Today is the official first day of summer, and this “Fancy Friday” is certainly a sunny and simmering choice. In Cairo Time, the ever elegant Patricia Clarkson plays Juliette, a Canadian magazine editor who ends up alone in Egypt, after her husband gets delayed in Gaza while on assignment from the UN. He sends his dashing friend, Tareq (played by the incredibly sophisticated Alexander Siddig) to help show her around the exotic city. This film is near and dear to this editor’s heart for a multitude of reasons: I spent the summer of 2007 studying abroad in Cairo, and this movie brings back incredible memories (both good and bad) of my first independent trip into the broad universe alone. The other is that I attended the 2009 TriBeCa Film Festiva premiere of this film with my mother, and we got to see one of our favorite actresses (Clarkson) answer a Q&A with her talented director, Ruba Nadda. Both were so smart and down-to-Earth, it was an amazing experience I got to share with my mom. (I’m also well-aware how pretentious the last three sentences sound, but this film encompasses so many things I love!) Tareq and Juliette’s friendship blooms on the shores of the Nile, and progresses into deeper feelings in the deserts of Giza. Without giving too much away, this is the most pivotal scene of Nadda’s stunning story. Clarkson’s character is whimsical and romantic in her soft, flowing robin’s egg blue gown with an embroidered waist, when she finally visits the Pyramids. It’s certainly a cinematic treat for the eyes, and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful scenes ever captured on film, especially if the still pictured below is any indication. Clarkson and Siddig’s elegance is matched by the subtly of this sweeping romance, and a stylish start for the summer.
Gisele Bündchen, the famous Brazilian Victoria’s Secret supermodel (and the highest paid one on Earth), recently appeared in advertisements for Swedish clothing chain H&M. But ads for the company’s Spring/Summer 2011 line were deemed too hot for Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Wait… too hot for the desert? It was first mentioned on fashion website La Moda Dubai. Bündchen’s images were altered by adding fake white t-shirts and tanks. (Which we’ve pictured here). You know, because the married, mother of one is a real sexual/political threat in long dresses, pants and, what the heck is that thing pictured above? A really ugly floral jumpsuit. The only thing we find offensive about these ads is how ugly the clothing is. I mean, white jeans? Really? Is it 1983? Most of these items couldn’t be pulled off by the majority of the women on the planet anyway. H&M’s ironically-named “Spring Awakening” apparently isn’t going to be the awakening of any Middle Eastern women, but a tool in further oppression. Considering how tame the images were to begin with, it only makes us wonder how many other things these countries ban. Quite a sad commentary on our times.