Palace WalkOriginal Title: Bayn al Qasrayn
Director: Hassan El Imam
Egypt | Arabic
| Black & White
Naguib Mahfouz – Man of CinemaPalace Walk
is the first novel of Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo trilogy, his tribute to his beloved home city. It is a literary work that stands apart for its vivid depiction of life in Cairo during a very sensitive phase in its modern history.
A few years after its publication, director Hassan El Imam adapted the book to the silver screen. Over the course of 135 minutes, Imam benefits from the efficiency of actor Yehia Chahine playing the role of Ahmed Abdul Jawad, a despot at home who rules his children with an iron fist, but whose double standard sees him transform from the extremely conservative man he appears to be at home to behaving in a completely different manner in the outside world. This duplicity allows us to see the varying degrees to which Ahmed affects the lives of those around him. An additional layer can be read here, in which the protagonist and his family embody the effects of the dramatic changes witnessed by Cairo at the beginning of the 20th century.
Mahfouz’s trilogy as a whole expands on this exploration when it tackles other social issues –such as the role of women –vis-à-vis emerging contemporary values that reflect the socio-political trends of the time.