678 (2010) Poster


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Not just a feminist film
deenashirb19 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Having incorrectly and vaguely labelled 'Cairo 678' a 'feminist movie', I was pleasantly surprised to have all my misconceptions quashed in such a subtle and articulate manner. Yes, Cairo 678 is a film about 'women's plight' in Egypt but also an important commentary on the class structure inherent in most societies but particularly stark in Cairo where gleaming BMWs travel alongside over-heated, bursting buses where sexual harassment is inevitably common place, as depicted in the film. Feyza is a working-class mother struggling to pay her children's school fees and to fend off her husband's sexual advances. It soon becomes apparent that her tardiness to work is simply a result of her desperate attempts to avoid the over-crowded buses where she is routinely molested by over-eager male passengers. She soon befriends Seba, a wealthy self- defence teacher whom we learn was raped a year earlier, as well as a middle class student (Nelly) whose life-threatening assault results in a historic first legal case for sexual harassment in Egypt.

What binds these women together is a frustration at the unashamed impunity to these men's actions and society's pretend ignorance about their daily struggle to walk down Cairo's streets without harassment. However, the film also points to a greater problem inherent in Egypt's societal structure where the struggle to attain money, power and status take precedence over morality and the fostering of positive and fulfilling life plans and relationships. Nelly is encouraged to drop her court case by her family to protect her reputation, Seba is advised not to report the rape by her mother to preserve her powerful father's reputation and Feyza is forced to continue taking the bus to salvage enough money to pay her children's school fees. All three women appreciate the farcical nature of the attitudes they are subjected to, yet the barriers to mounting a justified response emotionally or in action seem insurmountable. A common thread explored in the film is the hippocracy and confusion regarding the issue of sexual harassment which is a relevant issue in both traditional and 'westernised' cultures. Should women shoulder the blame if they are a victim of harassment, and if not, why does guilt and shame always play such a large role in the aftermath?

A survey conducted by Haven, a sexual assault centre found that more than half of women thought that rape victims are sometimes to blame for the crime. So, it seems that the fight to reconfigure perceptions of sexual harassment and assault extend to both women and men, an issue painfully and clearly demonstrated in Cairo 678 when Seba questions Reyza's lack of guilt after she secretly starts stabbing the men who molest her in retaliation. Reyza responds by explaining that she conducts herself modestly and covers her hair so she has no reason to feel guilty, unlike Seba who leaves her hair loosely flowing and wears tight clothes and so is in some way to blame for any unwanted advances. The impact of these frustrations and violations extends to the women's intimate relationships with the men in their lives.

To Reyza, Seba and Nelly, it seems that the men in their lives are just as guilty of the rampant sexualisation of the predators and the hippocracy of society as a whole and it seems that at times they find it impossible to differentiate between the two. The director effectively demonstrates how the daily grind of constantly being on guard and dealing with eroticisation wears the women down and creates a dichotomy in which the women struggle with the desire for revenge and justice, coupled with the pressure to conform to social expectations. However, the strength and originality of the film's vision lies in it's willingness to give the balanced view where men are not wholly villainised; that would be far too easy. Men's exposure to a new-found culture of open sexualisation of women and the mirage of availability is sensitively portrayed, in conjunction with the financial barriers to marriage. The idea of marriage being a cultural protective factor for the male population with regards to sexual harassment and 'deviance' is also challenged with an unexpected twist to the plot.

In all, Cairo 678 wonderfully depicts a society in which sexual assault and harassment divide opinion and attitude in both public and personal life, more than simply down the lines of gender. As societies struggle with the changing and more proactive role of women in daily life along with evolving imagery involving female sexuality and availability, an open and dynamic forum is required to challenge long-standing and held deeply beliefs about blame, stigma and shame. Feyza, Reza and Nelly's experiences convincingly and emotively demonstrate the painful and costly consequences of avoiding such discussion.
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Cairo 678 : A Milestone is made
lonesome_kitty6 September 2013
Cairo 678 is a story of three women of different social background who found themselves victimized of sexual harassment. The movie is important because it talks about sexual harassment in a country like Egypt and thus depicts that sexual harassment does exist in the countries that claim to be conservative.

The strongest point of the movie is it never loses its momentum. Not a single moment you will feel that the story is being pulled. The screenplay runs in full flow. The fantastic work of light/shadow and enchanting background music make it even more attractive.

