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Near East Collection: Arab Cinema Poster Exhibition

Exhibition: Arab Cinema Posters

Memorabilia Room, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University

Presented by The Near East Collection & Manuscripts and Archives
Yale University Library
December 2008 to February 2009

Arab Cinema Posters

The posters displayed in this exhibition are selected from a collection of some 1200 Arabic film posters recently acquired by the Curator of the Near East Collection at Yale University Library. The collection is currently housed at the Department of Manuscripts and Archives at Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University. For more information on the “Arabic Film Posters” please visit: http://mssa.library.yale.edu/findaids/stream.php?xmlfile=mssa.ms.1868.xml.

The aim of this exhibition is to document the development of the Arabic film from its inception in Egypt (the Hollywood of Arab cinema) in the first quarter of the twentieth century to its current maturity and development in Egypt and other Arab countries.

The earliest Egyptian films were: Fi Bilad Tut Ankh Amun (في بلاد توت عنخ آمون ) “In the Lands of Tutankamen” (1923), written and directed by the Italian Victor Rossito, a feature film about the discovery of the tomb of the ancient Egyptian king Tutankamen by Lord Carnarvon (1866-1923) and traditional Egyptian life; followed by Barsum Yabhathu an Wazifah (برصوم يبحث عن وظيفة) “Barsum Searches for a Job” (1924), written and produced by Muhammad Bayyumi (محمد بيّومي); and “Layla” (ليلى) directed by the Italian born Stephan Rosti (اسطفان روستي) (1891-1964), a melodrama about love and betrayal.

With the introduction of radio, however, the Egyptian singers started to gain fame throughout the Arab World. Production companies endeavored to recruit these singers to perform in films. Famous singers like Umm Kulthum (أم كلثوم) (1898-1975), Leila Murad (ليلى مراد) (1918-1995) and Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab (محمد عبد الوهاب) (who was also a musician and composer) (1910-1991) dominated the Egyptian film industry through the end of the 1940s. Soon after other famous singers came to the front: Shadiyah (شادية) (b. 1929), Abd al-Halim Hafiz (عبد الحليم حافظ) (1929-1977), the Syrian born Farid al-Atrash (فريد الأطرش) (1915-1974) and his sister Asmahan (أسمهان) (1912-1944), a rival of Umm Kulthum, and Fatin Hamamah (Lady of the Arab Screen) (b. 1931) who starred with an unknown Lebanese Christian, Michel Shalhoub (ميشيل شلهوب) whom she married and later divorced. To marry Hamamah, Shalhoub converted to Islam and took a new name, becoming the famous Omar Sharif (عمر الشريف) (b. 1932).

Motivated by profit, film production companies started sending technicians abroad for training in order to develop the film industry and bring it to a level on par with the western movies.

To reflect the tastes and sentiments of the Arab population, the Arab film was not restricted to the traditional love and betrayal themes; the literary masterpieces of the famous Egyptian novelists Najīb Maḥfūẓ (نجيب محفوظ) (1911-2006) winner of 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature, the prolific Ihsan ‘Abd al-Quddus (إحسان عبد القدوس) (1919-1990), Yusuf al-Siba’i (يوسف السباعي) (1917-1978) and Taha Husayn (طه حسين) (1889-1973), dean of Arabic literature, were adapted into movies. Arab cinema also started documenting the political and nationalistic development in the Arab world. Hence, the movement of Arab nationalism, the nationalization of the Suez Canal by President Nasser in 1956 and the subsequent trilateral invasion by France, Great Britain and Israel that followed, the Palestinian problem, the Arab-Israeli struggle, the Algerian war of independence, the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars, the Lebanese civil war and the several Israeli invasions and wars with Lebanese resistance movements became themes for new films. To date, the Egyptian film industry has produced close to 10,000 films. Most of these are in the Egyptian dialect, which made it very popular and the lingua franca allover the Arab World. Cairo is still the capital of the Arabic movie industry.

Although Arab cinema was born in Egypt, the film industry in other Arab countries started to pick up in the second half of the twentieth century, emulating Egyptian films and movie techniques. Currently, films are produced in almost all Arab countries with various degrees of quality and quantity.

In Syria some 150 films have so far been produce, two thirds of which date back to the 1960s and 1970s. The rest have been produced by the government operated al-Mu’ssasah al-‘Ammah lil-Sinima (المؤسسة العامة للسييما) “General Establishment for the Cinema” adapting some of the novels of the famous Syrian novelist Hanna Minah (حنّا مينة) (1924- ) and the Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani (غسّان كنفاني) (1936-1972) into quality films. In the 1960s, due to the good foreign relations with the former Soviet Union, the Syrian government sent dozens of ambitious young men and women to study Soviet cinematic arts and techniques. Upon finishing their studies in the specialized academies in the different republics of the Soviet Union, they returned home to enrich the nascent film industry in Syria. The Syrian films (mostly in the Syrian dialects of Damascus, Aleppo and the coastal regions), actors and actresses, technicians, directors and producers have achieved high degree of popularity and fame all over the Arab World.

The film industry in Lebanon started in the early 1930s with films such as Mughamarat Ilyas Mabruk (مغامرات إلياس مبروك) “The adventures of Elias Mabruk” and Mughamarat Abu ‘Ubayd (مغامرات أبو عبيد) “The Adventures of Abu ‘Ubayd” both produced by Jurdanu Bayruti (جوردانو بيروتي), 1929 and 1931 respectively. The Lebanese film industry gained momentum during the 1960s and early 1970s, until the start of the Lebanese civil war which had very negative effects on the movie industry in Lebanon. The films in Lebanon are not only in Arabic but also in French and English.

