Egyptian writer/director Farida Zahran, (now studying at NYU Tisch School of the Arts) wrote Youth, set in Cairo, as a look toward the reality of teenager's first connections, instead of the cliches. The film follows a teenager who finds herself in new territory after she decides to approach her crush at a party. When they end up alone in his car, she is pushed to consider her own boundaries for the first time.
Zahran <<I grew up watching American teen movies. I’ve watched and re- watched hundreds of meet-cutes and first kisses. They’ve always felt easy - even automated. Mutual attraction always culminated in a majestic kiss or grand gesture and after a few minor speed bumps, everyone lived happily ever after. I always secretly hoped for my life to operate like it did in those films. It never quite did.
While those films did provide me with the comfort of knowing I wasn't alone in my confusion, I always longed for Arab content that validated my experience without forcing me to pursue American high school cliches.
On the one hand, there were always the warnings from my mother that “boys only wanted one thing” and that I should maintain control of my own body. On the other hand, hormones.
Ultimately, the film explores the moment when a teenage girl is first forced to consider her own boundaries, independent of peer pressure or parental guidance. Our character's story doesn't culminate in a kiss, but in a newly formed private life - one where she's left alone to figure out what she is and isn’t ready for. >>