Cairo Station (1958)

Cairo Station (Bab el Hadid)bab-el-hadid-aka-cairo-station-1958
Directed by Youssef Chahine
Written by Mohamed Abu Youssef and Abdel Hai Adib
1958/Egypt
First viewing/YouTube
#349 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” ― Jack Kerouac

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.

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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.

cairostation4The 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

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