In Iraq, the film industry started during the 1940s under King Faysal II (1935-1958), producing popular films, featuring famous Iraqi singers and dancers. However, after the end of the monarchy in 1958, the film industry came under the direction of the government and began to produce films which served and furthered the aims of the political establishment. It continued to deteriorate due to political upheavals and wars with the rise to power of Saddam Husayn (1937-2006) in 1979.

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Title: Ma‘rakat al-Jaza’ir (معركة الجزائر)
[The Battle of Algiers]
Cast: Jean Martin, Yusuf Sa‘di, Fawziyah al-Qadir, Ibrahim Hajjaj, Samiyah Kirbash, Muhammad bin Qasim
(جان مارتن، يوسف سعدي، فوزية القادر، إبراهيم حجّاج، سامية كرباش، محمد بن قاسم)
Director: Gillo Pontecorvo (جللو پونتيكورڤو)
Producer: Kabbash Film, Algiers; Igor Film, Rome, 1966 (كباش فيلم، الجزائر؛ إيجور فيلم، روما، ١٩٦٦)
Written by: Franco Solinas (فرانكو سوليناس)

Summary: Dramatizes the harrowing events of 1957, a key year in Algeria’s struggle for independence from France. Recreates the tumultuous Algerian uprising against the occupying French in the 1950s.



Title: Ayyam al-Sadat (أيام السادات)
[Days of Sadat]
Cast: Ahmad Zaki, Mirvat Amin, Muna Zaki
(أحمد زكي، ميرفت أمين، منى زكي)
Director: Muhammad Khan (محمد خان)
Producer: Aflam Ahmad Zaki, Cairo, 2001 (أفلام أحمد زكي، القاهرة، ٢٠٠١)
Story: Ahmad Bahjat (أحمد بهجت)

Summary: An epic, dramatic, historical film, based on Sadat’s autobiography, "In search of identity (البحث عن الذات : قصة حياتي)," and his wife, Jinane el-Sadat’s "A woman of Egypt (سيدة من مصر)".

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Title: Sukut Ha-Nsawwar (سكوت ح نصوّر)
[Silence! We will be Filming]
Cast: Latifah, Ahmad Budayr, Majidah al-Khatib, Ahmad Wafiq, Mustafa Sha‘ban, Ruby, Zaki Fatin ‘Abd al-Wahhab, Ahmad Muhriz, Hani Salamah, Hanan Turk, Khalid al-Ghandur, Muhammad al-Adandani, Asma’ Yahya, ‘Ahdi Sadiq, Mahir ‘Isam, Nuhayr Amin, Minhah Zaytun, ‘Abd al-Hakim Darwish
(لطيفة، أحمد بدير، ماجدة الخطيب، أحمد وفيق، مصطفى شعبان، روبي، زكي فطين عبد الوهاب، أحمد محرز، هاني سلامة، حنان ترك، خالد الغندور، محمد الأدنداني، أسماء يحيى، عهدي صادق، ماهر عصام، نهير أمين، منحة زيتون، عبد الحكيم درويش)
Director: Yusuf Shahin (يوسف شاهين)
Scenario: Yusuf Shahin (يوسف شاهين)
Producer: Madinat al-Intaj al-I‘lami, Aflam Misr al-‘Alamiyah, Cairo, Egypt, 2001 (مدينة الإنتاج الإعلامي، أفلام مصر العالمية، القاهرة، ٢٠٠١)
Summary: A famous divorced singer falls prey to an adventurer who steals her heart and money. She neglects her self and her singing. Her daughter, with the help of the singer’s mother, helps her to get out of this destructive relation and goes back to her art and singing.



Title: Majd al-Islam fi Jazirat al-‘Arab (مجد الإسلام في جزيرة العرب)
[The Glory of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula]
Cast: ‘Isa Khalil Sabbagh, James S. Stewart, Ira Constad, Fatimah bint ‘Ali
(عيسى خليل صبّاغ، جيمس س. ستيورت، إيرا كونستاد، فاطمة بنت علي)
Director: Richard Lyford (ريتشارد لايفورد)
Producer: Studio Alliance (ستوديو ألاينس)
Music by: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab (محمد عبد الوهاب)

Summary: A film about the triumph of Islam and the achievements of the Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula by an American director and some American actors and actresses.

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Title: Ayyub (أيوب)
[Job (The Prophet)]
Cast: Omar Sharif, Madihah Yusri, Fu’ad al-Muhandis, Athar al-Hakim, Mustafa Fahmi, Samih al-Surayti, Ibrahim al-Shami, Usamah ‘Abbas, Mahmud al-Miliji, Layla Fahmi, Hafiz Amin, Muhammad Abu Dawud, Mariya Khuri, Marwan Labib
(عمر الشريف، مديحة يسري، فؤاد المهندس، آثار الحكيم، مصطفى فهمي، سميح السريطي، إبراهيم الشامي، أسامة عبّاس، محمود المليجي، ليلى فهمي، حافظ أمين، محمد أبو داود، ماريا خوري، مروان لبيب)
Director: Hani Lashin (هاني لاشين)
Producer: Aflam al-Tilifiziyun, Cairo, 1984 (أفلام التلفزيون، القاهرة، ١٩٨٤)
Scenario & Dialogue: Muhsin Zayid (محسن زايد)
Based on: a novel by Najib Mahfuz, 1911-2006 (قصة نجيب محفوظ، ١٩١١-٢٠٠٦)

Summary: A successful business man is paralyzed because of his excessive worries about some recent big contracts. His wife neglects him and immerses herself in partying and merrymaking. His son manages his father’s company and his daughter falls in love with a young engineer. He decides to publish a book in which he confesses the unscrupulous ways in which he gathered his fortune but gets killed by some of his friends to prevent the publication of the book in which he reveals some of their secrets. His sufferings are resembled to those of the Prophet Job.



