COVERED: The Hejab in Cairo, Egypt
25 minutes
Color, Video

A couple of decades ago it was hard to find women on the streets of Cairo who veiled, a custom that their forebears struggled to overthrow at the beginning of the twentieth century. But today, most Muslim women in Egypt wear a head scarf called the hejab, and in more extreme cases they cover their entire faces. This absorbing documentary offers a rare opportunity to examine the restoration of veiling and the reasons for its pervasiveness through the eyes of Egyptian women. In unique interviews with women of different ages and backgrounds, "Covered" reveals that Islamic tradition, religious fundamentalism, and growing nationalism are not solely responsible for decisions to wear the hejab. Diverse social, economic and political factors, as well as personal preferences, often play prominent roles. This compelling documentary shows how complex causes account for a phenomenon that is poorly understood outside the Muslim world.
"Kamal-Eldin's eye for the unassuming cultural images truly reflects an informed feminist methodology. She creates social, public spaces for women to tell their stories in very personal, private ways."
Victoria DeFrancisco
University of Northern Iowa

"This documentary comes to terms with veiling in a way that is visually interesting and honest with the subject interviewed."

Elizabeth Fernea
Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas, Austin

"A provocative film, 'Covered' uncovers the multiple meanings and contradictions in late twentieth century reveiling in Cairo, Egypt."
Margot Badran

"This piece is informative, revealing, complex, balanced, and thought-provoking."

Ricardo Block
Media Arts Program, Jerome Foundation

- LA Freewaves—Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA
- Midwest Film & Video Showcase at the Walker Art Center
- Screening at the Symposium, Life & Politics in the Middle East, sponsored by Critique: Journal for Critical Studies of the Middle East at Hamline University
- Fordham University
The Rochester Contemporary, Rochester, NY
- USA Film Festival (Finalist)
- Women of Color Film and Video Festival at the University of California
- Presentation and screening at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design
- Iowa Women’s Film and Video Festival at the University of Iowa
- New York Expo of Short Film and Video at the Tishman Theater (finalist)
- Presentation and screening at the University of Northern Iowa
- Presentation and Screening at the Middle East Studies Association Conference (MESA)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival