The Egyptian film industry is thriving and has produced a wide variety of notable works over the years. Epic love stories and heartbreaking social tragedies are only two examples of the wide range of Egyptian cinema genres that are shown here.
1. The Nightingale’s Prayer (1959)
Amna, an illiterate young Egyptian woman, tells the narrative of the Nightingale’s Prayer, which is a sorrowful and heartbreaking tale. An early 20th-century look at life in a patriarchal culture where males rule the home and women have no rights is depicted in the film. A timeless score and a beautiful plot make this one of the country’s best films. Re-examine your own life, relationships, and what it means to be a human being in this powerful film.
2. The Flirtation of Girls (1949)
It tells the story of a poor Arabic language teacher who gets fired from a girls’ school for failing to discipline the misbehaving students. Having a buddy place him in the position of tutoring a little girl helps him appreciate the life he had previously despised. Additionally, the film features numerous Egyptian historical landmarks that reveal the melting pot of culture beneath Egypt’s surface.
3. Cairo Station (1958)
At the 31st Academy Awards, Cairo Station, directed by Youssef Chahine, will represent Egypt as the country’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film. Lame kiosk proprietor is the focus of the film, which focuses on his life as a hopeless romantic who is scorned by every woman he encounters. Despite this, he persists in his pursuit of Hannuma, a stunning cold drink vendor. It only takes one rejection to turn him into a complete lunatic. Social injustice and the widening cultural divides that come with love, pain, and universal human experience are on full display in this microcosmic tragedy.
4. The Sin (1965)
Working-class women’s oppression takes center stage in this hard-hitting social drama. Azziza is brutally assaulted as she gathers potatoes for her husband, but she decides not to inform him about it because of his deteriorating health. Peasants look up to her as an example of perseverance after learning she is pregnant. The Sin was nominated for a Cannes Lion for being one of the most important films in Egyptian cinema.
5. The Land (1969)
The Land, another film about tyranny, tells the story of a tiny village’s two-generation struggle against a local landlord. Among Youssef Chahin’s finest works, this film depicts the hardships faced by farmers in the 20th century against the backdrop of an Ali Ismail-inspired music. The film not only focuses on the people who live along the Nile’s banks, but it also shines a light on the social structure that exists there.
6. The Night of Counting the Years (1969)
The Night of Counting the Years, one of the greatest Egyptian films ever created, is based on a true story. Mummies are being sold publicly in Cairo when a government officer discovers it. After a long-running feud between the Horbat clan and Egypt’s law and government, the two sides will finally meet. Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation used original 35mm camera and sound techniques maintained at the Egyptian Film Center in Giza to beautifully recreate this lovely film.
7. The Bus Driver (1982)
Hassan works night shifts as a bus driver and cab driver in order to save his father’s carpentry business. This often leads to domestic violence when arguing with his wife about the fact that he has to work evenings. Tensions are pushed to the edge in this intergenerational family drama, which includes brothers, sisters-in-law, and their offspring.
8. Terrorism and the Kebab (1992)
Terrorism and the Kebab is a classic Egyptian comedy in which Ahmed works two jobs and has to take one day off to arrange for his children to attend a school closer to their home. He has to wait another day because of the lengthy bureaucratic process, and he becomes so enraged that he gathers weapons and takes control of the entire building. When officials finally open up a dialogue with him, they learn that he has a very basic request. It’s a hugely popular Egyptian comedy, so expect a lot of chuckles.
9. The Yacoubian Building (2006)
During the first Gulf War in the 1990s, The Yacoubian Building depicts current Egyptian life and is reportedly the most expensive Egyptian film ever made. It begins with a look at a building in Cairo’s downtown area and the people who call it home. The Yacoubian Building profiles the corrupt political and social institutions at the heart of Egyptian communities by intertwining the tales of each of the people featured.
10. Asmaa (2011)
Asmaa tells the story of a lady with AIDS who refuses to give up on her fight against the disease, despite the odds. Those suffering from a similar affliction are encouraged by her drive to overcome the debilitating illness. In the face of adversity and gender prejudices, she emits a bravery that is uplifting and a monument to the human experience. ‘Love, courage, overcoming fear, and battling for personal rights’ are just few of the words that come to mind when we think of this drama in Egypt.