Title: Mamnu‘ al-Hubb (ممنوع الحبّ)
[Love is Forbidden]
Cast: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab, Raja’ ‘Abduh, ‘Abd al-Warith ‘Asar Hasan Kamil, Samiyah Jamal
(محمد عبد الوهاب، رجاء عبده، عبد الوارث عسر حسن كامل، سامية جمال)
Director: Muhammad Karim, 1896-1972 (محمد كريم، ١٨٩٦-١٩٧٢)
Producer: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab, Cairo, Egypt, 1942 (محمد عبد الوهاب، القاهرة، ١٩٤٢)
Scenario & Dialogue: Muhammad Karim (محمد كريم)
Written by: ‘Abbas ‘Allam (عباس علام)
Adapted from: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette (عن مسرحية روميو وجولييت لشكسپير)
Music & Songs: by Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahhab, 1910-1991 (موسيقى وأغاني: محمد عبد الوهاب، ١٩١٠-١٩٩١)

Summary: A young engineer receives a telegram informing him of the death of his father. On his way home he meets a young woman in the train. When he reaches home he discovers that the telegram was a hoax by his father in order to come and help in his election campaign against his rival and the woman he met is the rival’s daughter. The two end up marrying and the two rivals finally reconcile and enjoy carrying their grandchildren.

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Title: Fi Baytina Rajul (في بيتنا رجل)
[A Man in our House]
Cast: ʻUmar al-Sharif, Zubaydah Thawrat, Rushdi Abazah, Husayn Riyad, Zahrat al-‘Ula, Tawfiq al-Diqin, Nahid Samir.
(عمر الشريف، زبيدة ثروت، رشدي أباظة، حسين رياض، زهرة العلا، توفيق الدقن، ناهد سمير)
Director: Hanri Barakat (هنري بركات)
Producer: Aflam Barakat, Cairo, 1961 (أفلام بركات، القاهرة، ١٩٦١)
Scenario: Yusuf ‘Isa (يوسف عيسى)
Based on: a novel by Ihsan Abd al-Quddus (قصة إحسان عبد القدوس)

Summary: Set prior to Egypt’s 1952 revolution, a member of an underground resistance group seeks refuge from the political police with a civil servant and his family.



Title: Abi fawqa al-Shajarh (أبي فوق الشجرة)
[My Father is above the Tree]
Cast: ‘Abd al-Halim Hafiz, Mirvat Amin, Nadiyah Lutfi, ‘Imad Hamdi, Samir Sabri, Nabilah al-Sayyid, Salah Nazmi, Fathi ‘Abd al-Sattar, Nahid Samir, Hamid Mursi
(عبد الحليم حافظ، مرفت أمين، نادية لطفي، عماد حمدي، سمير صبري، نبيلة السيّد، صلاح نظمي، فتحي عبد الستّار، ناهد سمير، حامد مرسي)
Director: Husayn Kamal (حسين كمال)
Producer: Aflam Sawt al-Fann, Cairo, Egypt, 1969 (أفلام صوت الفنّ، القاهرة، ١٩٦٩)
Scenario: Ihsan ‘Abd al-Quddus, Sa‘d al-Din Wahbah, Yusuf Faransis (إحسان عبد القدوس، سعد الدين وهبة، يوسف فرنسيس)
Dialogue: Ihsan ‘Abd al-Quddus, Sa‘d al-Din Wahbah (إحسان عبد القدوس، سعد الدين وهبة)
Based on: a novel by Ihsan ‘Abd al-Quddus (قصة إحسان عبد القدوس)

Summary: A group of young university students go to Alexandria for a summer vacation among whom is ‘Adil who falls in love with a belly dancer. ‘Adil goes to live with the belly dancer in her home. When his father goes to bring him back he falls in love with the same dancer. A quarrel ensues between the ‘Adil and his father. Finally, ‘Adil succeeds in delivering his father from the belly dancer and goes back to his group.

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Title: Umm Kulthum fi "Mannayt Shababi", Qissat Nashid al-Amal (أم كلثوم في منيت شبابي، قصة نشيد الأمل) [Umm Kulthum in “I Hope for my Youth”, the Story of the Anthem of Hope]
(أم كلثوم في مجموعة من أغانيها القديمة)
Director: Ahmad Badrakhan (أحمد بدرخان)

Summary: Early songs of the famous Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum (1898-1975)



Title: Laylat al-Qabd ‘ala Fatimah (ليلة القبض على فاطمة)
[The Night Fatimah was Arrested]
Cast: Fatin Hamamah, Shukri Sarhan, Salah Qabil, Muhsin Muhyi al-Din, Na‘imah al-Saghir, Layla Fahmi, ‘Ali al-Sharif, Wafiq Fahmi
(فاتن حمامة، شكري سرحان، صلاح قابيل، محسن محيي الدين، نعيمة الصغير، ليلى فهمي، علي الشريف، وفيق فهمي)
Director: Hanri Barakat (هنري بركات)
Producer: Nara Film, Cairo, 1984 (نارا فيلم، القاهرة، ١٩٨٤)
Scenario: Hanri Barakat (هنري بركات)
Dramatic adaptation & Dialogue: ‘Abd al-Rahman Fahmi (عبد الرحمن فهمي)
Based on: a novel by Sakinah Fu’ad (قصة سكينة فؤاد)

Summary: A dramatic work about Fatimah who had raised her brother Jalal and her sister Nafisah. Jalal uses his political clout to have Fatimah committed to a mental hospital. She threatened to throw herself from the roof of a building. She told everybody how she refused to marry Sayyid the fisherman although she loved him, in order to take care of Jalal and Nafisah after their parents died. Jalal's conspiracy against his sister is finally uncovered. He is arrested and Fatimah is released from the mental health hospital and returns home.

