Salimeh Rangzan, standing, in a scene from "Only Men Go to the Grave."
Photo courtesy of MAD Solutions
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An Emirati filmmaker is pushing boundaries and bypassing government censors by delicately unraveling a story about a traditional family grappling with issues of gender identity, sectarianism and women's rights.The film seems a departure for this region's cinema because its homosexual characters are neither secondary figures nor Westernized or globalized elites – as in previous high-profile Arabic film. The film's principal characters are homosexual lovers who are also traditional Arab mothers, wives and caretakers.Surprisingly, the film passed state censors to screen at major movie theaters across Dubai this month.Egyptian cinema, the Arab world's best established film industry, has tackled homosexuality in film since the 1950s, though often portraying it as something that exists among a progressive minority.Egyptian film critic Joseph Fahim said Kaabi's film appears to be the first made by a Gulf filmmaker to tackle homosexuality in such a candid manner.It took Kaabi six years to complete the ambitious project, which was awarded best Emirati film at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2016 – the year it was produced.
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