The six most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema

The six most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema
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“Doa al-Karawan” is an adaptation of acclaimed writer Taha Hussein’s 1934 novel.
The six most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema
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A still from "Al-Ard."
The six most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema
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A still from the movie "Al-Mummia."
The six most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema
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A scene from the comedy "Imm El-Arousa."
Updated 08 April 2018

The six most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema

The six most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema
  • Celebrate the heyday of Arab cinema with these timeless classics
  • From tragedies to comedies, these films are iconic and loved across the Arab world

DUBAI: Our pick of the most influential films from the Golden Age of Arab cinema will help you decide what classic movie you are going to watch this week. So grab your popcorn, turn off your phone and take your pick.
“Doa Al-Karawan”
(The Nightingale’s Prayer)
The prolific Henry Barakat directs this adaptation of acclaimed writer Taha Hussein’s 1934 novel. The compelling, claustrophobic tale follows illiterate housekeeper Amna (Faten Hamama) as she tries to get revenge on ‘The Engineer’ (Ahmad Mazhar) who has seduced her sister and ruined her reputation.
“Al-Ard”
(The Land)
This 1969 adaptation of Abdel Rahman Al-Sharqawi’s novel, directed by Youseff Chahin, follows the struggle of a rural village in the 1930s against local authorities who are set to reduce its already meager water supply. A hard-hitting early examination of people-power that still resonates today.
“Nahr El-Hub”
(The River of Love)
Ezzel Dine Zulficar’s 1961 adaptation of “Anna Karenina” features the ‘First Couple’ of Egyptian cinema — Omar Sharif and Faten Hamama — in their last film together before their divorce. Hamama plays country girl Nawal, who is married off to a wealthy aristocrat but falls for army officer Khaled (Sharif). The couple’s real-life chemistry gives the movie an extra charge.
“Imm El-Arousa”
(Mother of the Bride)
Atef Salem’s 1964 comedy classic stars legendary Egyptian actors Tahiya Karioka and Emad Hamdi as Zeinab and Hussein — hardworking parents struggling to raise seven kids while arranging their eldest daughter’s upcoming wedding. And finding inventive ways to raise the necessary funds.
“Al-Mummia”
(The Mummy)
Ranked among Egyptian cinema’s greatest films, Shadi Abdel Salam’s 1969 movie is loosely based on the true story of the Abd El-Rasuls, a clan of grave robbers and black-market traders. It’s a thoughtful reflection on Egyptian identity which — like many on this list — hints at the tensions between rural and urban life.
“Khally Ballak Min ZouZou”
(Watch Out For ZouZou)
Starring Egyptian cinema icons Soad Hosny, Hussein Fahmy and Taheya Cariocca, Hassan Al Imam’s 1972 film — a perennial favorite in Egyptian households — tells the story of a college professor who falls in lust with a student. His fiancée decides to expose said student’s “shameful secret” — she was a dancer! — in an attempt to ruin her. Al Imam explored the friction between Egypt’s modernist urges and its conservative traditions.


Egypt unearths 250 tombs dating back 4,200 years

Egypt unearths 250 tombs dating back 4,200 years
Updated 12 May 2021

Egypt unearths 250 tombs dating back 4,200 years

Egypt unearths 250 tombs dating back 4,200 years
  • Tombs ranged in age from the end of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Ptolemaic period
  • Tombs contained small alabaster vessels, animal and human bones, as well as limestone remnants thought to be funerary plates

CAIRO: Around 250 tombs dating back around 4,200 years have been unearthed by archaeologists in Egypt.

The country’s archaeological mission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities made the finds in the southern province of Sohag.

The graves, discovered in Sohag’s Al-Hamidiyah cemetery, included “some with a well or several burial wells and other cemeteries with a sloping corridor that ends with a burial room,” the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry said in a statement.

Officials added that the tombs ranged in age from the end of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Ptolemaic period.

The Old Kingdom lasted for around 500 years until 2200 B.C., while Egypt’s Ptolemaic dynasty ruled for 300 years to about the time of Cleopatra’s death in 30 B.C., according to AFP.

Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said one tomb dating back to the Old Kingdom had faint remains of hieroglyphic inscriptions and a chamber for sacrifices.

He noted that the graves were of multiple styles and were discovered at several levels of the mountain, adding that more were likely to be uncovered.

Mohammed Abdel-Badie, head of the Central Department of Upper Egypt Antiquities, said pottery and votive objects had also been found, dedicated to ancient Egyptian deities.

He said some of the pots had been used in daily life and others within the funerary foundation as miniature symbolic deposits, which were small spherical vessels with traces of yellowish paint on the outside.

