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The Nightingale’s prayer دعاء الكروان

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This film is one of the most famous ones in the Egyptian cinema, and by watching it, even if you don’t understand the language and recognize the actors, you will still be able to understand how it got so famous.

The plot deals with an issue that maybe quite unfamiliar to the western viewer, so allow me a few minutes to explain it.

In Egypt exists this belief that if a woman slept with a man who was not her husband, then she has brought dishonor upon herself and her family, this belief stems from religious believes. Even though religiously speaking the society should condemn both parties in this relationship, it happened that the woman is the only one who gets the blame, while the man mostly gets to walk away scot-free.

The movie actually proposes what was considered to be – back then- a very controversial view, that the man should be at least as guilty as the woman in this sort of a situation, and sometimes, like the case portrayed in this film, she is even a victim.

For movie’s synopsis: please click here

The movie is filled with beautiful scenes thanks to the director’s Henry Barakat’s genius. For example:

1

In the beginning of the movie you’re faced with this scene where Amna is sitting in a dark corner surrounded by dark thoughts, about how to avenge her sister, somehow the outside surroundings reflect her mood and thought. Her position in the room is exactly her position in the world, she is cornered and there isn’t much she can do about it.

As a viewer you don’t get to see the engineer right away, you only get to hear his voice, and know what an evil man he is, by the narration of Amna, so you try to make a mental picture of this heartless predator whom doesn’t care if his victims live or die as long as he gets what he wants. You may imagine a cruel and ugly human being, a monster, instead you are faced later with the image of the character played by Ahmed Mazhar.

2

You find that he is handsome, elegant, intelligent, comes from a respectful family. He can be considered – by those who don’t know what he does in his private life – a gentleman. Which is a very smart choice, even by today’s standards, for as we all know the outside doesn’t always reflect the inside.

3

The role of Amna is played by the beautiful Faten Hamama, till this day I can’t imagine any other actress that can do a better performance than the one she portrayed.

Her feature reflects a certain innocence, which fits perfectly for the beginning of the story when Amna didn’t know a lot about how cruel human can be. Her eyes carry a glimpse of sadness, which is appropriate for the sort of fate she meets.

The character is very well written, as you get to see her develop from innocent, to vengeful, to forgiving.

I would have loved to share more about the movie, and maybe I will do that some other time, meanwhile I hope you don’t miss the chance to see this movie, and if you have seen it, please share what you think about it.

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