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Covered: The Hejab in Cairo, Egypt
A film by Tania Kamal-Eldin
Egypt, 1995, 25 minutes, Color, DVD, Subtitled
Order No. W00666
Just over a decade ago it was hard to find women on the streets of Cairo who veiled, a custom that their forebearers struggled to overthrow at the beginning of the twentieth century. But today, many 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. As timely as it is compelling, the film shows how complex causes account for a phenomenon that is poorly understood outside the Muslim world.


  • New York Exposition of Short Film and Video
  • Women in the Director's Chair Film and Video Festival
  • USA Film Festival
  • Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA) Filmfest
  • Women of Color Film and Video Festival

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    "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

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    Filmmaker's Website
    Find more information about the filmmaker and her films, and watch a clip from the film.

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