Small alabaster vessels, animal and human bones, as well as limestone remnants thought to be funerary plates dating back to the Sixth Dynasty, were also discovered, he added.

As part of the project, more than 300 tombs were recorded and documented in the area, which stretches from Nag Al-Sheikh in the south to Al-Khazendarah in the north.

Egypt has announced several major new archaeological discoveries in recent months, in the hope of helping to revive a vital tourism sector battered by a 2011 uprising, ongoing political unrest, jihadist attacks, and the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Pop stars, key workers gather for BRIT Awards in London live music return

Pop stars, key workers gather for BRIT Awards in London live music return
Dua Lipa performs at the 2021 BRIT Awards. AFP
Updated 12 May 2021

Pop stars, key workers gather for BRIT Awards in London live music return

Pop stars, key workers gather for BRIT Awards in London live music return

LONDON: Some 4,000 people watched singers Dua Lipa and Arlo Parks triumph as well as perform at the BRIT Awards this week, in the first major indoor music event with a live audience held in London in over a year.

Britain’s pop music honors, for which the audience did not have to wear masks or socially distance, took place at the O2 arena on the River Thames as the country emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.

The ceremony, during which Billie Eilish and The Weeknd were also winners, is part of the British government’s Events Research Programme aimed at establishing whether big events can be held in closed environments without social distancing.

Dua Lipa performs at the 2021 BRIT Awards. AFP

The audience, of which 2,500 were key workers with guests, were sat in rows, looking down on two stages - one for presenters and another for performers. Nominees sat at distanced tables.

“This evening we look forward to a brighter future,” host Jack Whitehall said. “We have an audience ... we have pop stars, we are back.”

Ticket holders had to show proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the venue, which has a capacity of around 20,000. They will also need to take a test afterwards and provide contact details as part of the UK’s COVID test and trace system.

“It feels surreal because it’s been so long,” Zunaira Faiz, who works at a north London hospital, said upon arriving at the O2. “It almost feels like I'm experiencing something nostalgic because we haven’t been able to do this for so long.”

Olivia Rodrigo performs at the 2021 BRIT Awards. AFP

Like elsewhere, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down music events with live audiences in Britain. Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s phased roadmap out of lockdown, entertainment venues can re-open their doors next week.

Lipa, who won two awards - female solo artist and album for “Future Nostalgia,” said she was dedicating her performance to key workers.

“I feel very grateful to be sharing this evening with them,” she told Reuters.

While some performances were live, including those of Lipa, breakthrough artist winner Parks and Olivia Rodrigo, others were pre-recorded.

Little Mix became the first female band to win British group. AFP

Wanting to embrace the community spirit and kindness seen during COVID-19 lockdown, winners were given two awards and encouraged to share one.

American songstress Taylor Swift became the first female artist to be honoured with the Global Icon award. David Bowie, Elton John and Robbie Williams were past recipients.

“I’m really proud to be a part of this musical community especially in a year when we all needed music so much,” Swift, who traveled to London for the awards, said, also paying tribute to frontline workers.

Harry Styles won British single for “Watermelon Sugar,” while Little Mix became the first female band to win British group. 


Review: Kate Winslet exudes quiet brilliance in sleuthing series ‘Mare of Easttown’

Kate Winslet shines in this small town murder mystery. (Supplied)
Kate Winslet shines in this small town murder mystery. (Supplied)
Updated 11 May 2021

Review: Kate Winslet exudes quiet brilliance in sleuthing series ‘Mare of Easttown’

Kate Winslet shines in this small town murder mystery. (Supplied)

CHENNAI: British actress Kate Winslet has dabbled in period pieces, rom-coms, dramas and everything in between, but in her latest outing in “Mare of Easttown,” set to stream on OSN in the region, she absolutely dazzles as a detective in a small, conservative town in Pennsylvania.

In bleak, deprived small-town America, everybody knows everybody and working as a cop is not easy for Winslet’s character Mare Sheehan.

Mare, who rarely smiles but is not grumpy or snappy, carries her own demons. She is tired and weighed down by grief over a family tragedy. Add to the mix a wayward ex-husband (played by David Denman) and a cagey daughter (Angourie Rice), and it seems her personal life is enough to fill a drama series on its own.

But this is a murder mystery, and soon our protagonist is faced with the unsolved case of a 19-year-old missing girl and more. The girl had been gone for a year, and her mother is a friend of Mare’s, which makes it difficult and personal for the detective. And it seems like a hard bolt from the blue when Erin (Cailee Spaeny), a single teenage mother, is found dead in the woods one night after townsfolk had gathered for a party.

