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Naguib Al Rihani,
After four years in prison, the young thief Said Mahran come out of jail & seek revenge against those who betrayed him,his beloved wife and his trusted henchman, who conspired to turn him into the police,they are now married to each other and are keeping his six-year-old daughter from him and his mentor Rauf Ilwan.The original title in Arabic mean "the thief & the dogs" this movie was Adapted from a famous novella by Naguib Mahfouz how also co-wrote the film screenplay.Mahfouz was inspired by the life of the famous Egyptian thief Mahmoud Amin Soliman. Written by
"Chased by the Dogs", is based on the book by Nobel Prize laureate novelist Naguib Mahfouz. As usual, he tackles a remarkable social story based on true events. On its release, this 1962 Egyptian classic received many awards including best director for Kamal El Sheikh, best actor for Shokry Sarhan and represented Egypt in the Berlinale the same year.
The film tells the story of Said (Shokry Sarhan), forced to become a thief due to difficult financial circumstances. He is encouraged by a poor student in the university dorms he works for. The student, Raouf Elwan (Kamal el Shenawi) protects Said after he first steals a watch. Instead of encouraging him to change his ways, he convinces Said that stealing from the rich to cover basic needs is justifiable. Said then becomes the leader of a gang stealing from the more affluent because, as he says: "I had one goal, to live with my share that the rich usurped. I lighten their load of money and of sins".
Unfortunately, his right hand man Eleish, conspires against him with Said's wife. They set him up during a robbery and he gets sentenced to five years in prison. Meanwhile, his wife asks for divorce and replaces him with Eleish . Said has now lost everything, including his daughter.
The only person asking about him is Noor (Shadia), a girl of the night who works at a local bar. She shows great compassion and love to Said, and will end up being one of the very few people he can rely upon. Said's good behavior in prison grants him an early release. He is now burning with revenge. He sees the whole world as a potential enemy and trusts no one. Two influences lead Said to act the way he does, eventually leading to his destruction.
The first one is the young intellectual Raouf Elwan who initially turned him against Egypt's upper classes. Years later, he has now become a member of the elite, working as a leading journalist at a famous newspaper. The second influence is being cheated on by both his best friend and his wife. Both refuse to give him his financial rights, and want to settle everything in court, including access to his own daughter.
Said's helplessness is met with care by Noor. She accepts risking her own life by hiding Said in her home. They are two loners who have no-one but each other, and both face society's disdain.
"Chased by the Dogs" portrays a contrast of lifestyles, from opulence to extremely poor. The very fact that the film is set in the 1960s, at the peak of Nasserism, shows the concern of the intellectuals, artists and politicians of this time towards the less privileged. The lead character is a thief and murderer, but as the story develops we are inclined to feel sympathy, even excuse his actions.
It's a charming film that leaves viewers with room for reflection. Shadia, who is better known for playing more innocent roles, steps out of stereotype here. She plays a more realistic character, a daring woman who is also victim to the harsh conditions of life.
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