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Our Males and Females

average rating is 4 out of 5


Brian Penn


Posted on:

Sep 28, 2023

Film Reviews
Our Males and Females
Directed by:
Ahmad Alyaseer
Written by:
Ahmad Alyaseer, Rana Alyaseer
Kamel El Basha, Shafeqa Al-Tal

The ancient and modern can often be strange companions, but occasionally they come together and provide a stunning contrast as a human tragedy unfolds in the stark light of day. This film by Ahmad Alyaseer examines the impact of the Islamic ritual known as Ghusl Mayyit. It is usually carried out by family members who are the same sex as the person who has died. It involves washing all parts of the body with soap and water in a specific way while maintaining privacy and dignity. Alyaseer treats the subject with sensitivity but throws in a contemporary twist that gives the piece added strength and resonance.


The grieving parents (Kamel El Basha and Shafeqa Al-Tal) have just received the body of their child for burial. However, before the final act can take place they must perform Ghusl Mayyit which is a requirement of Islam. Their child is subsequently revealed as a transgender female. A man who initially agreed to perform the ritual refused as did a woman who was asked to stand in his place. The couple are left in a quandary; even though their child is legally male they are unable to find anyone to perform the task. The father contemplates extreme measures to give his child full rights as a deceased Moslem.


This powerful film is remarkable on so many levels that it’s difficult to know where to begin. There is no posturing or tub thumping rhetoric on LGBT+ issues here. It’s a painfully honest story of how someone can be excluded just because they happen to be different. An unwavering respect for one’s faith is to be admired, but there is an underlying sadness when inequality is the result. The narrative is sparse but strong enough to confront distressing issues; a fine example of how a short film should be made.

About the Film Critic
Brian Penn
Brian Penn
Short Film
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