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Henna Night

Love and death, tradition and diversity clash against each other in this intense short by Sally El Hosaini.

10 – 15 | 2009 | Drama | GLBT | Live-Action | UK

It’s the night before Amina’s wedding, and the women of the family are celebrating the henna ceremony, a Muslim tradition that sees the mother of the bride “decorating” her daughter’s hands. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Nour has been cooking for hours. It should be an evening of joy and celebration, but Amina is nervous and unhappy, and ends up shutting herself in the bathroom. The two girls share an intimate secret, quietly communicating with loving looks at each other. This short film by i Sally El Hosaini is a small love drama,  that depicts profound suffering and a strong desire for freedom. What starts as a spicy and light-hearted moment, ends up being a dark, romantic drama.. The director portrays a nove-like tragic relationship, where passion and irrationality take over. The two women have succumbed to a reality that rejects diversity, in which religion and tradition are like cages from which it seems impossible to escape, if not with an extreme gesture .

This female-directed film about women, that investigates diversity within a culture and a religion that leave little room for tolerance, is yet another proof of how the world of short films seems to be open towards those categories that find little to no representation in mainstream cinema. The director has also directed his first feature film, My Brother the Devil , which has received  lots of acclaim in the international film festival circuit, winning a special prize at Sundance 2012.

Flavia Ferrucci

Flavia Ferrucci

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