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Junes Zahdi: A Potent Force in riveting LGBTQ+ Thriller, The Judgment

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A fresh prowess is set to electrify the acting industry as Junes Zahdi prepares to inherit the spotlight with his role in the forthcoming movie, “The Judgment.” Markedly an LGBTQ+ psychological thriller with Marwan Mokbel holding the directorial reins, the film will showcase Zahdi playing the character of Mo, an Egyptian-American voyaging through the hazardous terrains of identity and secrets in Egypt.

In the film, Zahdi’s character Mo and his boyfriend Hisham, enacted by Freddy Shahin, reside as a gay pair in the United States. However, the complex fabric of life forces them to return to Egypt during a distressing family crisis. The critical voyage holds an air of tension as the couple conducts a deceptive charade of being just friends, thereby ensuring their safety in an environment strongly opposed to homosexuality.

Depicting the fears and secrets underlying this challenging situation, Zahdi’s character experiences heightened insecurity upon a troubling realization – his secret is known to someone who is evidently not afraid to express their knowledge. Threatened by symbols of witchcraft at his doorstep, Mo who outwardly portrays himself as a modern American atheist, inwardly struggles with religious fears arising from the depths of his childhood terrors.

Junes Zahdi: A Potent Force in riveting LGBTQ+ Thriller, The Judgment
Photo Credit: Jane Owen PR

Throughout the film, Zahdi’s portrayal of Mo involves a series of internal confrontations, eventually culminating into the very conflict he has long dreaded. In order to sustain his relationship with Hisham, he must battle the growing haunts of his past and the witchcraft that threatens to expose his fears about their relationship being considered sinful.

Further setting the stage for suspense is the mysterious disappearance of Mo’s bedridden grandmother, beautifully portrayed by Layla Amari, which brings the very reality they had feared knocking at their door. In the course of this gripping saga, Director of Photography, Leo Purman, masterfully uses a combination of contrasting colors, significant iconography, and strategic lighting to intensify the mood of the scenes.

Zahdi carries the character of Mo with a finesse that speaks volumes of his acting talent. He engages the audience as the dark and brooding protagonist, while sharing a potent on-screen chemistry with his co-star, Shahin. Seamlessly blending fact and fiction, their portrayal of a gay couple trying to reconcile their sexuality against their stringent familial and societal beliefs is artfully woven.

Director Mokbel juxtaposes these fictional accounts with reality, weaving in the tragic tale of Sara Hegazi, an Egyptian lesbian activist, making a potent political statement about the Egyptian government’s attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community.

The movie closes with a moving shift in perspective, where Samara Nohra, playing a mother concerned for her son’s safety, prays for a safe country for LGBTQ+ people – a hopeful note for a worldwide audience.

Reflecting on this pivotal role in his career, Zahdi recalls, “Essentially, it is a forbidden love story and a family tragedy about a young man who is shunned or even cursed by his own family just for being who he is. We shot most of it in Lebanon during one of the country’s hardest times, which only fueled us all creatively. The suppression of trauma and emotion, which is often imposed upon men from a young age, was all let down, creating performances that resonated deeply with me. As artists, we are very aware of those once-in-a-career projects – and this is definitely it.”

In playing Mo, Zahdi has truly emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the acting world. Shining bright under the directorial genius of Mokbel, Zahdi carries a captivating character that promises to leave a significant mark on all viewers. Follow Junes Zahdi’s journey to stardom through @juneszahdi.


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