08 19 Oct '24
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Jocelyne Saab

Madinat Al-Mawta (Egypt, City of the Dead)

35' - 1977 - Short - Dialogue: Arabic, French
Director: Jocelyne Saab
A portrait of the City of the Dead, an inhabited cemetery just outside of Cairo and on the fringes of the city’s public dumping ground, like a living reproach and a bad conscience.

A portrait of the City of the Dead, an inhabited cemetery just outside of Cairo and on the fringes of the city’s public dumping ground, like a living reproach and a bad conscience. Starting from the City of the Dead, the film shows the populous neighborhoods of Cairo in the grip of hypertrophy and misery, every day more threatened by paralysis.

Print courtesy of Cinémathèque Française

“I still ask myself how I was able to combine surrealism
and social reality in this film. The great poet Ahmed Fouad Negm was then in prison, because the regime was displeased with his contestatory texts, and at the time one was imprisoned for no apparent reason. So, I followed his companion Azzam below the widows of the prison to pick up the poems Negm would throw through the bars of his cell. Cheikh Imam sang his poems to revolutionary students who gathered in the City of the Dead. It was exhilarating. We still believed we could change the world.”

Image gallery

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Credits

Director

Jocelyne Saab

More information

Dialogue

Arabic, French

Countries of production

Lebanon, France

Year

1977

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