Everyone acted in this film did justice to their characters. Bosra (who played Fayza) and Maged El Kedwany won the awards for best actress and actor respectably in 2008 Dubai International Film Festival. I personally liked the acting of Nahed El Sebai (who played Nelly) most. She had a comparatively smaller screen presence yet she delivered an excellent performance.

This movie is not only about Cairo, it is about every city and village where women are facing sexual harassment everyday. This movie does not promote violent reaction against harassment, it tells us to speak up against what is wrong. Kudos to Mohamed Diab and the whole unit of 678 for this masterpiece.
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A feather in the director's cap
dr_araman18 May 2012
CAIRO 6,7,8:

Mohamed Diab, the director should be congratulated for this gripping presentation of the silent humiliation suffered by Egyptian women and the courage of three women in fighting back against all odds. If Fayza's simple step brings he system to the point of examining its flaws, Seba and Nelly garner the much needed support to provide a platform for the voice of the suffering women. The sound track is excellent and the editing is superb, providing the best support to the clear and commendable cinematography. All the characters have acted so well, it looks as if it is happening in our presence. One of the best films destined to change the perspective of the society in the way it allows such gross injustice to go unpunished. The end is dramatic and deeply touching, adding a feather in the director's cap.
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Like a fascinating true story: 678 is a must-see movie!
yaseen-372-80977417 May 2012
The Egyptian movie, [678], which covers the subject of sexual harassment, is famous enough in Egypt today as it is. I must admit, from watching just the trailer, I took note of the genius performance and superb artistic delivery, but I also got the impression that the presentation may be overdramatizing the subject, or emotionally taking the side of women in a biased & exaggerated way, or completely ignoring the effect of the sometimes sexually provocative presentation of women when it happens in a society like the Egyptian one—this impression couldn't be more wrong. What I found while watching the movie was one of the most heartwarming and pleasant surprises I've ever come across in the history of Egyptian cinema; no exaggeration, my friend. 678 draws you into a fascinatingly complex, interconnected, and rich world. 678 allows you to meet—and literally live with—such fresh, yet believable characters. 678 turns your head toward a bitter reality, in a harsh real world, yet soothes you with regular chuckles, and keeps you interested, bothered, engaged, and hopeful.

Every main cast member did a great job in my opinion, but I must say that Bushra clearly stands out; and I'm don't want to disappoint—or be unfair to—other cast members, especially Nelly Kareem with a main character, by saying that this is only due to Bushra's genius performance; Bushra's performance was indeed fascinating, but she was also very lucky, because the other genius, Muhammad Diab, the writer and director of 678, gave Bushra his best character! Faiza, the character that Bushra plays, like a sad yet powerful tune in a beautiful song, is an unprecedented character in Egyptian cinema; and I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that Faiza may revolutionize Egyptian cinema, or be the spark of such a creative, artistic revolution, where the voice of the observant Muslim for the first time ever gets delivered honestly, neutrally, fairly, and in a balanced and beautiful way. Faiza is one of the most believable characters I've ever gotten to know in a story, and easily my favorite hero in 678's world; and I thank the two geniuses, Muhammad Diab and Bushra, for giving us and giving Egyptian cinema—and the world—such a memorable, lovable, and very real character.

Diab managed to turn Faiza into an irresistibly charming, unlikely hero (or heroine!), with all her ups & downs, good deeds & mistakes, kindness & anger, loudness & silence, courage & fear; simply put, Faiza is so perfectly imperfect. Even her arguments with her husband were believable and convincing—within the context of the Egyptian society and that social class; and Diab did not take sides, and did not try to emotionally blackmail you into taking sides either. In many situations, Diab makes you wonder who to blame—if you are a balanced person yourself and you can empathize with the culture, religion and challenges; makes it challenging for you to be biased, and thus subtly invites you to appreciate the complexity and individual challenges in this realistic world.

The only truly "bad guy" in 678 is the sexual harasser; Diab's message is clear about this, especially because he shows you the far reaching effects and chain reaction that the harasser's actions go through to eventually produce so much misery and evil within society; but Diab also makes at least one subtle hint to discourage you from completely demonizing the harasser, and to send the message that almost any human being is fallible. Diab also doesn't shy away from shocking you (and his best character, Faiza!) by giving a minority of women a share of the blame; while empowering all women throughout the movie to take a courageous share of the responsibility of curing society of the phenomenon of sexual harassment.

