and that her hymen exhibited a certain elasticity requiring surgical intervention to be broken.
Rima Mahmoud, the director of the film, told Al-Monitor that many people had discouraged her during the making of the film, saying, "They warned me of presenting such a sensitive subject. The attacks began when some young men threatened to file a lawsuit against me, based on the claim that the film inflicted wrongdoings against them," she explained.
"The film has posed serious challenges for me, but I decided to go ahead with it against all odds. I am still sad about my first film that dealt with the issue of incest, because it had been banned from another local festival," Mahmoud continued.
Mahmoud noted that she was concerned this film might be banned as well since the committee approving the films, which is affiliated with the ministries of information and culture in the Gaza government, had taken a bit of time to give its final approval. "They omitted one scene. I had a discussion with the committee and some of its members chastised me for presenting such delicate issues."