Cairo Station

Cairo Station

Bab al-Hadid

DVD - 2009 | Arabic
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A story of unrequited love amongst the working poor, set in a Cairo railroad station.


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Feb 02, 2018

It is the first and only film I watched in Arabic language.
Its freshness is that you may hear this kind of stories, but it is addressed in a such different way.
It opens a window to see the Arabic world, their lives, their thinkings, and their standards. It is slow. It has many dark scenes, but brings us surprises and twistes.
The director is also the protagonist. It worths to watch.

Mar 07, 2013

"Cairo Station" (also known as "The Iron Gate") is a 1958 Egyptian drama film directed by Youssef Chahine.
A newsstand owner takes pity on Qinawi, who is a lame young man and played by the director himself.
The owner gives him a job selling newspapers in the Cairo train station.
The women there all shun him because of his mild handicap, though he has little trouble walking.

Qinawi becomes obsessed with Hannuma, a beautiful cold drink vendor.
But she is engaged to Abu Siri, a husky luggage porter who is trying to organize his co-workers into a union to better their lot.
Nonetheless, Qinawi proposes to her.
When she rejects his fantasy of a home and children in his village, Qinawi's obsession turns to madness.
Inspired by an unsolved murder in the news, he buys a knife and plots to kill Hannuma.
He seeks to lure her to a warehouse to pick it up, but Hannuma asks her girl friend to get it instead.

In the darkness, Qinawi does not notice the substitution.
He stabs the other woman repeatedly, then hides the body in a wooden crate supposedly holding Hannuma's trousseau.
Then he gets Abu Siri to put it aboard a train for Hannuma's impending wedding.
The woman is not dead, however.
She is found, and the station is alerted.
The men who stand to lose by Abu Siri's unionization at first try to pin the attempted murder on him, but the would-be victim identifies her real assailant.
Meanwhile, unaware of her near escape from death, Hannuma goes to get her bucket.
Qinawi chases her through the rail yard and catches her, holding a knife to her head to keep the crowd at bay.
The newsstand owner tells Qinawi that he will be allowed to marry Hannuma and coaxes him into putting on his wedding garment.
Qinawi complies, then realizes he has donned a straitjacket.
He struggles, but is taken away.
Although this film seems to have a socialistic taste, it fails to deliver the true meaning because the director confuses the social unjustice with a touch of madness.


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