Karnak Cafe (1975) - (Soad Hosny) Egyptian one-sheet
This film by Aly Badrakhan is on Ahmad Al-Hadari's 2007 list of Egypt's 100 most important films. It is based on a story by Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz with screenplay and dialogue by Mamdouh El Leithy. The story is about political persecution under Nasser after the Egyptian defeat by the Israelis in 1967. It includes depictions of sexual abuse of a type that had never been attempted in Egyptian cinema. The poster was designed by Abdel Ghani and Hassan Mazhar Gasour. Plot Summary: The film begins with a radio news report of the Egyptian army's 6 October 1973 Suez crossing as Ismail al-Sheikh [Nour El-Sherif] sits despondent in the Karnak Cafe while everyone else is rejoicing. He goes to the hospital where Zeinab Diab [Soad Hosny] is trying to get admitted for surgery. There is a flashback to Ismail's days as a student in medical college with his classmates Hamada Helmy [Mohammed Tawfik] and Zeinab. In those days they were involved with student activities and debates about politics and ideology. At the same time Ismail was in a romantic relationship with Aranfala, [Shouweikar] the owner of the coffee shop. However one night they were arrested and jailed. They were imprisoned for a time, but after their release he courted Zeinab with the consent of her parents. Then conditions changed. There were demonstrations and the authorities began arresting young people. The intelligence service under the direction of Khaled Safwan [Kamal Al-Shennawi] began using savage torture methods looking for Muslim Brotherhood elements in the population; Zeinab was even raped. Zeinab and Ismail were conscripted for intelligence work and then wrote reports against their comrades. Zeinab started the May movement for the release of Ismail and everyone else who was in detention. Ismail returned to his commitment, put his past behind him and returned to Zeinab.
Cast and crew: Soad Hosny, Kamal Al-Shennawi, Nour El-Sherif, Farid Shawqi, Aly Badrakhan, Naguib Mahfouz, Younes Shalaby, Shouweikar, Mohamed Sobhi, Taheya Cariocca, Imad Hamdi, Salah Zulfikar, Fayez Halawa, Mohsen Nasr, Mamdouh El Leithy, Mohammed Tawfik, Naima Al Soghayar, Aly El Cherif, Wahid Seif, Osama Abbas, Adly Kasseb