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Film Summary - Four Women of Egypt

            Tahani Rached's film, Four Women of Egypt is a story about four women, Wedad, Safynaz, Shahenda, and Amina, whose lives are intertwined between friendship and modern Egyptian history. Each of the women have been tremendously affected by the turmoil and change that marked Egypt's post-World War II history. Their experiences have shaped their passionate opinions about the Nasserite era and the regime of his successor, Sadat. These stories represent some of the changes that occurred in Egypt during the twentieth century, varying from social revolution to political upheaval. The stories the women tell about their continued friendships are moving, especially at a time when modernity and tradition were transforming old foundations of Egypt into the dynamic third-world power it is today. It also captures the hopes and promises of the Nasserite era, along with the disappointments it ensued.
             At the end of World War II, large parts of the Arab World were still dominated by colonialism. Egypt was a monarchy under British rule, along with the basis for Britain's presence in the Middle Eastern region. Egyptians were growing more discontent at still being a colony and felt ashamed after losing the war against Israel in 1948. Thus, in 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser was appointed president of Egypt. He wanted to change Egypt, claiming he had his very own vision for a new nation and the Arab World. In political terms, he transformed Egypt into a republic by introducing centralized parliamentary rule, though he is typically better known for his domestic social programs. Nasser was hoping to improve the conditions of the peasant majority in Egypt. He wanted to establish land reforms, provide free educational programs for kids, and develop the country's medical infrastructure. His aspirations captivated the majority of Egyptians, and the Arab World observed Nasser as he expanded on socialism. He believed that if the people had real equality, they would feel more united and act as one entity.

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