An Authentic Egyptian Movie and Conversation with Fulbright Scholar

The Movie “Asal Aswad” explores identity conflict and culture shock while also displaying the depth of Egyptian culture.

Emily Derrenbacker, Writer - The Reporter

On Thursday, March 13, visiting Fulbright Scholar Noha Mayhoub hosted a showing of the movie, “Asal Aswad” which translates to “Black Honey.” The movie tells the story of an Eqyptian man who has been living in America for the past twenty years. While visiting Egypt as a photographer, he struggles with his two conflicting nationalities and adapting to foreign cultural norms. The man comes to understand the ways in which Americans and Egyptians are treated differently in Egypt in the midst of protests against American occupation of Egypt. Eventually, the man is able to experience the delights of the Egyptian culture and he gains an entirely new perspective on the Egyptian way of life.


“Awal Aswad” is a bittersweet movie. It highlights how Egyptians deal with conflicting sentiments toward their country’s social problems and culture they love so much. It discusses the deeper issues Egypt faces from all viewpoints, all while maintaining lighthearted humor.


When asked why she chose to show this particular movie, Mayhoub said, “It embodies both the Egyptian culture and the personality, humanity, and traditions, and at the same time it shows the problems from the eye of a foreigner…this movie represents Egypt from all aspects.”


Mayhoub also discussed what she hoped viewers would take away from the movie, saying, “Here [in the United States] the culture is very industrialized and everything is about technology, but I wanted people to experience how the Egyptian people think and practice their daily lives and overcome obstacles.”


As a Fulbright scholar, Mayhoub left Egypt to study here at Stetson University and has been here since fall of 2019. I asked what the transition to American was like for her, and she said, “at the beginning it was very difficult because everything was new to me, I was like a baby learning to walk, to eat, to speak…but with the support of the people around me it was a very good transition. Also, this experience was very useful [for me] to go around and see different places, different people, different cultures because it helped me to appreciate what I’ve taken for granted, like my family, my job…I started to appreciate my culture and my history.”