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Title: Isma’ ‘il Yasin fi al-Ustul (إسماعيل ياسين في الأسطول)
[Isma‘il Yasin in the Navy]
Cast: Isma‘il Yasin, Zahrat al-‘Ula, Ahmad Ramzi, Mahmud al-Miliji, ‘Abd al-Warith ‘Asar, Zayant Sidqi, ‘Abd al-Mun‘im Ibrahim, Riyad al-Qasabji, Malak al-Jamal, Layla Karim, Zaynat ‘Alawi
(إسماعيل ياسين، زهرة العلا، أحمد رمزي، محمود المليجي، عبد الوارث عسر، زينات صدقي، عبد المنعم إبراهيم، رياض القصبجي، ملك الجم ل، ليلى كريم، زينات علوي)
Director: Fatin ‘Abd al-Wahhab (فطين عبد الوهّاب)
Producer: al-Sharikah al-‘Arabiyah, Mamfis Film, Cairo, Egypt, 1957 (الشركة العربية، ممفيس فيلم، القاهرة، ١٩٥٧)
Story & Scenario: Hasan Tawfiq (حسن توفيق)
Dialogue: al-Sayyid Budayr (السيّد بدير)

Summary: A simple poor young man falls in love with his cousin but her mother wants to marry her to a rich polygamous old man. His cousin asks him to enroll in the navy to earn a decent salary; which he does. Upon learning that his cousin’s wedding is underway he becomes very depressed. His friends in the navy come to his rescue. They disrupt the wedding ceremony with the help of the old man’s wives and he succeeds in marrying his cousin.



Title: Gharamiyat Majnun (غراميات مجنون)
[Passions of a Mad Man]
Cast: Farid Shawqi, Nadiyah Lutfi, Yusuf Sha‘ban, Najwa Fu’ad, Husayn Isma‘il, Kamil Anwar, Abu Lam‘ah, Sa‘id ‘Ashur, ‘Abbas Rahmi, Sa‘idah Jalal.
(فريد شوقي، نادية لطفي، يوسف شعبان، نجوى فؤاد، حسين إسماعيل، كامل أنور، أبو لمعة، سعيد عاشور، عباس رحمي، سعيدة جلال)
Director: Zuhayr Bakir (زهير بكير)
Scenario & Dialogue: Zuhayr Bakir (زهير بكير)
Producer: Aflam Umayyah, Cairo, 1967 (أفلام أمية، القاهرة، ١٩٦٧)
Story: a story by Aminah al-Sawi (قصة أمينة الصاوي)

Summary: Love adventures of a reckless young man.

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Title: Shay’ min al-‘Adhab (شيء من العذاب)
[A Little Bit of Suffering]
Cast: Su‘ad Husni, Yahya Shahin, Hasan Yusuf, ‘Abd al-Mun‘im Madbuli, Faruq Ibrahim
(سعاد حسني، يحيى شاهين، حسن يوسف، عبد المنعم مدبولي، فاروق إبراهيم)
Director: Salah Abu Sayf (صلاح أبو سيف)
Producer: al-Sharikah al-‘Arabiyah lil-Sinima (Ramsis Najib), Cairo, 1969 (الشركة العربية للسينما (رمسيس نجيب)، القاهرة، ١٩٦٩)
Story: Ahmad Bahjat, adapted for the cinema by Najib Mahfuz (قصة أحمد بهجت، أعدّها للسينما نجيب محفوظ)
Scenario & Dialogue: Salah Abu Sayf, Ahmad Rajab (صلاح أبو سيف، أحمد رجب)

Summary: A Dramatic work about a young girl who ran away because her stepfather tried to rape her. She resisted his attempts and ended up killing him. She meets an artist and falls in love with him. At the end she gives herself up to the police but was acquitted because she acted in self-defense.



Title: Lahn al-Sa‘adah (لحن السعادة)
[Melody of Happiness]
Cast: Iman, Muharram Fu’ad, Zaki Rustum, Husayn Riyad, ‘Abd al-Mun‘im Ibrahim, Fu’ad al-Muhandis, Majidah al-Khatib, Thurayya Fakhri, Zaki Ibrahim
(إيمان، محرّم فؤاد، زكي رستم، حسين رياض، عبد المنعم إبراهيم، فؤاد المهندس، ماجدة الخطيب، ثريّا فخري، زكي إبراهيم)
Director: Hilmi Raflah (حلمي رفلة)
Producer: Aflam Hilmi Raflah, Cairo, 1960 (أفلام حلمي رفلة، القاهرة، ١٩٦٠)
Story, Scenario & Dialogue: Yusuf ‘Isa (يوسف عيسى)

Summary: An authoritarian rich man treats his nephew who is his only inheritor like a servant. The nephew leaves his uncle to live at a doctor’s house in one of the villages. He falls in love with an attractive young woman who came for an appointment. They decide to get married. The uncle tries to stop the marriage because of a rivalry with the bride’s father. The couple overcome the difficulties created by the uncle and get married after the uncle reconciles with the bride’s father.

