Ever since we were young as Egyptians we saw stories through the old that we cannot really imagine to live in our real life. Despite that, these old movies always portrayed ideas and stories that reflected the reality back then. Hence, the cinema is always seen to highlight the problems in society and make people aware of them. However, the black and white stories are still reflecting our dark reality nowadays which raises a question why these issues are not yet solved. Many black and white old Egyptian movies provoked cases related to women oppression that made the current generation rethink how women are seen in society. For example, many movies discussed the importance of consent spotting the light on rape and sexual harassment. Maybe these movies were predicting the future of women!
We are giving you an insight on 5 of these old Egyptian movies:
El Talata Yuhebbunaha 1966
People usually misjudge the meaning of consent and freedom. “El Talata Yuhebbunaha'' translated to “The three men who love her” directed by Mahmoud Zu Alfakkar starring the beautiful Soad Hosny, Hassan Youssef, and Youssef Shaban. The movie revolves about a girl called Iman who believes she can be free of any social restrictions while treating all people spontaneously. She was loved by three men throughout the movie which showed how the different personalities reacted to her lifestyle. However, she got hit by the reality when her colleague tried to rape her claiming that the way she lives her life gave him the green flag to do such an action. This movie provoked the idea of consent and how society can judge someone just because they are living a different life. Living freely does not always mean yes.
Al Haram 1965
The fear from society that governs our lives. Movie Al Haram translated to “The Sin” directed by Henry Barakat starring Faten Hamama and Zaki Rostom was based on a novel that carries the same name written by Youssef Idris. The movie was nominated for the Prix International award at the 1965 Cannes Movie Festival. The movie revolves around Azizah a poor peasant who works under the oppression of society but her life turns upside down when she gets raped by a guard while working and happens to get pregnant. However, she chose to keep this secret from society and her ill husband. The movie strongly portrayed what women suffer from because of fear of society and the judges they can get although she is the one who got raped and lives under persecution. The movie was met with praise from several movie critics. The newspaper Le Monde wrote: "we have been attracted to this movie due to the true picture that reflects the suffering of this village. The picture is not about a problem for one individual, it’s about the reflection of everything surrounding her, from people to culture.
Bab Al Hadid 1958
No means no is the message the movie delivered. The movie Bab Al Hadid translated into “Cairo Station” was directed by Youssef Chahine starring the stars Hend Rustom and Farid Shawky. The story of the movie portrays the newspaper salesman at the train station called Qinawi where he develops an obsession over a woman “Hanuma” who sells drinks at the same station. This unhealthy obsession was not only portrayed as a “love” premonition but also a sexual obsession. The main highlight in the movie was his reaction after she refused his love where he plans to kill her just for saying no. The movie showed the sexual repression and social oppression in the great art board the viewers saw through Bab Al Hadid.
Ana w Banaty 1961
We all go through different stages with different struggles especially as women in an oppressed society. Ana w Banaty translated into “Me and my daughters' ' directed by Hussein Helmy and starring many stars such as Salah Zo Alfakkar, Nahed Sherif, Zaki Rustom, Amal Farid, and others. The movie revolves around a widower man with his four daughters where he always puts restrictions over them to protect them from the cruel life but when he gets sick and cannot work anymore; they get forced to go out and work while facing the society they never dealt with. The movie shows the struggles every daughter got to experience that one of them got raped when she got manipulated by a man. The movie delivered the importance of raising girls to be powerful and that putting restrictions will not make anything but them being marginalized because society will not be the pink place for them after all.
Haza Ganahu Abi 1945
Fate is dangerous because it is unknown. Haza Ganahu Abi translated into “This Was My Father’s Crime” directed by Henry Barakat starring Zaki Rustom, Zozo Nabil, and Sabah. The story tells about the lawyer Zaki Rustom when he get involved with a girl and rape her. When she finds out she’s pregnant she begs him to marry her but he refuses. After giving birth to Samiha “Sabah” she dies. The little girl grows up to work in a factory and falls in love with a rich guy called Samer. After manipulating her under the name of love he assaults her and escapes to Lebanon. However, she decides to not remain silent and raise the case to court, where surprisingly her father stands against her to defend Samir not knowing it is his daughter. When he finds out he steps out from the case then confesses his paternity to her and stands in court again to defend Samiha and obtain her right from Samir. Although Samiha knew the judges she would get from the society she decided to stand for what was wrong resulting in her completing her story.