The people of Easttown, used to leading uneventful lives, are not pleased with the ramped up police presence — including the intrusion of a county detective, Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) who is brought in to assist Mare — and it is into this tense atmosphere that Brad Ingelsby, who created and wrote the series, tweaks the formula to add a romantic angle.

Mare meets writer and guest lecturer Richard Ryan (an intelligent, witty and charming Guy Pearce), who is visiting the town.

The writer turns “Mare of Easttown” from what could have been a dull and boring story into something that leaves us thirsting for more at the end of each twisting episode, where every detail matters.

It is a fantastic study in both police work and, more interestingly, the effect a brutal crime has on a community. The series is ably led by director Craig Zobel, who builds a convincing narrative style.

Of course, his eyes are on the star of the series, and it is remarkable to see Winslet so engaging.


Arab artist Nourie Flayan collaborates with luxury label Carolina Herrera on Eid illustrations

Arab artist Nourie Flayan collaborates with luxury label Carolina Herrera on Eid illustrations
Updated 10 May 2021

Arab artist Nourie Flayan collaborates with luxury label Carolina Herrera on Eid illustrations

Arab artist Nourie Flayan collaborates with luxury label Carolina Herrera on Eid illustrations

DUBAI: Lebanese artist Nourie Flayan is collaborating with US luxury fashion house Carolina Herrera on a set of Eid Al-Fitr illustrations. 

In celebration of the holiday, the brand is releasing a series of illustrations aiming to bring “together friends and families after Ramadan and highlight the strong family values that are at the core of the Carolina Herrera brand heritage,” according to a released statement. 

The artist also used the jasmine flower, which is a tribute to the iconic flower Venezuelan-American designer Carolina Herrera seeks inspiration from. (Supplied)

The illustrations that Flayan created for Carolina Herrera evoke a modern festive atmosphere, which fits both Ramadan and Eid, featuring traditional prints such as the Mashrabiya, an architectural element that is a characteristic of traditional architecture in the Islamic world. 

The artist also used the jasmine flower, which is a tribute to the iconic flower Venezuelan-American designer Carolina Herrera seeks inspiration from — the imperial jasmine.

Many of her illustrations feature multiple hands. (Supplied)

Flayhan is a well-known advocate of women’s rights.

She often draws colorful sketches of women in the region and many of her illustrations feature multiple hands or eyes.

She often draws colorful sketches of women in the region. (Supplied)

Flayhan studied textiles in university before delving into illustration. During her career she has collaborated with international brands such as Shopbop, Gucci, Loewe, Yoox and Selfridges. This is her first collaboration with Carolina Herrera.


Vin Diesel talks ‘Fast and Furious 9,’ director lauds Mideast fans 

Vin Diesel talks ‘Fast and Furious 9,’ director lauds Mideast fans 
Updated 10 May 2021

Vin Diesel talks ‘Fast and Furious 9,’ director lauds Mideast fans 

Vin Diesel talks ‘Fast and Furious 9,’ director lauds Mideast fans 

LOS ANGELES: Twenty years after the first film premiered, “Fast and Furious 9” is finally coming out in theaters — and fans of the high-octane franchise can expect the usual high-speed thrills, lead star Vin Diesel told Arab News.

The release of the newest installment of the film series was delayed five times, at first to avoid competing with other films and later due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we were filming in London in 2019, we had no idea (of) the year that was to come,” Diesel told Arab News. “We had no idea that we would be all isolated from one another. We had no idea how much we missed a movie like this that brings people together, that we can all look up on the screen and see a part of ourselves on the screen as a part of a global family.”

“Fast and Furious 9” sees criminal-turned-hero Dominic Toretto take a break from the fast lane as he cares for his young son. But action speeds back into his life with the return of his long-forgotten brother, a skilled assassin who is out for revenge.

“We’ve grown accustomed to accepting the fact that family and brotherhood is everything for Dom,” Diesel explained. “His mantra is ‘never turn your back on family’ and yet when he becomes a father, he has to take a closer look into his past, to a broken brotherhood.”

Wrestler John Cena joins the cast as the film’s chief antagonist, Jakob Toretto, while Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren will reprise their roles from the 2017 and 2019 films, respectively.  

They are joined by franchise mainstays Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang and Tyrese Gibson. 

The series is set to end after two more movies, but the producers are planning something that could be exciting for fans in the Middle East.

“All last week, I was working with (director) Justin Lin about ‘Fast 10’ and the Middle East, the return to the Middle East, came up in our discussions,” Diesel hinted.

Lin elaborated, saying: “The Middle East has some of the most loyal and amazing fans so that kind of started us talking about, in this final chapter if we’re looking for to reengage, where do we want to take the story? So, there’s a lot of talk and it was very organic and I’m very excited.”