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The Hunger

The Hunger

Original Title: Al Go'a
Director: Ali Badrakhan
Egypt | Arabic
1986 | 120min. | Colour
Subtitles: English, French
Format: 35mm
15+
Naguib Mahfouz – Man of Cinema
A number of Mahfouz’s themes come together in The Hunger, a film derived from episodes in his 1977 novel The Harafish. His beloved residents of old Cairo’s back alleys are here, their passions and theatrical outbursts providing a level of humor that softens but can’t completely disguise the hardship of lives ground down by inescapable poverty. Within this milieu, Mahfouz introduces Farag, a weak-willed man who comes to encapsulate the corrupting nature of power. It’s a concept the novelist treated in his early works set in pharaonic times, using the fabled past as a handy cover for sharp critiques of contemporary dictatorships. The same can be said for The Hunger, which begins in 1887 but has unmistakable parallels to Egypt under more modern strongmen.

Local merchants are forced to pay protection money until Farag, played with typical bravado by Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, accidentally kills one of the gangsters. The entire quarter now looks up to him as “the Champ,” and the adulation goes to his head; he turns profiteer during a famine and takes a second wife (Yousra) from a higher class. In contrast is his gentle brother Gaber (Abdel Aziz Makhyoun), a true man of the people who comes to the rescue of an abandoned woman (Souad Hosny). Power leads to injustice, and, as is so often the case in Mahfouz’s deeply human works, tyranny is the one true perversion.

–Jay Weissberg

Contains: Adult themes

Director,  Ali Badrakhan

Director,  Ali Badrakhan

Ali Badrakhan was born in Cairo in 1946, the son of the Egyptian director Ahmed Badrakhan. Ali’s films include The Karnak Café (1975) Chafika and Metwalli (1977), People at the Top (1981), The Shepherd and the Women (1991), The Third Man (1994), Nazwa (1996) and The Desire (2002).

Cast and Crew

Director
Ali Badrakhan
Cast
Souad Hosny, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Yousra, Abdel Aziz Makhyoun, Sanaa Younis, Thoraya Helmy, Mohamed Tarabiq, Samiha Tawfiq
Production Company
Egypt Vedio Caset
Music
George Kazazyan
Executive Producer
Abdel Aziz Ali
Screenwriter
Ali Badrakhan, Mostafa Moharramand Tariq Almirghani
Editor
Adil Munir
Cinematographer
Mahmoud Abdel Sami
Art Director
Salah Mari
Sound
Magdy Kamel
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