By: Nadine El Shawatfy

The Nightingale’s Prayer (Doa Al-Karawan) (1960)دعاء-الكروان-1959

This movie is mainly so alluring because of the fact that not only is it based on a novel by the great Taha Hussein but it’s also directed by the master of classical cinema in Egypt; Henry Barakat.

Plot: It follows a peasant girl (Faten Hamama) and her mission to try and seek revenge from a handsome engineer who seduced her sister who was a victim of an honor killing but ironically finds herself falling in love with him.


Chitchat-on-the-Nile-images-0a77ae10-1281-454e-84cd-17f8404a844Chitchat on the Nile (Thartharah Fawq Al-Nil
) (1971)

Based on a novel by Naguib Mahfouz and directed by the
talented Hussein Kamal; this movie’s themes and cinematography can’t be missed.

Plot: Set on an illicit barge on the Nile where disenchanted government employees meet to get drunk and smoke hashish. Made soon after President Nasser’s death, the film is critical of the old “socialist” bureaucracy, which had become extremely corrupt.



Cairo-Station-images-ea8d9b6d-5044-424b-b944-8b9e3eee564Cairo Station (Mahatet Masr)(1958)

Directed by Youssef Chahine, this movie was selected Egypt’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 31st Academy Awards. We come in contact with themes of social injustice and the cultural chasms that come with love, suffering and, above all, universal human experience.

Plot: Focuses on the life of a lame newsstand owner that is helplessly unlucky in love and shunned by all women. Nevertheless, he is not deterred and becomes obsessed with “Hannuma”, a beautiful cold drink vendor. When his proposal is rejected, his obsession soon turns to madness.


_315x420_62f39d27e40eb8bec418082eca6670722ef793e7807265b09093f4f932f5aea3The Mummy (Al-Mummia) (1969)

This was the most successful full-length feature film by the greatly talented Shadi Abdel Salam. This movie is truly a masterpiece and a classic.

Plot: Set in Egypt at the end of the 19th century, it tells of a peasant family living off the illegal trade in pharaonic treasures. The theme here is the continuity between ancient and modern Egypt and the importance of preserving pharaonic culture. Abdel Salam, also a great costume and set designer, based everything on meticulous research. Its aesthetic rigor was never again rivaled in Egypt.


image.phpWatch out for ZouZou (Khally ballak min ZouZou) (1972)

It’s a satirical film but a very lively one. Directed by the marvelous Hassan El imam

Plot: This one is a musical, a particularly good as it was written by the great cartoonist, poet and satirist Salah chaheen. It is a comedy of class conflict – Zouzou (Soad Hosny) comes from Cairo’s popular quarters but is attending the liberal world of university.