Cairo film retrospective celebrates Egypt’s Ihsan Abdel Quddous

Updated 26 October 2019

Cairo film retrospective celebrates Egypt’s Ihsan Abdel Quddous

CAIRO: A film retrospective celebrating the centennial of the late Egyptian writer Ihsan Abdel Quddous is currently running at Cairo’s art-house cinema Zawya. The retrospective opened Oct. 18 with a screening of 1972’s “Empire of M” and features 14 of the 49 films written by Quddous, or adapted from his literary works. It runs until Nov. 1.

According to the organizer’s notes, Quddous “played an integral role in shaping the Egyptian cinematic and literary memory. It proved a challenge to program a retrospective that would encompass and rightfully represent his wide body of work.”




Ihsan Abdel Quddous. (Courtesy: The Abdel Quddous family)

Highlights include “I Am Free” (1959), “Don’t Put Out the Sun” (1961), “The Black Sunglasses” (1963), “The Thin Thread”(1971), “The Dancer and the Politician” (1990), and “The Dancer and the Drummer” (1984). The latter will be screened in the presence of Egyptian actress Nabila Ebeid, who starred in several films written by Quddous.




A film poster for ‘The Empty Pillow.’ (Courtesy: The Abdel Quddous family)

The aim of the retrospective was to curate a program that “depicts the variety characterizing the adaptations of Abdel Quddous’ work, spanning different stages and time periods,” said Nawara Shoukry, head of cinema at Zawya. “We created a wish list, then approached distributors and copyright owners.”

Shoukry added that the Abdel Quddous family provided original film posters, on show at the cinema in parallel to the screenings.




A film poster for ‘The Black Sunglasses.’ (Courtesy: The Abdel Quddous family)

Abdel Quddous’ grandson, journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous, spoke at the event on opening night. “Unfortunately, he died when I was still in school, before I developed my own ideas and views in politics and in life, and before I became a journalist,” he said, praising his grandfather’s “prolific writings” and “the extent of their impact on Egyptian and Arab society.”   

“I always imagine how much I would have learnt from him and benefitted from talking to him and from his experience,” he said. “His journalism was always independent and against the regime. This freedom has had a direct influence on me.”


Photographers reveal Egypt’s hidden gems in show for a good cause

This is the group’s fourth charitable exhibition. (Supplied)
Updated 19 min 32 sec ago

Photographers reveal Egypt’s hidden gems in show for a good cause

  • Cairo Saturday Walks are a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city
  • The team is now exhibiting its work for charity at a gallery in the city

DUBAI: The Cairo Saturday Walks team, a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city, are now exhibiting their work for charity at a gallery in the city.

The exhibition brought together more than 50 local, international, professional and amateur photographers who are displaying their work in the Maadi district until Nov. 22.

The youngest participant is 13 and the oldest is 60. (Supplied)

All proceeds from the gallery will go to the restoration of a public facility in one of the underserved areas that the group has walked in and photographed during the past, according to the founder of Cairo Saturday Walks Karim El-Hayawan.

This is the group’s fourth charitable exhibition.

El-Hayawan described the practice as an “organic experience,” during which photographers discover the city’s hidden gems.

The group is displaying its work in the Maadi district until Nov. 22. (Supplied)

What started off as a one-man weekly walk is now a practice shared by 500 photographers.

El-Hayawan’s journey began after he took a basic introductory course in photography. “I did not have time during the week to work on my photography assignments. I used to go out every Saturday to take pictures and I used to post on my account. Then a lot of people started asking me ‘Where are these places? Where do you go? We want to join,’ although (these places) exist 10-15 minutes from anywhere in Cairo, but people did not notice them or had forgotten them,” he told Arab News.

The photographers walk around and discover the city’s hidden gems. (Supplied)

The group has a library of more than 15,000 pictures accessible on Instagram through #cairosaturdaywalks.

“We ask people who join us to share their pictures on that hashtag, with the intention of having a long-term documentation of Cairo,” El-Hayawan said. “Everyone takes pictures from his/her own perspective. It is extremely neutral; everyone takes pictures of whatever they want.”

In two to three years, people can go back to this documentation and see that Cairo looked this way at this time,” he said.

All proceeds from the gallery will go to the restoration of a public facility in one of the underserved areas that the group has walked in and photographed during the past. (Supplied)

A typical Saturday for the photographers starts off at a cafe. “We meet in the morning at a coffee shop and we take a little bus that we rent every Saturday and we just hit the road to somewhere random and we get lost. We call them to pick us up from wherever we reach at the end of the day. The idea is that it has no structure and I really aimed at that from the very beginning,” El-Hayawan said.

What started off as a one-man weekly walk is now a practice shared by 500 photographers. (Supplied)

The youngest participant is 13 and the oldest is 60, but El-Hayawan said that anyone can join the walk and share their pictures.

“I found out about Cairo Saturday Walks from Instagram. The spirit of people I walk with is just amazing. Also, the fact that I am Egyptian yet I still get amazed by Cairo’s streets is what pushes me to explore more every week,” Yara Wael, a 17-year-old photographer, told Arab News.