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Nour: Living With HIV in Egypt

  • Noha Roshdy
  • Drama
  • Out now
  • Mona Makram
reviewed by
Mai Ayyad
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Nour: Living With HIV in Egypt

Nour is a short film by Noha Roshdy that narrates a woman’s physical
and psychological crisis when confronted with her HIV-positive status.

The film takes the
form of a real interview with Eman, an HIV-positive woman. It follows her journey
starting from the day that she discovered that she was ill, and
develops as she tries to adapt herself to her stigma.

The opening scene signifies
a barely lit room. Only visible is the painting of a woman, who may be
isolated, but looks out on the world with a faint smile. Hidden in the dark, Eman
speaks as the mouthpiece of all people living with HIV.

Eman is captivating
as she talks about her shocking revelation and the first thoughts that came to
her mind when she found out about being HIV-positive. Numb with fear of being rejected by society, she
contemplates suicide, an idea that many people with HIV surrender to when they
are ostracised from their societies.

While attempting to
live with the disease, her spirit fluctuates between courage, anger and loneliness
as well as despair. Put in a constant confrontation with death, Eman’s daily
life will leave viewers feeling immense sorrow for her hopelessness.

Emotional exile
reigns. Eman is cut off from her people, as she searches for the meaning of
life in the shadow of impending death. She is on the side of despair, seeing
life from a distance. For HIV patients, the self has no refuge, and life is a
disorderly confrontation with a dismissive society.

Within Eman, there
is a consuming hunger for love, affection and motherhood. Alas, life does not
take its natural course for someone who bears alone the horrors of such a

Nour is a film about HIV, but it is not about representations of sexuality.
It puts aside all the clichéd images of a person living with HIV, and focuses instead on
the artistic demonstration of the inner struggles.

However, the
quality of the cinematography could have been better. In the era of 3D
pictures, viewers may not tolerate the film’s blurry images.

Nonetheless, it is
not every day that you come across Egyptian films that deal with HIV; so check
this one out.

Like This? Try

Her Man, Girls’ Talk, The Nonsense.

360 Tip

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

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