Cairo film retrospective celebrates Egypt’s Ihsan Abdel Quddous

Cairo film retrospective celebrates Egypt’s Ihsan Abdel Quddous
Updated 26 October 2019

Cairo film retrospective celebrates Egypt’s Ihsan Abdel Quddous

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.”

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
Updated 17 January 2021

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site

Egypt announces ‘major discoveries’ at Saqqara archaeological site
  • Egyptian archaeologist says discoveries will rewrite history of region

CAIRO: An Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara area near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt has discovered dozens of archeological finds, including a Pharaonic funerary temple.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the discoveries —  made by the joint mission between the council and the Zahi Hawass Center of Egyptology — include wooden wells and coffins from the New Kingdom, dating back to 3000 B.C.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the council, said that the discoveries are located at the Saqqara necropolis, near the pyramid where King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, who ruled Egypt between 2323 and 2291 B.C., is buried.

Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and head of the mission, said that these discoveries will rewrite the history of the region, especially during the 18th and 19th Dynasties of the New Kingdom, during which time King Teti was worshiped.

Hawass said that the mission found the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, wife of King Teti, part of which was uncovered in the years prior to the mission, as well as three mud-brick warehouses on the southeastern side, used to store offerings and tools that were involved in a revival of the queen’s creed.

The mission also discovered 52 wells, ranging in depths between 10 to 12 meters and containing more than 50 wooden coffins from the New Kingdom era. This is the first time that coffins dating back to 3000 B.C. have been found in the Saqqara area.

The surfaces of the coffins depict various scenes involving the gods who were worshipped during this period, in addition to texts from the Book of the Dead that help the deceased pass on to the other world.

Inside the wells, the mission found numerous artifacts, such as statues of the deity Ptah, as well as a four-meter-long papyrus, representing chapter 17 from the Book of the Dead, with the name of its owner recorded on it. The same name was found on four statues.

Other finds included a set of wooden masks; games for the deceased to play in the other world, one of which is similar to chess; and statues and a shrine of Anubis, the god of death.

The mission also discovered a bronze ax, indicating that its owner was one of the leaders of the army in the New Kingdom era, and paintings inscribed with scenes of the deceased and his wife and hieroglyphic writings.

A large amount of pottery dating back to the New Kingdom was found, including pottery establishing trade relations between Egypt and Crete, as well as Syria and Palestine.

Hawass explained that this discovery confirms that the Saqqara antiquities area was not used for burial during the Late Period only, but also in the New Kingdom.

The mission studied the mummy of a woman who was found to be suffering from a disease known as Mediterranean fever or swine fever, which comes from direct contact with an animal and leads to a liver abscess.

Hawass asserted that the archeological discovery is one of the most significant ones of this year and will make Saqqara an important tourist and cultural destination. It will rewrite the history of Saqqara in the era of the New Kingdom and will confirm the importance of the worship of King Teti during the 19th Dynasty.