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Title: Qa‘ al-Madinah (قاع المدينة)
[Abyss of the City]
Cast: Nadiyah Lutfi, Mahmud Yasin, Nilli, Tawfiq al-Diqin, Mimi Shakib, George Sidhum, Fayiq Bahjat, ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Najdi, Kan‘an Wasfi
(نادية لطفي، محمود ياسين، نيللي، توفيق الدقن، ميمي شكيب، جورج سيدهم، فايق بهجت، عبد الغني النجدي، كنعان وصفي)
Director: Husam al-Din Mustafa (حسام الدين مصطفى)
Producer: Himan Film (Hasan Muwafi), Cairo, 1974 (هيمن فيلم (حسن موافي) القاهرة، ١٩٧٤)
Scenario & Dialogue: Ahmad ‘Abbas Salih (أحمد عبّاس صالح)
Based on: a novel by Dr. Yusuf Idris ((قصة الدكتور يوسف إدريس

Summary: A story of the judge in a the big city who lost control of his sexual desires and got entangled in relations with several women, including his won maid, and had finally to resign his prestigious job.



Title: Mudhakkirat Murahiqah (مذكّرات مراهقة)
[Diaries of a Teenage Girl]
Cast: Ahmad ‘Izz, Hind Sabri, In‘am al-Juraytili, Shams, Sayf ‘Abd al-Rahman, Fadiyah ‘Ukashah, Muhammad Rajab, Salwa Muhammad ‘Ali, Asma’ Yahya, Hibah Abu al-Khayr, Layla Sha‘ir, Fathiyah Tantawi, Sayyid Jabr, Mutawalli al-Daw, Dalal Sharif, Madihah Anwar, Jamal Sulayman
(أحمد عزّ، هند صبري، إنعام الجريتلي، شمس، سيف عبد الرحمن، فادية عكاشة، محمد رجب، سلوى محمد علي، أسماء يحيى ، هبة أبو الخير، ليلى شعير، فتحية طنطاوي، سيد جبر، متولي الضو، دلال شريف، مديحة أنور، جمال سليمان)
Director: Inas al-Dughaydi (إياس الدغيدي)
Producer: al-Sharikah al-‘Arabiyah lil-Tawzi‘ wa-al-Intaj al-Sinama’i, Cairo, Egypt 2002 (الشركة العربية للتوزيع والإنتاج السينمائي، القاهرة، ٢٠٠٢)
Story: Inas al-Dughaydi (ايناس الدغيدي)
Scenario & Dialogue: ‘Abd al-Hayy Adib (عبد الحي أديب)

Summary: A controversial and award-winning film which explores the sex life of Egyptian teens. A teenage school girl falls in love with a young man. Her jealous classmate manages to videotape her in a compromising situation and sends the video to the school principal. She was then raped by the boyfriend of her jealous classmate and becomes pregnant. Her family was obliged to move to another city but at the end she marries the young man she fell in love with.

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Title: Maw‘id ma‘a al-Ra’is (موعد مع الرئيس)
[An Appointment with the President]
Cast: Kamal al-Shinnawi, Ilham Shahin, Faruq al-Fishawi, al-Sayyid Radi, Sa‘id ‘Abd al-Ghani, Amal Ibrahim, Hanan Shawqi, Suhaylah Farahat, Muhammad Khayri, Khalil Mursi, George Sa‘d
(كمال الشنّاوي، إلهام شاهين، فاروق الفيشاوي، السيّد راضي، سعد عبد الغني، أمل إبراهيم، حنان شوقي، سهيلة فرحات، محمد خيري، خليل م رسي، جورج سعد)
Director: Muhammad Radi (محمد راضي)
Producer & Distributor: Sphinx Film (Dr. ‘Adil Husni), Cairo, Egypt, 1990 (سفنكس فيلم (د. عادل حسني)، القاهرة، ١٩٩٠)
Story, Scenario & Dialogue: Ahmad al-Khatib (أحمد الخطيب)

Summary: A film about corruption of high officials in Egypt. A member of Parliament, tries to blow the whistle on some of these officials. The Egyptian president watches the debates of parliament on television and asks the member to meet with him in the city of Aswan. While in the train, on her way to meet the president, the corrupt officials try to steel her documents but they fail.



Title: Hubb fi Baghdad (حبّ في بغداد)
[Love in Baghdad]
Cast: Qasim al-Mallak, Sana’ ‘Abd al-Rahman, Rasim al-Jamili, Fatimah al-Rabi, Iqbal Na‘im
(قاسم الملاك، سناء عبد الرحمن، راسم الجميلي، فاطمة الربيع، إقبال نعيم)
Director: ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Rawi (عبد الهادي الراوي)
Producer: Da’irat al-Sinima wa-al-Masrah, Baghdad, Iraq, 1987 (دائرة السينما والمسرح، بغداد، ١٩٨٧)
Story: Salim al-Rawi (سليم الراوي)
Scenario: ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Rawi (عبد الهادي الراوي)

Summary: A comedy about a married carpenter in Baghdad who loses his memory as a result of an accident. He goes to the countryside and lives as a peasant. He remarries and begets children. With another accident his former personality is restored … and the comedy continues.

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Title: al-Mas’alah al-Kubra (المسألة الكبرى)
[The Grand Issue: Clash of Loyalties]
Cast: Oliver Reed, Helen Ryan, Ghazi al-Takriti, Fatimah al-Rabi‘i, Sami Qiftan, Yusuf al-‘Ani, Sami ‘Abd al-Hamid
(أوليفر ريد، هلين رايان، غازي التكريتي، فاطمة الربيعي، سامي قفطان، يوسف العاني، سامي عبد الحميد)
Director: Muhammad Shukri Jamil (محمد شكري جميل)
Producer: Da’irat al-Sinima wa-al-Masrah, Baghdad, Iraq, 1982 (دائرة السينما والمسرح، بغداد، ١٩٨٢)
Scenario & Dialogue: Latif Jurayfani, Ramadan Kati‘, Roger Smith, Muhammad Shukri Jamil (لطيفل جريفاني، رمضان كاطع، روجر سميث، محمد شكري جميل)

Summary: During the British occupation of Iraq, the head of Zawba‘, a clan of the Arabian Shummar tribe, Shaykh Dari (1868-1928) (الشيخ ضاري الزوبع الشمّري) resisted the British. Shaykh Dari was accused by the British governor of being a highway robber. The film highlights the solidarity of the Iraqi people with Shaykh Dari and its struggle for independence.



