The film which put Egyptian writer/director Chahine on the international map plays like a great overlooked masterpiece of Italian neo-realism. In Cairo's busy rail terminus, passions are simmering: hard-working porter Abou Serib (Chawqi) aims to form a union to combat the corruption which divides and rules his fellow workers; his fiancée Hanouma (Rostom) uses her flirtatious charm to sell lemonade to train passengers, much to the chagrin of the official drinks concession; news vendor Kenaoui (Chahine) has designs on her too, but he's a simple-minded soul with little choice but to suffer her teasing and his colleagues' taunts. Fascinated by girlie images in magazines, he's soon yearning for revenge on a world that has excluded him. At first glance, the upfront sexuality startles in a film from an Arab country in 1958, but the bigger picture captures a society experiencing rapid change. Chahine fans out from a sweaty, realist base towards social observation, florid melodrama and dark suspense. It's a strikingly controlled, confident, bitingly effective display, which leaves you wondering where this film has been all our lives.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Mohamed Abou Youssef, Abdel Hay Adib|
Hassan El Baroudi
Abdel Aziz Khalil