New movie El Hoop It’s about Karim coming out, an environment where he doesn’t want to accept being attracted to men. The idea first came to director Sharif Nasr when he visited family in the Middle East. “They were so loving, and suddenly I wondered: Suppose I fell for men, would these people love me less?”
“I believe it will cause problems, but I don’t believe they will love me any less,” Nasr said. Yet the media often portrays the choice in Meena culture (the Middle East and North Africa) as being between sexual orientation and family. “I think there’s no dialogue,” says Nasser. “We wanted to show a very loving image.”
“People struggle when there’s something different than what you’re used to. Even if there’s love and they want to understand it, there’s a part of them that they can’t resist. That’s where this film comes in. Show it right,” actor Emmanuel Ohene Boffo says of the dialogue the film wants to enter.
In Karim’s skin
This was the starting point El Hoop, which premieres tonight in Amsterdam. Actor Fahd Larhzaoui plays the role of Karim, the hero of the story. He is a young man struggling with his sexuality. “He didn’t know how to handle it,” Larzavy says. “He loves his family so much that he’s completely neglecting himself. He’s very motivated in his abilities, but he knows now that he needs to take steps to start a conversation with his parents.”
The film is not autobiographical but is based on Larja’s life experiences. The character interfaces with his own life “and that’s why I think it’s important that we make this film,” says Larjau. “Because many people now struggle with their sexuality and don’t dare to tell the people they love. It’s a tough act, a heavy supporting role, but a very important one.”
In cinema in America
The film premiered at a film festival in the US and will also be screened in theaters there. “It’s very special for a Dutch film,” says Nasser. The film will be screened in Amsterdam tonight, will be seen in various locations on release day tomorrow and will be screened from Thursday El Hoop In the bios.
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