Title: al-Ra’s (الرأس)
[The Head]
Cast: Salim Kallas, Lina al-Bati‘, ‘Abd al-Jabbar, Sami Qiftan, Fawziyah al-Shindi.
(سليم كلاس، لينا الباتع، عبد الجبّار، سامي قفطان، فوزية الشندي)
Director: Faysal al-Yasiri (فيصل الياسري)
Producer: Da’irat al-Sinima wa-al-Masrah, Baghdad, Iraq, 1977 (دائرة السينما والمسرح، بغداد، ١٩٧٧)
Scenario: Faysal al-Yasiri (فيصل الياسري)

Summary: The film deals with smuggling of archaeological artifacts. The events span the boarders between Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The smugglers are chased by the boarder police and are finally caught and arrested. The stolen artifact, the head of a certain king (Santaruq II) is brought back to the country and placed in the museum.

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Title: Buyut fi dhalika al-Zuqaq (بيوت في ذلك الزقاق)
[Houses in that Alley]
Cast: Nizar al-Samarra’i, Sa‘diyah al-Zaydi, ‘Abd al-Jabbar Kazim, Sana’ ‘Abd al-Rahman, Makki al-Badri
(نزار السامرّائي، سعدية الزيدي، عبد الجبّار كاظم، سناء عبد الرحمن، مكّي البدري)
Director: Qasim Hawal (قاسم حول)
Producer: Da’irat al-Sinima wa-al-Masrah, Baghdad, Iraq, 1977 (دائرة السينما والمسرح، بغداد، ١٩٧٧)
Story: Jasim al-Matir (جاسم المطير)
Scenario & Dialogue: Qasim Hawal (قاسم حول)

Summary: The film highlights the abuses of greedy construction businessmen who deceive simple families by providing them with poorly built houses and the catastrophes which occur as a result of the collapse of these houses.



Title: al-Munaffidhun (المنفّذون)
[The Executors]
Cast: ‘Abd al-Jabbar Kazim, Sana’ ‘Abd al-Rahman, Jawad al-Shakarji, Muhsin al-‘Ali, Mahmud Abu al-‘Abbas
(عبد الجبار كاظم، سناء عبد الرحمن، جواد الشكرجي، محسن العلي، محمود أبو العبّاس)
Director: ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Rawi (عبد الهادي الراوي)
Producer: Da’irat al-Sinima wa-al-Masrah, Baghdad, Iraq, 1987 (دائرة السينما والمسرح، بغداد، ١٩٨٧)
Scenario & Dialogue: ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Rawi, Muhammad Judi (عبد الهادي الراوي، محمد جودي)

Summary: A film about the Iraq-Iran war in which a group of Iraqi soldiers carry out a military operation to destroy an Iranian weapon depot.

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Title: Hurub Saghirah (حروب صغيرة)
[Little Wars]
Cast: Thurayya Khuri, Nabil Isma‘il, Rida Khuri, Rujih Hawwa, Yusuf Husni, Rif‘at Tar Abami
(ثريا خوري، نبيل إسماعيل، رضا خوري، روجيه حوّا، يوسف حسني، رفعت طار أبامي)
Director: Marun Baghdadi (مارون بغدادي)
Producer: Marun Baghdadi, Lubrik National, Beirut, 1982 (مارون بغدادي، لبريك ناشيونال، بيروت، ١٩٨٢)
Story & Scenario: Marun Baghdadi (مارون بغدادي)
Dialogue: Kamal Karim (كمال كريم)

Summary: A woman caught between two men in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war. All the characters live in a state of crisis compounded by the crisis of the whole city, the war surrounding them and their own personal wars.



Title: Naji al-‘Ali (ناجي العلي)
[Naji al-‘Ali]
Cast: Nur al-Sharif, Layla Jabr, Mahmud al-Jundi, Ahmad Zayn, Taqla Shamshun
(نور الشريف، ليلى جبر، محمود الجندي، أحمد زين، تقلا شمشون)
Director: ‘Atif al-Tayyib (عاطف الطيّب)
Producer: Majallat Fann “Walid al-Husayni” and N.B. “Nur al-Sharif and Pussi”, Egypt/Lebanon, 1992 (مجلة فنّ "وليد الحسيني" وإن بي "نور الشريف وپوسي، مصر/لبنان، ١٩٩٢)
Story, Scenario & Dialogue: Bashir al-Dik (بشير الديك)
Political Supervision: Walid al-Husayni (الإشراف السياسي: وليد الحسيني)

Summary: A film about the life, works and assassination in London, England of the Palestinian cartoonist and political activist Naji al-‘Ali (1937-1987)

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Title: Zawjati min al-Hibbiz (زوجتي من الهيبّز)
[My Wife is of the Hippies]
Cast: Durayd Lahham, Huwayda, Nihad Qal‘i, Halah Shawkat
(دريد لحّام، هويدا، نهاد قلعي، هالة شوكت)
Director: ‘Atif Salim (عاطف سالم)
Producer: Joe Sabbagh, Damascus, Syria, 1973 (جو صبّاع، دمشق، سورية، ١٩٧٣)
Scenario: ‘Abd al-Hayy Adib, Faruq Sabri (عبد الحيّ أديب، فاروق صبري)

Summary: A poor young man asks his friend to stay in his apartment. As time passes by he behaves as if he is the owner of the apartment. He gets acquainted with a group of Hippies and marries one of them. The couple continues to live in the same apartment to the chagrin of the original owner who tries to evict them without success.



