•The cinema of Egypt refers to the flourishing Egyptian
Arabic-language film industry based in Cairo, the capital of
•Since 1976, Cairo has held the annual Cairo International
Film Festival, which has been accredited by the International
Federation of Film Producers Associations.
•Of the more than 4,000 short and feature-length films made
in Arabic-speaking countries since 1908, more than three-
quarters were Egyptian.
While a limited number of silent films were made in
Egypt from 1896 (with 1927's Layla notable as the first
full-length feature), Cairo's film industry became a
regional force with the coming of sound.
Between 1930 and 1936, various small studios produced
at least 44 feature films.
In 1917, the director Mohamed Karim established a
production company in Alexandria.
The company produced two films: Dead Flowers and
Honor the Bedouin, which were shown in the city of
Alexandria in early 1918.
The 1940s, 1950s and the 1960s are generally
considered the golden age of Egyptian cinema.
As in the West, films responded to the popular
imagination, with most falling into predictable genres
and many actors making careers out of playing
strongly typed parts.
In 1940, the entrepreneur and translator Anis Ebeid
established "Anis Ebeid Films", as the first subtitling
company in Egypt and the Middle East, bringing
hundreds of American and World movies to Egypt.
Later he entered the movie distribution business too.
Most of the 44 Egyptian films featuring in the best 100
Arab films of all time were produced during that period.
Notable titles included "The Night of Counting the years",
"Cairo Station" and "The postman“
By the 1970s, Egyptian films struck a balance between
politics and entertainment. Films such as 1972's Khalli
Balak min Zouzou (Watch out for Zouzou), starring "the
Cinderella of Arab cinema", Suad Husni, sought to balance
politics and audience appeal.
Zouzou integrated music, dance, and contemporary
fashions into a story that balanced campus ferment with
The late 1970s and 1980s saw the Egyptian film industry in
decline, with the rise of what came to be called "contractor
Actor Khaled El Sawy has described these as films "where
there is no story, no acting and no production quality of
any kind... basic formula movies that aimed at making a
Throughout most of 1980, the West German filmmaker
Teod Richter worked in Cairo filming what would become
his last film, the 248 minute silent feature "Memory
Through Tales Told“.
Since the 1990s, Egypt's cinema has gone in separate directions.
Popular films, often broad comedies such as What A Lie!, and the
extremely profitable works of comedian Mohamed Saad, battle to
hold audiences either drawn to Western films or, increasingly, wary
of the perceived immorality of film.
A few productions, such as 2003's Sahar el Layali (Sleepless Nights),
intertwined stories of four bourgeois couples and 2006's Imarat
Yacoubian (The Yacoubian Building) bridge this divide through their
combination of high artistic quality and popular appeal.
In 2006, the film Awkat Faragh (Free Times) was released. A social
commentary on the decline of Egyptian youth, the film was
produced on a low-budget and with the attendant low production
values. The film, however, became a success.
The year 2007, however, saw a considerable spike in the
number of Egyptian movies made.
In 1997, the number of Egyptian feature-length films
created was 16.
10 years later, that number had risen to 40. Box office
records have also risen significantly, as Egyptian movies
earned around $50 million while American movies, by
comparison, earned $10 million.
The quality of movies has also improved both in terms of
direction and plot.
The Night of Counting the Years
Directed by Shadi Abdel Salam
Produced by Roberto Rossellini
Written by Shadi Abdel Salam
•It is a 1969 Egyptian film directed by Shadi Abdel Salam.
•It was Salam's first feature film.
•The film was selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best
Foreign Language Film at the 43rd Academy Awards, but was
not accepted as a nominee.
•It is based on the true story of the Abd el-Rasuls, an Upper-
Egyptian clan that had been robbing a cache of mummies
discovered at tomb DB320 near the village of Kurna, and selling
the artefacts on the illicit antiquities black market.
Directed by Henry Barakat
Saad al-Din Wahbah
It is a classical 1965 Egyptian drama film directed by Henry
The film stars Faten Hamama, Zaki Rostom, and Abdallah
Gheith and is based on a novel by the same title by Yūsuf
The film was nominated for the Prix International award
at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival.
It was also chosen as one of the best Egyptian film
productions in the Egyptian Cinema centennial.
A survey by Al-Fonoon magazine in 1984 chose it as one of
the best ten films in the history of Egyptian cinema.
Azizah, a poor peasant, portrays worker oppression in this
somber social drama.
She gets savagely raped by a guard when she goes into the
fields to gather potatoes.
She does not reveal what had happened to her husband
who is suffering from an illness.
She conceals the pregnancy and throttles the baby after it is
She also dies soon thereafter.
The migrant workers rally around her memory as she
becomes a martyr to the cause of the struggling peasants.
Directed by Sherif Arafa
Written by Wahid Hamed
It is a popular 1992 Egyptian comedy film starring Adel
•The film has been described as a "classic Egyptian comedy
about government corruption, bumbling and the good hearted
nature of the sha'ab (people) of Egypt.“
•The film was a great success, and has even has been cited as
the most popular Egyptian film of all time.
•A 2007 poll of Egyptian critics taken by Al-Ahram newspaper
listed the film as No. 15 on the 15 best Egyptian films of all
Directed by Henry Barakat
Produced by Barakat Film
Taha Hussein (novel)
It is a classical 1959 Egyptian drama film directed by Henry
Barakat and based on a novel by the prominent writer Taha
In 1996, during the Egyptian Cinema centennial, this film
was selected one of the best 150 Egyptian film productions.
It received an award of recognition from the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was selected as the
Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the
32nd Academy Awards.
It was also entered into the 10th Berlin International Film