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Big Boys Don't Cry

Spring Grants 2020 - Development Stage

Muhammad Mustapha / Feature Documentary / Egypt, Germany, Qatar / 80 min / Original Language: Arabic / Interests: Women, Drama, Social Issues, Youth, Based on a True Story, Identity, Docufiction, Creative Documentary, Tradition


Yehia, a 35-year-old bodyguard, embodies a hyper-masculine image of power and violence. After his release from prison, he wants to be there for his wife and twin boys. He quits illegal business and works as a bouncer; a service-oriented security job that requires him to control his inherent anger. He pursues an acting career but is always stereotyped and cast as a background actor. But not anymore when he is approached by Mustapha, a 27-year-old filmmaker, who wants to film him—an opportunity. The proposed film gives him his sixty seconds of fame. He knows Mustapha intends to make “something raw”. Playing himself for the camera, he’s ready to give him that. But he’s the star who controls the show, or so he thinks. ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’ is a cinema verité film that includes both the story and the form through which it’s told in its narrative structure. It paints a portrait of its protagonist, as he constructs his masculine identity, performs it, and hides his vulnerability behind it. This is brought to screen through the filmmaking process itself, and dynamics between him and the filmmaker who observes, interacts with him, and reflects on himself as a doubtful filmmaker, and as an insecure man.


Muhammad Mustapha
Muhammad Mustapha
Philipp M. Raube
Production Company
Die Neue Lux

About the Director

Muhammad Mustapha is a filmmaker based in Cairo. Since 2011, he has taken a multidisciplinary approach towards filmmaking—working as a director, scriptwriter, editor, assistant director, and line producer on several short films, features, and documentaries. In 2015, he made the observational cinema-verite documentary 'Tashkeel', which was co-produced between Cimatheque Cairo and Ateliers Varans. His debut feature documentary 'Big Boys Don't Cry', which is currently in development, won the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung in 2020.


  • Main Contact

    Philipp Maurice Raube

    Die Neue Lux

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