The Adventures of Antar and Ablah (1948) - (Seraj Munir) Egyptian one-sheet
The theme of this film is idealistic, historic, nationalistic and patriotic; it lacks the wit and the careful and somewhat more pessimistic character studies and contemporary urban street scenes for which Naguib Mahfouz is best known in his later work. The story was written in 1945 and was Mahfouz’s first work for film. Its release was delayed until 1948. Directed and with screenplay by Salah Abouseif; story by Naguib Mahfouz and Abdel Aziz Salam, cinematography Mustafa Hassan; starring Seraj Munir and Kouka, with Zaki Toleimat, Negma Ibrahim, Khairia Kheiry, Abdel Hamid Zaki, Fakher Fakher, Stephan Rosti, Said Soliman and Farid Shawqi.
Plot summary: A magnificent celebration was held for the wedding of Antar and Ablah. The group was surprised on the wedding night when the governess of Antar and Ablah declared that they were siblings and that marriage was forbidden to them. Antar was overcome with sadness. He went into the desert where he encountered a band of Arabs under Roman attack. Antar observed in their ranks a brave warrior who was captured by the Romans after a fierce battle. The news reached his family and clan and they rushed to help him fight the Romans. They were joined by other Arab tribes. The Arabs defeated the Romans after a violent battle. The governess admitted she had fabricated the story that Antar and Ablah were siblings because of the demand by the prince who had hired her to separate the lovers because he wanted to marry Ablah. In the end the lovers returned to each other and married.