Fools' AlleyOriginal Title: Darb al Mahabil
Director: Tawfik Saleh
Egypt | Arabic
| Black & White
Naguib Mahfouz – Man of CinemaFools’ 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.