Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day?

Title: Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day? (Bashtaalak sa’at)
Direction: Mohammad Shawky Hassan
Cast: Donia Massoud, Ahmed El Gendy, Salim Mrad, Nadim Bahsoun, Hassan Dib
Production: Aflam Wardeshan
Distribution: Amerikafilm
Genre: Drama
Duration: 66’
Country: Egypt, Lebanon, Germany
Year: 2022
O.V. in Arabic and English. Subtitles in Spanish and Catalan

Festivals: Berlin

First showing in Spain

A glance leads to a smile, a smile to a rendez-vous: every love story begins the same way. These narratives are stored in songs and poems and live on beyond their inevitable endings, as Shakespeare’s titular sonnet 18 also suggests. In Mohammad Shawky Hassan’s cinematographic essay, a female narrator who wishes to tell the story of a love between two men encounters a polyamorous chorus of lovers, and this oft-told tale is multiplied. In Club Scheherazade, there is no protagonist, and every song has various versions. Heteronormative dramaturgy is challenged polyphonically and across a range of media: lovers ask each other about threesomes, Grindr contacts and past dates. Pop clichés are twisted, heartache permeates the men’s singing, and poems by Wadih Saadeh are read out while a lover’s dirty laundry is aired. The narrator mischievously tries for a happy ending as her characters exit the story. “If pain could be forgotten through words,” we hear at one point, “no lover would ever have to walk away wounded.”