RWM 2021: Our Review of ‘As I Want’

Posted in Festival Coverage by - October 28, 2021
RWM 2021: Our Review of ‘As I Want’

Premiering in Berlin this year, As I Want makes its way to local festivals like Rendezvous With Madness. Ten minutes in and the documentary already tells the stories of two sexual assaults that took place in Egypt. Specifically, during the Arab Spring protests. Protests that drove then President Mohammed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, out of office.

A woman started that first Arab Spring, and many women like her want to follow her footsteps. But that comes at the cost public sexual assaults.

One of the film’s subjects, Sara, tells a harrowing account of helping a survivor into an ambulance. But men still tried to stop the ambulance so that they could continue assaulting the women.

Despite of what I might write below, the documentary at least has a tonal balance. It shows that these horrific assaults are a daily occurrence for Egyptian women during those times.

As I Want doesn’t just let its subjects discuss their experiences when it comes to sexual assault. Sexual assaults have many levels of contact and As I Want captures at least two of its levels.

The first is the verbal component. Here, director Samaher Alqadi captures the men catcalling her in ways that would make the stereotypical construction worker blush. The second are the actual assaults.

Alqadi is meters away from the actual incidents, and barricading her are men exercising their power on some poor woman. There are ambivalent responses to this, like why she’s not censoring faces. Someone might hunt these men down, but then again most viewers will forget these faces.

My other source of ambivalence is as to whether or not this is stupidly dangerous or brave filmmaking. My answer to that reflects on the star rating that you will see above this short review.

Watch As I Want here.

  • Release Date: 10/29/2021
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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