Hany Abu-Assad, director of Huda’s Salon, and Manal Awad and Maisa Abd Elhadi, the main actresses in the film, presented the Palestinian director’s latest work at the 66th edition of Seminci today, Tuesday 26th October 2021. In it, he narrates a compromising episode in the history of his country: the owner of a beauty salon is capable of drugging her clients in order to take compromising photos of them and blackmail them. Her goal is to turn them into traitors of their people in favour of the occupiers.
The story is a response to real practices that were carried out in an orchestrated way: “I found out about this story by chance a couple of decades ago. It was going around in my head all this time, until I decided to carry it out a couple of years ago.” Of course, although the story is real, the characters are fictional.
For such a delicate project, which required the client to undress, he first contacted the two actresses he wanted to play the main characters. “I told them the story and asked them if they wanted to participate. Only when they accepted did I write the script. And I have to say that Maisa took a couple of weeks to think about it,” he said.
Abu-Assad clarified that Manal is a well-known figure in her country, although the rest of the cast is not so well known. In addition, the interpreter is better known in comedy performances, so the proposal to move on to drama surprised her, as the actress said: “When he proposed it to me, I couldn’t believe it. I was very happy, but then the recording, the character… it was very hard.”
As for Maisa, the filmmaker said that he thought of her because “there is no person with that same boldness in the country, both emotional and humane.” That trust was reciprocal, as the actress said: “Like Manal, I was happy, and I thought that this role would be a turning point in my career. It was a difficult decision, but I knew that the direction of the film would be right.” So difficult that, in the director’s words, “Maisa took a couple of weeks to make up her mind.”
Huda’s Salon will be shown today Tuesday at Carrión Theatre at 12.00h and 22.00h, at Calderón Theatre at 22.30h, and tomorrow Wednesday at 16.30h at Broadway Cinemas.