Cairo Station (Bab el Hadid)
Directed by Youssef Chahine
Written by Mohamed Abu Youssef and Abdel Hai Adib
#349 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
I didn’t know what to expect but it was not a psycho killer plopped down into the middle of a comedy.
Qinawi is a poor cripple. A kiosk owner took pity on him and hired him to hawk newspapers. Qinawi’s infirmity has given an him a foot fetish and an obsession with beautiful girls. Lately his obsession has fixated on Hanuma, a saucy girl who illegally peddles soft drinks. She is engaged to a union organizer.
Hanuma rebuffs all of Qinawi’s many advances and marriage proposals. Finally, he becomes unglued and hatches a plan to prevent anyone else from having her.
The first thing that struck me about this movie was its very odd tone. It reminded me a lot of a Bollywood film with no singing and much more undress on the part of its ladies. I was getting ready for an adventure/comedy but after a lot of lighthearted teasing and shenanigans, things get very, very dark. I was not surprised to learn that this was banned in its native Egypt for twelve years. I can’t say I was crazy about the film but I won’t forget it any time soon.
Fan (?) Trailer