Ayten Amin’s directorial debut is based on Ahdaf Soueif’s short story, Her Man. The story revolves around Zeina, an illiterate and co-dependent woman who stands helpless as her husband, Sobhy decides to take a second and much younger wife.

With contempt, she has to live with her rival under the same roof. Soon, she becomes overwhelmed by feelings of jealousy and oppression. Finding a way out of her situation is very hard; given her financial dependency on her husband: leaving him is certainly out of the question.

Zeina may be lacking in resources, yet she has a great deal of underestimated womanly guile. Planning to rid herself of the injustice inflicted upon her, Zeina sleeps with her husband’s new wife, leaving a hickey on her chest, and thus creates the illusion that his new wife has been cheating on him.

Her Man remains true to the cultural message in Ahdaf Soueif’s short story. The leading lady, Zeina is portrayed as a threefold character, giving the audience space to contemplate her shocking actions.

Amin translates perfectly the adequate background for the story into a film. Within the context of the less privileged Egyptians, marriage is the sole prospect for girls. In this essence, Zeina’s act is her defence against someone that is threatening her all.

Aside from the sex scene between Sobhy’s two wives, the film focuses on sexuality as part of the social background. Married off just as they hit puberty, girls are introduced to sexuality as an integral part of marriage. The two wives spend their day waiting for their husband and preparing a meal for him; pleasing him is their main concern.

It is impressive to know that Her Man is Ayten Amin’s first project; all the artistic elements seem to fall right in place. The music and the cinematography are very expressive of the controversial conflict within the story. Amin’s script is very realistic and is complemented by natural performances.

Her Man is recommended as a powerful story of counteraction and victimisation. Women’s submission can be great, yet their defiance can be a lot greater.