Title: Ah ya Bahr (آه يا بحر)
[Oh! O Sea!]
Cast: Muna Wasif, Jalal Shammut, Khalid Taja, Rana Jammul, Sabah ‘Ubayd, Fatimah Abu ‘Aql, Mazin al-Natur
(منى واصف، جلال شمّوط، خالد تاجا، رنا جمّول، صباج عبيد، فاطمة أبو عقل، مازن ناطور)
Director: Muhammad Shahin (محمد شاهين)
Producer: al-Mu’ssasah al-‘Ammah lil-Sinima, Damascus, Syria, 1993 (المؤسسة العامّة للسينما، دمشق، سورية، ١٩٩٣)
Story: By the Syrian novelist Hanna Minah (حنّا مينة)

Summary: A dramatic and desperate search by the son of a Syrian seaman from the port town of Alexandretta on the Mediterranean for his lost father. The family immigrates to the coastal city of al-Ladhiqiyah (Latakia) in Syria. The son decides to become a sailor in order to find his father.

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Title: Su‘ud al-Matar (صعود المطر)
[Ascent of Rain]
Cast: Taysir Idris, Naji Jabr, May Sikaf, Amal ‘Arafah, Maryam ‘Ali, Muhannad Qutaysh, ‘Abid Fahd, Rana Jammul, Muhammad al-Hariri, Ramiz ‘Ata Allah
(تيسير إدريس، ناجي جبر، مي سكاف، أمل عرفة، مريم علي، محمد قطيش، عابد فهد، رنا جمّول، محمد الحريري، رمزي عطا الله)
Director: ‘Abd al-Latif ‘Abd al-Hamid (عبد اللطيف عبد الحميد)
Scenario: ‘Abd al-Latif ‘Abd al-Hamid (عبد اللطيف عبد الحميد)
Producer: al-Mu’ssasah al-‘Ammah lil-Sinima, Damascus, Syria, 1995 (المؤسسة العامة للسينما، دمشق، سورية، ١٩٩٥)
Written by: ‘Abd al-Latif ‘Abd al-Hamid (عبد اللطيف عبد الحميد)

Summary: A creative and aspiring young writer suffers the difficulties and complexities of the large city and a perpetual financial crisis. One day he watches two young lovers meet at night on the roof of a building. As a result, his dismal existence turns into a dynamic enthusiasm for life. The film ends with the love story being discovered and the two lovers killed.



Title: al-Ghajariyah al-‘Ashiqah (الغجرية العاشقة)
[The Amorous Gypsy Woman]
Cast: Samirah Tawfiq, Najwá Fu’ad, Ziyad Mawlawi, Maḥmud Jabr
(سميرة توفيق، نجوى فؤاد، زياد مولوي، محمود جبر)
Director: Rida Muyassar (رضا ميسّر)
Story: Rida Muyassar (رضا ميسّر)
Scenario: Rida Muyassar (رضا ميسّر)
Producer: Tahsin Qawadiri, Damascus, Syria, 1974 (تحسين قوادري، دمشق، سورية، ١٩٧٤)

Summary: Love adventures and life style of a Gypsy young woman.

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Title: al-Makhdu‘un (المخدوعون)
[The Dupes]
Cast: Muhammad Khayr Halawani, ‘Abd al-Rahman Al Rashi, Bassam Lutfi As‘ad, Salih Khuluqi, Thana’ Dibsi, ‘Adnan Barakat
(محمد خير حلواني، عبد الرحمن آل رشي، بسّام لطفي أسعد، صالح خلقي، ثناء دبسي، عدنان بركات)
Director: Tawfiq Salih (توفيق صالح)
Producer: al-Mu’ssasah al-‘Ammah lil-Sininma, Damascus, Syria, 1972 (المؤسسة العامة للسينما، دمشق، سورية، ١٩٧٢)
Scenario: Tawfiq Salih (توفيق صالح)
Based on: the novel “Rijal fi al-Shams” (رجال في الشمس) [Men in the Sun] by the Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani, 1936-1972 (غسّان كنفاني، ١٩٣٦-١٩٧٢)

Summary: Three Palestinian men of different ages decide to be smuggled to Kuwait in August of 1958. They hide in the cistern of a water truck. At the border crossing to Kuwait, the water truck is delayed by customs officials and the three men get suffocated inside because of the smoldering heat and lack of oxygen.



Title: Shay’ ma Yahtariq (شيء ما يحترق)
[Something is Burning]
Cast: Muna Wasif, Yusuf Hanna, Bassam Kusa, ‘Ali Karim, ‘Abd al-Fattah Muzayyin, Amal ‘Arafah, Raslan Shumayt, Fatin ‘Abd al-Nafi‘
(منى واصف، يوسف حنّا، بسّام كوسا، علي كريم، عبد الفتاح مزين، أمل عرفة، رسلان شميط، فاتن عبد النافع)
Director: Ghassan Shumayt (غسّان شميط)
Producer: al-Mu’ssasah al-‘Ammah lil-Sinima, Damascus, Syria, 1993 (المؤسسة العامة للسينما، دمشق، سورية، ١٩٩٣)
Story & Scenario: Walid Mi‘mari, Ghassan Shumayt (وليد معماري، غسّان شميط)

Summary: A film about a Syrian family who leave their village in the Golan Heights after the 1967 war with Israel. The father and the mother, who works as a seamstress, endeavor to make ends meet in very difficult circumstances. Disputes develop between the father and the son who wants to become rich quickly. The film ends with the son being killed by his employer for an illicit relation with his wife.

