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Fools' Alley

Fools' Alley

Original Title: Darb al Mahabil
Director: Tawfik Saleh
Egypt | Arabic
1955 | 95min. | Black & White
Subtitles: English
Format: 35mm
12+
Naguib Mahfouz – Man of Cinema
Fools’ Alley, the first film by famed director Tawfik Saleh, is considered one of the most important Egyptian films of the ’50s. Its success is as much due to the signature style of the prominent writers of its story and dialogue (Naguib Mahfouz and Abdel Hamid Jawdat Al Sahar, respectively) as it is to the introduction of a new cinematic impulse, one that differed from the established norm of Egyptian cinema at the time of its release in 1955.

The film takes place over the course of approximately 48 hours in a space that is dear to Mahfouz: the archetypal Egyptian neighborhood. The story’s departure point is the love story between Khadija, the daughter of Hajj ‘Azzouz, and Taha, an employee of Hajj, who is working to put aside enough money so he and Khadija can be married. When the required funds are suddenly made available as the result of a winning lottery ticket, there is an unexpected turn of events. The life of the entire neighborhood is turned upside-down –and the true colors of its inhabitants are revealed. The hatred behind loving facades is made apparent, and the gulfs that separate neighbors become blatantly obvious –and this makes it impossible to turn back from the ugliness of the truth.

–Mostafa Messnaoui

Director,  Tawfik Saleh

Director,  Tawfik Saleh

Tawfik Saleh was born in Alexandria in 1926. He studied English literature and was trained in cinema in Paris. Saleh moved to Iraq in 1973 to teach cinema and returned to Egypt in the mid-‘80s to teach at the Higher Film Institute. From the 1950s to the 1980s, he directed seven short films and seven feature films, including Conflict of Heroes (1962), Mister Bulti (1967), The Rebels (1968), Diary of a Country Prosecutor (1968), The Dupes (1973) and The Long Days (1980).

Cast and Crew

Director
Tawfik Saleh
Cast
Berlanty Abdel Hamid, Shukry Sarhan, Hassan El Baroudi, Abdel Ghani Qamar, Nadia El Sabi, Tewfik El Dekn, Abdel Aziz Ahmed, Saad Ardash
Production Company
Al Nagah Film
Music
George Kazazyan
Screenwriter
Tawfik Saleh, Naguib Mahfouz
Editor
Said El Sheikh, Hussein Afifi
Cinematographer
Abdel Aziz Fahmy
Art Director
Maher Abdel Nour
Sound
Magdy Kamel
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