Thursday, November 8, 2012

Auliban the Seller of Jokes بیاع الخواتم (Youssef Chahine) - (1965) Italian Locandina

Auliban the Seller of Jokes [baya' al-khawatim] (1965) - (Fairuz)

This is an extremely rare poster for the 1965 Youssef Chahine film Auliban the seller of Jokes [baya' al-khawatim], literally "The Seller of Rings." I think the poster was made in Italy because of its exceptionally high quality and the fact that it is on the same paper stock normally used for the Italian locandina. It is also interesting because it belongs to a subgenre of films made by Egyptian directors and set in Lebanon, and it features the Lebanese diva Fairuz when when she was in her prime.

Plot summary: The story is set in the year 1914 in a peaceful mountain village in Lebanon. The mayor, seeing that the population is bored, invents a fictitious character named Rajeh; he tells stories to villagers about the exploits of this person, who is a robber and a murderer. One day the mayor (Nasri Shamseddine) warns the villagers that Rajeh is heading to the village itself and tells them they must beware. Two clever men realize the mayor has been lying and decide to impersonate the fictitious Rajeh, steal money and assault the mayor in the dark. Eventually an old man who is really named Rajeh arrives in the village, amid public fears. Then it became obvious that Rajeh was merely a seller of rings for weddings who had wanted to marry his son to the mayor's daughter Homa (Fairuz). The two miscreants willingly go to jail for exploiting the mayor's prank.

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