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Title: Turab al-Ghuraba’ (تراب الغرباء)
[The Land of Strangers]
Cast: Bassam Kusa, Usamah ‘Ashur, Iman al-Ghuri, Najwa Kundaqji, Fayiz Abudan
(بسّام كوسا، أسامة عاشور، إيمان الغوري، نجوى كندقجي، فايز بودان)
Director: Samir Dhikri (سمير ذكري)
Scenario and Dialogue: Samir Dhikri (سمير ذكري)
Based on: a novel by Faysal Khartash (فيصل خرتش)
Filmed in the city of Aleppo, Syria (تمّ التصوير في مدينة حلب، سورية)
Producer: al-Mua’ssasah al-‘Ammah lil-Sinima, Damascus, Syria, 1998 (المؤسسة العامّة للسينما، دمشق، سورية، ١٩٩٨)

Summary: A film about the life of ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi, 1855-1902 (عبد الرحمن الكواكبي), the Syrian intellectual and nationalist, and his struggle against the abuses of the Ottoman governors to his homeland, Syria.



Title: Fida’iyun hatta al-Nasr, aw, ‘Amaliyat al-Sa‘ah 6 (فدائيون حتى النصر، أو، عملية الساعة ٦)
[Commandos until Victory, or, Operation Hour 6]
Cast: Talhat Hamdi, Malak Sukkar, Rafiq al-Subay ‘i
(طلحت حمدي، ملك سكّر، رفيق السبيعي)
Director: Sayf al-Din Shawkat (سيف الدين شوكت)
Scenario: Sayf al-Din Shawkat (سيف الدين شوكت)
Producer: Mazhar Subay‘i, Damascus, Syria ; al-Shahba’ lil-Sinama, Beirut, Lebanon (مظهر السبيعي، دمشق، سورية ؛ الشهباء للسينما، بيروت، لبنان)
Story and Dialogue: Nimr Hammad (نمر حمّاد)

Summary: A group of Palestinian commandos decide to carry out a secret attack on Israeli positions. The operation is discovered but the commandos succeed in their mission.

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Arab Cinema: Selected Bibliography

  • Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film / edited by Oliver Leaman. London ; New York : Routledge, 2001.
  • Screens of life : critical film writing from the Arab world / edited and translated by Alia Arasoughly. St-Hyacinthe, Quebec : World Heritage Press, 1996-
  • Encyclopedia of Arab women filmmakers / Rebecca Hillauer; translated by Allison Brown, Deborah Cohen, and Nancy Joyce. Cairo ; New York : American University in Cairo Press, c2005.
  • Filming the modern Middle East : politics in the cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab world / Lina Khatib. London ; New York : I.B. Tauris ; New York : Distributed in the United States by Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
  • Arab and African film making / Lizbeth Malkmus and Roy Armes. London ; Atlantic Highlands, N.J., USA : Zed Books, 1991.
  • Arab cinema : history and cultural identity / Viola Shafik. Cairo, Egypt ; New York : The American University in Cairo Press, 2007.
  • The birth of the seventh art in Alexandria : catalogue / edited by Mohamed Awad & Sahar Hamouda. Aexandria : Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2007.
  • East/West, an ambiguous state of being : the construction and representation of Egyptian cultural identity in Egyptian film / Hind Rassam Culhane. New York : P. Lang, c1995.
  • Youssef Chahine / Ibrahim Fawal. London : British Film Institute, 2001.
  • Youssef Chahine l’Alexandrin / dossier réuni par Christian Bosséno. Paris : Cerf, 1985.
  • Importation of films for cinema and television in Egypt : a study / undertaken under the supervision of Gehan Rachty and Khalil Sabat. [Paris?] : Unesco, [1980?]
  • Harb al-tahrir fi al-adab wa-al-sam‘iyat al-basariyat : al-intaj bi-al-lughah al-‘Arabiyah = La Guerre de libération dans la littérature et l’audiovisuel : production en langue arabe / sous la direction de Mahmoud Bouayed. Alger : ENAL, 1984.
  • La Guerre de libération dans la littérature et l’audiovisuel : production en langues étrangères / sous la direction de Mahmoud Bouayed directeur de la Bibliothèque nationale). Alger : Société nationale d’édition et de diffusion ; Alger : Bibliothèque nationale d’Algérie, 1982.
  • Images of the Algerian War : French fiction and film, 1954-1992 / Philip Dine. Oxford [England] : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Beyond Casablanca : M.A. Tazi and the adventure of Moroccan cinema / Kevin Dwyer. Bloomington : Indiana University Press, c2004.
  • Lebanese cinema : imagining the Civil War and beyond / Lina Khatib. London ; New York : I.B. Tauris, 2008.
  • Insights into Syrian cinema : essays and conversations with contemporary filmmakers / edited by Rasha Salti. New York : ArteEast : AIC Film Editions/Rattapallax Press, c2006.
  • Sīnimā al-‘Arab [electronic resource]. Falls Church, Va. : Dījītik Intirnāshyūnāl, 1996.
  • Le cinéma colonial au Maghreb : l’imaginaire en tromp-l’œil / Abdelkader Benali. Paris : Editions du Cerf, 1998.
  • Le cinéma colonial de “l’Atlantide” à “Lawrence d’Arabie” / Pierre Boulanger ; préf. de Guy Hennebelle. Paris : Seghers, [1975]
  • Le corps, l’histoire, le territoire : les rapports de genre dans le cinéma algérien / Ratiba Hadj-Moussa. Montréal : Éditions Balzac ; Paris : Publisud, c1994.