Watch Before Deletion investigates the pivotal role of gossip in the construction of sexual desire by taking El-Kotchina, an alleged sex film starring an Arab music icon in the 1980’s, as its point of departure. A sound film par excellence, El-Kotchina was entirely constructed in the collective imagination of the Egyptian public through aural networks of gossip, rumour and hearsay. Therefore, its status as a sound film per se is neither derived from the soundtrack occupying a central aesthetic position in the film, nor its indispensability for the unfolding of the film’s narrative. Instead, It is reflective of the film‘s primary mode of circulation. Iconic scenes from the film were described in detail, snippets from the dialogue were recited and performed in schoolboy gatherings, and the image of the female star lying naked on her stomach with actors playing cards on her ass was engraved in the memory of millions of Egyptians.
Mohammad Shawky Hassan is a film maker living and working between Cairo and Berlin.