Now El Sebou' is featured in the new edition of Seeing Anthropology by K. Heider, P. Blakely, T., Blakely

 El Sebou': Egyptian Birth Ritual awarded Grand Prize, best Ethnographic Film on Arab Culture,Palermo, 1989; AWARD FOR EXCELLENCESOCIETY FOR VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY 1987; Special Commendation, Royal Anthropological Institute Film Prize, 1988.


27-minute 16mm. color, funded by a Grant from the Smithsonian Institution, and sponsored by the Office of Folklife Programs, Smithsonian Institution. (Egyptian Celebration of Life Series) El Sebou': Egyptian Birth Ritual, 1986.


  "Unique. There's nothing like it dealing with rites of passage, particularly in an urban setting, in the Middle East. It fills an important gap and tells the story very well…very well-done."
_______________    Professor Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban
                       Rhode Island College

"This is an ethnographic film in the best tradition of art and anthropology. It breathes life into Van Gennep's classic model of rites-of-passage."
______________Professor André Simic
                                                   University of Southern California

"A powerful bonding ceremony…watching this extraordinary film one has the feeling to be in their midst…a truly fascinating document in the best tradition of ethnographic filmmaking…a very balanced blend of emic and etic approaches."  
__________Privadozent Dr. Wulf Schiefenhövel
                               Max-Planck Institute, Seewiesen, Germany



Anthropological Excellence in Film

El Sebou': Egyptian Birth Ritual (1986) 28-min. Study Guide available (El Nil Research). In Egypt, a birth ritual called el-sebou', meaning "the seventh", happens on the seventh day following the physical birth of a child of either sex and is celebrated by Coptic and Muslim families of all status groups, rural and urban. Characteristic of this ritual is gender-linked imagery that is also manifest in the ritual clay pot. The ceremony celebrates the newborn's crossing a threshold from having neutral gender and neutral status into a world of gender and family. This particular sebou' is celebrated for twins, a boy and a girl, in a rising middle class Muslim family in urban Egypt. Anthropologist Fadwa El Guindi portrays the sebou' ritual as a rite of passage with the universal three phases of transition (separation, liminality, incorporation)} and as the key ceremony in an individual's life cycle until marriage. The film focuses on -- and shows the proveniences of -- a variety of objects and materials used in the ritual. The way the filming was done helps highlight the central role of the female ritual leader and provides a kinesthetic spatial sense of aspects of the ritual. The editing combines an analytic approach and an emic approach, allowing participants to speak for themselves without losing a broader anthropological perspective. Anthropologist/filmmaker: Fadwa El Guindi, 1987 Award for Excellence