Bashtaalak sa’at

Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day?
A glance leads to a smile, a smile to a rendezvous: 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 metafictional 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.”
by Mohammad Shawky Hassan
with Donia Massoud, Ahmed El Gendy, Salim Mrad, Nadim Bahsoun, Hassan Dib, Ahmed Awadalla, Richard Gabriel Gersch
Egypt / Lebanon / Germany 2022 Arabic, English 66’ Colour World premiere


  • Donia Massoud
  • Ahmed El Gendy
  • Salim Mrad
  • Nadim Bahsoun
  • Hassan Dib
  • Ahmed Awadalla
  • Richard Gabriel Gersch


Written and Directed by Mohammad Shawky Hassan
Cinematography Carlos Vasquez
Editing Carine Doumit
Music Amen Feizabadi
Sound Design Kinda Hassan (Sound Design & Electroacoustic Composition)
Sound Tsvetelina Valkova
Production Design Veronica Wüst
Costumes Veronica Wüst
Make-Up Nuria de Lario
Assistant Director Alaa Abdullatif
Line Producer Dilara Çatak
Producers Mohammad Shawky Hassan, Maximilian Haslberger, Hesham Marold
Associate Producers Karim Marold, Balthasar Busmann

Produced by

Aflam Wardeshan


Mohammad Shawky Hassan

Born in 1981 in Cairo, Egypt. He studied philosophy, film direction and film studies and works as a director, writer, cinematographer and editor. His short film And on a Different Note was shown in the 2015 Forum Expanded programme and has been acquired as part of the MoMA’s permanent exhibition.


2011 it was related to me; 18 min. 2012 On a Day Like Today; 7 min. 2015 And on a Different Note; 24 min. 2022 Bashtaalak sa’at (Shall I Compare You to a Summer’s Day?)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022