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Male and Female

Male and Female: Gender Conflict in Animation

  • Animation
  • Out now
  • Ahmed Adel
reviewed by
Mai Ayyad
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Male and Female: Gender Conflict in Animation

Male and Female is a short, silent animation film and the
graduation project of Ahmed Adel. The film examines the life choices of a ‘common
Eastern man’ – according to the director’s synopsis – who maintains a very
powerful sense of masculinity and patriarchal views.

Our nameless male
protagonist is an adult, and according to Egypt’s societal rules, it is time
for him to settle down and get married. The classic scenario of bridal hunting
begins. He eventually sees a girl that he likes, and he marries her within a
fortnight.

She becomes
pregnant, and he can hardly wait for the arrival of his precious heir. Sadly
for him, he becomes the father of a girl. The poor man bears his unfortunate child
with hope that next time he will have his long awaited son. Unfortunately, this
does not happen, and his wife begets another girl.

The poor man has
had it! Two girls and no boy? Why? He’s not a fool, no question about that.
Surely, it is his wife. What should he do then? Same as every other solid man;
abandon her and look for another woman somewhere else.

Our ill-fated
friend is devastated, but he still believes in dreams. And so, he puts his
heart on his sleeve, and sets off in search for the divine woman that will give
him the most precious gift of all. He sails across Egypt. On the way, he takes
many wives, but none make his dream come true.

After so many
disappointments, he sits to lament his misfortune. At that moment, a fair woman
passes by; someone he has not seen before during his adventures. Naturally, he
marries her at once. Magically, she gives him a baby boy. But the baby is black
– so very distinct from the father and mother – poetic justice at its best!

Ahmed Adel’s
project does not resemble anything that you have seen before. It’s very
impressive how a commentary on the image of masculinity can be so strongly
conveyed in a light and playful manner.

No need for a
script; the story is told through extremely expressive poses by the characters.
The selection of tunes emphasizes all the actions; the background changes to
represent different places and set the scene for the story.

Male and Female is an utterly enjoyable film that surprises
the audience with its humour and powerful wit. It is truly appealing and highly
recommended for viewers of all ages.

Like This? Try

The Nonsense , Her Man, Girls’ Talk.

360 Tip

Screened as part of Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival. Watch on http://womensvoicesnow.org

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