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Schizophrenia, double personality disorder and masochism … films that embodied mental illnesses in Egyptian cinema

Egyptian filmmakers are keen to discuss various issues and topics, and to present various plots in their films. Among those topics are the mentally ill and the various psychological diagnoses that accompany them.

Although society has for many years been dealing with mental patients in a bad way due to ignorance of the nature of these diseases and their symptoms, which are usually unclear or ambiguous, and often cause embarrassing situations, cinema has played an important role as a mediator between the psychiatric patient and the Egyptian society.

Together, we showcase some of the mental illnesses discussed by Egyptian Cinema in its movies, in comedy films sometimes and in a serious more realistic way in others.

Inferiority complex … Bab al-Hadid 1958

The most famous film by director Youssef Shaheen is one of the first Egyptian films to discuss the idea of ​​a psychopath. The film revolves around the character of Qinawy “Youssef Shaheen”. He is a poor newspaper seller who loves Hanuma “Hind Rostom”. He suffers from inferiority complex, which is the complex of feeling inferior or physical, psychological and social impotence or lack of self-esteem, in addition to emotional deprivation and sexual oppression. This negatively affected him and made him an unstable character, and led him to the point of trying to kill his beloved girl because of her getting in a relationship with another person.

PTSD … The Last Night 1964

The film discusses post-traumatic amnesia disorder, where the heroine Nadia Burhan Sadiq “Faten Hamama” wakes up to find that she lived for 15 years in the character of her sister Fawzia, who died in a visit to her family’s home, which was bombed during one of the war raids. Her husband then took advantage of the amnesia case Nadia, his sister-in-law suffers from and deluded her that she is his wife, Fawzia, so that his daughter does not become an orphan without a mother. After her memory returned, the husband made her think she is insane so that what he had done would not be revealed.

Blind Sanctification or Fetish … A Pursuit of Love, 1968

The film discusses in a comic fashion the disorder of blind sanctification of a certain idea, or what is known as fetish, which is a famous psychological deviation based on satisfying sexual desire by being attracted to a certain thing. We find Munir “Fouad Al Mohandes” who falls in love with women through their feet and shoes in what is known as foot fetish.

Double personality … Well of deprivation, 1969

The film presented a complex or a psychological disorder, where the heroine “Soad Hosni” suffers from double personality. We find her in the character of Nahed, the gentle girl in the morning, and Mervat the play girl at night. A psychiatrist treats her and discovers that her illness is the result of a psychological complex from childhood, caused by her father’s cruelty to her mother when he discovered her betrayal to him.

Oedipus complex … the women serial killer 1970

The cinema presented again the image of the psychopath in a comic way, so we find the artist “Hassan Zayed”, who introduced the character of the serial killer Mimi, who was very attached to his mother, to end up with him as a killer who chooses his female victims and keeps their bodies in casts of wax, so that he does not lose them like he lost his mother. He is afflicted with what is known as the Oedipus complex, which is a psychological complex of a male who loves his mother in an abnormal way and is very attached to her and is jealous of her.

Oedipus Complex, Fetish, and Paedophilia complex … The Mirage 1970

The film presented a variety of mental illnesses that most of the protagonists suffered from. We find Ahmed Akef “Nour El-Sherif” who suffers from the Oedipus complex, where his relationship with his mother and his love for her dominated his relationship with his wife. He also suffers from fetishism, so he feels sexual excitement only when he sees the scarf that the maid wears on her head, due to being harassed in his childhood by the maid, who in turn suffered from a psychological disorder called paedophilia, which is the desire of having sex with children.

Picture 4 The Choice

Double Personality … The Choice 1970

Youssef Shaheen deals with mental illness for the second time in this film, through the hero “Izzat Al-Alaili”, introducing the character “Syed” who killed his twin brother, “Mahmoud”, and lives in duality in character, looking for happiness, so he goes to his wife “Sherifa” with his main character, and he goes to his mistress “Bahia” as his twin brother.

Masochism … Shafiqa and Mitwalli 1979

The film presented a different and not widespread type of psychological disorders called masochism, which is the enjoyment and pleasure of feeling physical and psychological pain during sexual intercourse. Within one of the scenes of the film, we find Yusri Pasha “Jamil Ratib”, who flogs workers and peasants, asks Shafika “Suad Hosni” to hit him with a flog inside the bedroom, until he reaches the heights of orgasm.

Phobia … watch out for your mind 1985

The film presented the character of Salwa “Sherihan”, a psychopath who suffers from social phobia, as she panics when people approach her, especially men, thinking that they want to harass her. Psychiatrist Wael “Adel Imam” meets her inside the mental ward. He understands the nature of her illness and makes sure that she is not crazy, but rather suffers from a mental illness. He assists in removing her from the hospital and treating her, especially after he knows her harsh experience with her stepfather who tried to rape her.

Paranoia … The Wife of an Important Man 1987

The film presented the character of Officer Hisham “Ahmed Zaki”, who is passionate about power and oppression. He practices them even on his gentle wife, Mona “Mervat Amin”. After his dismissal from service, he suffers from paranoia, as he believes that he still has power and influence, and that others should keep showing respect and appreciation for him based on this. His mental illness progressed to the point of killing his father-in-law and committing suicide.

Homosexuality … The Yacoubian Building, 2006

The film presented a group of different stories, including the story of the great journalist Hatem Rashid “Khaled Al-Sawy”, who suffers from sexual orientation disorders as a result of being raped by a servant during his childhood, which in spite of his high social status prompts him to practice homosexuality, with the poor young man Abd Rabbo Basem. Samra “.

Kleptomania … Doctor Omar’s gang 2007

Once again, the film presents mental illness in a comic form, through the psychiatrist Omar “Mustafa Qamar”, who treats his patients with modern treatment methods that he studied abroad. We find him helping Reem “Yasmine Abdel Aziz”, the wealthy girl who suffers from kleptomania or obsessive theft, because her parents are busy and have no time for her. The film also deals with some other psychological diseases, such as phobia of high places, and phobia of fires.

Autism … Turbine 2007

The film presents the story of a young man named Mohsen “Ahmed Rizk”, who suffers from autism, a condition associated with brain development that affects a person’s ability to communicate with others. Mohsen refuses to communicate with his older brother Karim “Sherif Mounir”, who initially tried to exploit his brother’s illness to seize his inheritance. Over time, Karim manages to gain Mohsen’s trust and draw close to him.

Schizophrenia and paranoia … Sorry for the inconvenience, 2008

This movie is one of the best films that presented mental illness in modern cinema. It was able to dive into the depths of the most serious psychological disorders, through the character of the aeronautical engineer Hassan Salah El-Din Zidan “Ahmed Helmy”, who suffers from schizophrenia and paranoia. As a result, he suffers from auditory and visual hallucinations, so he imagines untrue things happening, addresses the dead, thinking they are alive, as well as inventing personalities and situations that do not exist. The hero also suffers from paranoia, as he believes in his exposure to conspiracy and contempt from those around him. All this because of a great trauma that he could not overcome after the death of his father.

Borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder and others … Blue Elephant 2014-2019

The film in its two parts deals with mental illness in a way that some critics and psychiatrists objected, as he attributed some injuries and psychological states to metaphysical reasons such as black magic, touching the jinn, or other reasons such as drug addiction. However, the hero of the film, Dr. Yahya “Karim Abdel Aziz,” a psychiatrist at the Mental Health Hospital in Abbasia, touched in some scenes on a group of well-known mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and paranoia.

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