Tag Archives: Ahmad Mazhar

Hussein Kamal – Emberatoriet meem AKA Empire M (1972)

Mona, a well off widow and working mother, is struggling to raise her six children of different ages ranging from elementary school to university graduating students and all with names beginning in ‘M.’ When she decides to bring home a new husband, she faces a number of challenges. One of the best loved Egyptian classics, on the surface ‘Empire of M’ is a family drama but beneath this story is a call for political liberalism and women’s rights during the Sadat era. The film is based on a novel by Ihsan Abd al-Qudus (‘The Belly Dancer and the Politician’), adapted for the screen by the Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz, and features Hussein Kamal (‘The Virgin and the White Hair’) directing a cast led by ‘the First Lady of Arab Cinema’ Faten Hamama (‘The Nightingale’s Prayer’) in an award winning role. Read More »

Henry Barakat – Doa al karawan AKA The Nightingale’s Prayer (1959)

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This is a classical melodrama from Egypt and nicely shot in black and white. It is a tale of relations between man and woman, death, revenge and forgiveness. To watch a film is not just the moving images it is also a opportunity to travel in time and space. Here one is moved back too Egypt in the fifties. I do believe that with the travel back in time there is also and chance to learn something about norms and values, the society and how the relations between people was at that particular time in that particular environment. Doa al karawan AKA The Nightingale’s Prayer (1959) was chosen as one of the best Egyptian films of all time, and it also stars Faten Hamama and she is maybe the number one female screen icon of Egyptian cinema. This film is based on a novel by Taha Hussein and he is considered to be one of the finest and most influential writers of modern Egyptian literature. Read More »

Youssef Chahine – El Naser Salah el Dine AKA Saladin and the Great Crusades (1963)

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During the Second and Third Crusades, Saladin beat the Franks in battle partly because he was helped by an Arab Christian named Issan. Thus he was able to reconquer Jerusalem and take many prisoners, including Guy de Lusignan, a Christian King.
This big budget production, promoted by Assia, a well-known female producer, enabled Chahine to offer an Arab perspective on the history of the Crusades such as presented by Hollywood and Cinecittà. In order to obtain Egyptian army’s logistical support and also administrative clearances, Chahine cunningly persuaded Nasser, the charismatic ruler of Egypt, that the film was being made as a tribute to him. Read More »