Egyptian cinema has taken upon itself the task of shedding light on the important issues that concern Egyptian society in all its categories and classes. There is no topic related to the Egyptian family that films have not dealt with from different sides. Since its appearance, cinema has not only shown the reality we live in, but has at times contributed to bringing about societal or legal changes, after it strongly influenced public opinion, led to changing laws, and modifying the behaviors and ideas of individuals. In this context, we present to you a group of films that have been able to contribute significantly to changing Egyptian laws for the better because of their audacity to raise social problems for citizens.
They made me a criminal - 1954
The film is based on a true story, and its events revolve around the child “Sultan”, whose uncle “Zahran Bey” seized his wealth after his father’s death, and threw him on the street, where a gang lured him to the theft path. In his teenage years, and after his release, “Sultan” tries to find an honorable job, but he fails to do so because of his criminal newspaper, so he resorts to theft again, and falls in love with “Yasmina”, the cabaret singer, who is competing with his uncle for her love, so Zahran agrees with the owner of the cabaret to get rid of “Sultan” quarrels with him, and a murder occurs, in which “Sultan” is unjustly accused and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Yasmina manages to prove Sultan’s innocence, but before his innocence is ruled, he escapes from prison and goes to his uncle’s house and kills him so he becomes a true criminal. But he goes and surrenders himself after Yasmina tells him about the ruling of innocence
The film starring Farid Shawqi and Hoda Sultan, and after it was shown, a law was issued that stipulates the exemption from the first precedent in the criminal case newspaper so that the offender can start his life again, provided that if he commits the second crime, the previous two appearances in his newspaper.
A Word of Honor -1972
For the second time, a film by the artist Farid Shawqi contributes to amending some laws, and the events of the film revolve around “Salem Abu Al-Naga”, the moral lawyer who is unjustly accused and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and he repeatedly tries to escape to communicate with his sick and immobile wife “Nahid” to explain to her the truth and tell her his innocence, However, his attempts to escape fail, and the sentence he will spend in prison doubles until it reaches 30 years.
The wife’s illness is severe and her condition deteriorates until she has a few hours left until her death. Therefore, Brigadier General “Sharif”, the prison warden, agrees with “Salem” to allow him to leave prison for 12 hours on his responsibility to meet his wife who was close to death after he gave him a promise of honor. Returning to prison before anyone discovers his absence. Indeed, he meets his wife and finds that she has discovered the whole truth and dies in his hands, to return quickly to his prison, fulfilling his promise to the warden.
The film, starring Ahmed Shawky, Hind Rostom, and Ahmed Mazhar, helped amend prison authority laws to allow prisoners to have exceptional visits to their families outside the prison for a period of up to 48 hours, under guard and with specific controls.
I want a solution - 1975
It is considered the first Egyptian film to discuss khul’ and the wife’s right to divorce herself, as it presented a realistic story found in many Egyptian homes, through the character “Doria”, whose marital life is impossible between her and her diplomatic husband, “Medhat Seif al-Nasr” because of his bad treatment of her and his multiple women’s relationships, She asks him for a divorce, but he refuses, so she resorts to the court to file a divorce case, to get lost in the long court road full of problems and obstacles that waste her dignity, and things get more complicated after the husband’s use of false witnesses, and the wife fails to obtain a divorce after 4 years she spent between the halls of the court and her problem remains unresolved.
The film starring Faten Hamama and Rushdi Abaza, and after its launch, it contributed to reconsidering the personal status laws related to divorce and the house of obedience and allowing the Egyptian wife the right to divorce.
Sorry I Refuse Divorce - 1980
The film dealt with the husband’s right to divorce his wife in absentia, and the absence of the wife’s right to refuse or accept this divorce, wondering how the husband, with his unilateral desire, terminates the marriage contract, which, like all legal contracts, requires the consent of both parties. both parties as well. The events of the film touched on various ideas such as the infallibility of the wife, the right of the wife to stipulate that the husband not marry another, and also how the law requires proof of material damage to allow the wife to file for divorce and does not count moral damage, which is difficult for her to prove.
The film presented the story of “Mona”, the dedicated wife who gave her whole life to her husband and daughter, but on her tenth wedding anniversary, she was surprised by her husband, “Essam”, who told her of his desire to separate from her, left the house and sent her a divorce paper in absentia. The wife turns to her friend, law professor “Hanaa”, who helps her in filing a lawsuit to refuse her husband’s divorce.
The film starring Mervat Amin, Nadia Rashad, and Hussein Fahmy, and after its screening, it contributed with the help of some women’s associations to canceling the right of obedience, and making it by order of the judge and not the husband.
Sorry Law - 1985
The film sheds light on the distinction between men and women in honor cases, as it tells the story of a university professor “Hoda” who is married to “Ali,” the sexually impotent doctor due to a psychological complex that struck him in his childhood, as he watched his father kill his traitorous second wife after he saw her in the arms of her lover, and he was sentenced one month in prison, suspended. Hoda managed to treat her husband, but she was surprised one day when she returned from work early with a voice coming from the bedroom. She thought he was a thief and took her husband’s pistol and entered to be surprised by her husband’s betrayal of her with his friend’s wife, so Huda was jealous and shot them and ran away. Upon arrest, she is sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The film, starring Naglaa Fathi, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, and Hayatem, is based on a true story and has raised a lot of controversy about the law that differentiates between men and women in a case such as adultery, where the woman is sentenced to 15 years in prison with labor and enforcement, while the man has been sentenced imprisonment for one month, suspended. Although the film’s echoes were not able to change the laws in force after its screening, claims are still ongoing in search of a law that achieves justice, equality, and the application of Islamic law, which did not differentiate between an adulterer and an adulterer in punishment.
The apartment is the right of the wife - 1985
The film presented the story of Samir, an employee in a government agency, who married Karima, the daughter of his boss, after a strong love story. After the birth of their first child, and due to financial problems, the differences between them escalate until things reach a divorce, and the dispute begins over the marital home, which is the right of the wife as the custodian according to the law. Because of the husband’s inability to obtain another housing, the judge rules that they share the apartment until the end of the waiting period.
The film, starring His Excellency Zayed and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, succeeded in making one of the most important items that can be added to the marriage contract, determining who will have the right to keep the marital home in the event of divorce.
678 - 2010
The film showed the story of 3 women from different backgrounds who were subjected to sexual harassment. The first is called “Saba”, a wealthy woman who is subjected to mass harassment in Cairo Stadium, amid her husband’s inability to defend her, which made him suffer a psychological crisis and prefer to stay away from her at a time when she was in dire need of his presence next to her, which made her ask for a divorce, and she formed an association to teach women to defend themselves against harassment. The second is “Nelly”, a middle-class girl who is harassed while walking in the street. She manages to catch the harasser and insists on making a report despite the rejection of her family and the family of her fiancé for fear of society’s view of her. As for the third, “Fayza”, a poor woman who is harassed on the bus daily, which causes her to suffer in a bad psychological state that makes her refuse to be approached by her husband.
The film starring Nelly Karim, Bushra, Nahid El Sebaei, Majed El-Kidwany, and Bassem Samra, and the reason for activating the harassment law, and making the punishment for the harasser up to 3 years in prison.