If you will watch one movie to understand a bit about the Egyptian society—as it is today, without exaggerations or embellishment, in ways that focus on the phenomenon of sexual harassment, yet still ooze with variety, and ways that dig much deeper and beyond socially and emotionally; if you will watch one movie to see a believable example of a simple observant Muslim woman, struggling with real issues in her own society, a movie that doesn't even expose any actress (or your eyes) to violence, rape, or the likes, while simultaneously making what is happening clear to you with such elegance and genius; if you will watch one foreign movie that does not take sides when it comes to religion or gender, makes it challenging for you to take sides when you see how these people think and treat each other, a movie that tackles serious issues rationally and intelligently; then this one movie is 678. Find it; and watch it! Watch it this weekend.

—Yaseen Rocca
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histfict8 March 2015
Three women of different social backgrounds decide to fight back after being the victims of repeated assaults by men in the street or in the bus. This movie manages to address the delicate issue of sexual assaults on women in a very interesting way: each character has a unique standpoint and no moral judgment is imposed in the end. There is a little zest of comedy in the tragedy, some truly powerful and positive moments, and despite some stereotypical characters, the film avoids caricature. The three heroines are credible and endearing. Their relationships with men are complex, and it is hard not to ask yourself: What would I do if I faced the same challenges as they face? A perfect movie to watch on 8 March... International Women's Day.
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jimmuhcu30 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It is the movie based on a true story that once happened in the Egypt, that three women raised their voice against the heinous and poignant situation of sexual harassment against the ladies in the Egypt. I have surprised that how this much sexual harassment happening in the Egypt!! The director has given a clear picture of how much depth is in the amount of sexual harassment in this particular country and their women. Here there are four couple's stories narrated by the director, from this all three couples relation is not going in a well off manner, in all three women getting some king of problems created by their husbands, and all three were suffering due to their husband problems. Another interesting noted things here is the when women raised their voice against any kind of harassment, nobody is supporting on this and they are asking that if anything lost from them, if anything from them then only chance for the attention of others will try to help the victims, such interesting situation. In the police department also they are looking on the mens side rather than the victims. I think based on the attempt of three women one law passed in Egypt against the sexual harassment as crime, in Egypt.
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A engaging pragmatic story of fight against sexual harassment
navdp20 July 2018
A must watch for all pro and against '#metoo' campaigners. Technically the movie lacks depth, nevertheless the content and the intensity of the actors and the characters make it worth a watch.

The movie expresses very slightly the vague, delicate part of human nature which contributes to harassing the oppressed sex.

Scriptwriter Daib deserves praise for handling such an issue in a most emphatic way. All the actors get into the characters effortlessly.
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A film not only telling but also touching and interfering to Reality!!!
gokselcin11 July 2019
Director Mohamed Diab shoots excellent scenes and has an intelligent perspective on storytelling.

Sexual harrastment is, unfortunatelty, a terrible matter in conservative patriarchial societies by the context of daily lives of women, civil laws and psychological boundaries. Diab not only gifts a good cinematography but also interferes an actual defection of modern society. This movie is one of important parts of survival against sexual harrasment in Egypt. Recently after the movie Egyptian governers had to create new laws punishing the sexual harrasment. Greet to Diab and bravely resisting Egyptian women!!
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The ugly truth
ahossam0324 August 2018
This is one of the very few films that talks about the sexual harassment that women suffer in Egypt or the middle east.

The plot of this film is so good, the way it talks about different kinds of women and how they react to such incidents and how the others around them including their husbands, siblings, friends and parents are affected too.

The performances in this film are outstanding from all the cast especially Bushra, the directing is good and this film was one of the main reasons I follow Mohamed Diab.

It's sad to see such a movie not getting so much recognition from the public in Egypt as other movies but it definitely has its own place between critically acclaimed films of all time here in the middle east.
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678 May be Complex and Powerful but.....
imo9629 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
the plot was quiet misunderstood and the script was mediocre i wasn't really surprised by the mistakes that the filmmaker made and several things were not clear in the movie however ,but one of of the things that i liked is maged el kedwani's performance ,i didn't also really agree with certain reviews on this movie but the movie is not really that bad (didn't say anything against it)but i thought the movie seemed more important than good cz it talks about the sexual harassment in the arab countries and i honestly never saw a movie about the sexual harassment ..Mohamed diab who directed and wrote the script is not a director he is an Egyptian writer ,he wrote (el gezira)and many others stories ,anyways if i had to rate this movie i would give it 6.5/10
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