Kinawi, a physically challenged peddler who makes his living selling newspapers in the central Cairo train station, is obsessed by Hannouma, an attractive young woman who sells drinks. ...
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Kinawi, a physically challenged peddler who makes his living selling newspapers in the central Cairo train station, is obsessed by Hannouma, an attractive young woman who sells drinks. While she treats Kinawi in a sympathetic way and jokes with him about a possible relationship, She is actually in love with Abu Sri', a strong and respected porter at the station who is struggling to unionize his fellow workers to combat their boss' exploitative and abusive treatment.Written by
Dark character-driven film with psychosexual undertones
I don't really agree with certain circles who claim Cairo Station "one of the greatest films ever made" but it's a neat little film. It has that very basic, almost primitive, shooting style and editing which in some ways reminds of me Greek romance melodramas from the same time yet the perverse content sets it worlds apart from that kind of populist cinema which I suspect was as popular with lower/middle-class audiences in Egypt as it was in Greece. I liked that Chahine makes the titular railway station a stage for contrast between the old and the new. Between fashionable swinging Egyptians and the traditional Muslim conservatives. Between a lady president dressed in a modern pantsuit and destitute girls selling soda to the passengers. Between the old feudal faction of porters and the new one trying to assert its working rights by forming a union. This sociopolitical contrast touching on contemporary changes in Egyptian society (which, other than what the movie presents, I know nothing about but seem to be almost identical with the anxieties that surfaced in Greek screwball comedies of the same time) reflected in the movie itself, out of a typical melodrama of thwarted love Chahine dragging a dark noirish thriller with psychosexual undertones and an almost slasher-like turn in the third act replete with knife-wielding crazies chasing beautiful women that predates Psycho by a good two years. In borrowing the generic aspects of a programme picture for his character-driven piece and portraying his mentally imbalanced protagonist with sympathy and humanity, Chahine made a movie more wholesome than its 73 minute duration would suggest.
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