Art is the mirror of reality, where cinema conveys everything that concerns society and reflects the situations and events around us in its films. Egyptian cinema has presented many films whose makers were inspired by real events that sparked controversy among citizens or made headlines at some point. Even if the author adds some details to fit the dramatic context, the phrase “inspired by a true story” remains an attraction for viewers. They feel that the work heroes are ordinary people like themselves, without fakes or exaggerated heroism.
Apart from biographical films and films that dealt with historical events or the heroism of members of the armed forces and the files of the intelligence service, the Egyptian cinema presented real stories that took place on the ground and among the people in several films that we show you in these lines.
House number 13
The film revolves around a psychiatrist named Assem Ibrahim, who enters into an affair with Sonia, a married dancer. She plans to kill her husband to obtain his life insurance. At the same time, Assem treats engineer Sherif Kamel from a nervous breakdown. Instead of giving him the appropriate treatment, he gives him a treatment that increases his nervousness. He uses him to kill the husband after hypnotizing him, giving him a gun and the key to the house. The crime happens successfully, but “Asim” forgets the key with “Sharif,” who wakes up in the morning thinking that he witnessed a bad dream, and is surprised by his arrest after his ID card was dropped inside the house the police found it. His wife, “Nadia” and the lawyer try to prove that “Sharif” committed the crime while being robbed.
The film stars Faten Hamama, Mahmoud El Meligy, and Imad Hamdi. It occupies 92nd place in the list of the 100 best films in the memory of Egyptian cinema. It is based on a story published by Al-Masry newspaper about a person using hypnosis to commit a murder.
They made me.
The film’s events begin with the child “Sultan,” whose uncle takes his inheritance after his father’s death and throws him into the street, where a gang lured him to the path of theft. His uncle reports him to the police and is placed for years in the reformatory. After he leaves, he tries to find a decent job. Still, he fails because of his criminal newspaper, so he resorts to theft again and falls in love with “Yasmina,” the cabaret singer, competing with his uncle for her love. In it, “Sultan” is unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment. However, Sultan manages to escape from prison and goes to his uncle’s house and kills him, becoming a real criminal and turning himself in to the police.
The film stars Farid Shawqi, Hoda Sultan, and Yehia Shaheen. It occupies 26th place in the list of the 100 best films in the memory of Egyptian cinema. It is based on a true story about one of the children inside the Juvenile Reformatory in Qanater al-Khairia. Officer Ahmed Shawky, brother of the artist Farid Shawky, was responsible. Following the screening of this film, a law was issued that provides for an exemption from the first precedent in the criminal status newspaper so that the offender can start a new life.
Love and tears
The film’s story revolves around “Fatima,” a simple girl from Port Said, who lives with her father, “Mahmoud Salam,” who is forced to borrow from Chief Metwally after his boats sank. “Metwally” takes advantage of the opportunity and asks to marry “Fatima” in exchange for dropping the debt. Her father is forced to agree, and “Ahmed Ezzat,” the naval officer who has a love affair with “Fatima,” refuses when he proposes to her. The father retracts his daughter’s marriage and kills “Metwally” at the last moment, and the father dies during his interrogation. Fatima fails to reach Ahmed, and she becomes stranded in the streets, so Khawaja “Paulo” tries to pimp her to work in the cabaret, but the cabaret singer “Saniya” saves her from falling into vice and reunites her with “Ahmed” again.
The film stars Faten Hamama, Ahmed Ramzy, Zaki Rostom, and Stefan Rosti. The film’s events are inspired by a true story, and most of its scenes were filmed in their real locations.
Hassan and Naima
The film presented the story of “Naima”, the daughter of Hajj “Metwally”, who falls in love with “Hassan”, the poor singer. Her father refuses their marriage because of his profession, which was inappropriate at this time. Metwally seeks to marry off his daughter to his cousin, Atwa, so Naima runs away to marry Hassan. Her father goes to retrieve her and agrees with “Hassan” that “Naima” should return to her family’s house, then “Hassan” comes to marry her naturally in front of the people of the country. But as soon as they return home, Metwally imprisons and beats his daughter, and tries to kill Hassan, who escapes death and eventually marries his girlfriend.
The film stars Soad Hosni, Muharram Fouad and Wedad Hamdi. It is taken from a true story that took place in the village of Bahnasah in Bani Mazar, Minya Governorate, but it was not Hassan’s profession that was the reason for rejecting his marriage to Naima, but rather the difference of religion. The original story ended with a tragic end, unlike the movie. After the family recovered “Naima”, she lured “Hassan”, killed him and dumped his body in the Nile. When the corpse floated over the water, the crime was revealed and the accused were arrested. As for “Naima”, she went crazy out of grief for her lover.
We are the students
The film reviewed the lives of three young men who committed a murder. The first, Hassanein, is a university student from Upper Egypt who studies law, and his uncle asks him to avenge his father’s death. But Hassanein refuses to punish the killer who paid for his crime with imprisonment. The second is “Adel” who is being mocked by his father because of his failure in college. He loves his neighbor, Siham, but her father refuses to marry him to her, and marries her to a rich person. The latter is “Samir”, who suffers from neglect by his parents after their separation and their marriage to another person. And he establishes a relationship with “Sadia”, the daughter of Al-Safarji, who is pregnant by him. The three guys look for a way to raise money to abort Saadia and get involved in the murder and robbery of a bar owner. Saadia dies during the operation, so they are arrested and put on trial.
The film stars Omar Sharif, Shukri Sarhan, Youssef Fakhreddine, and Tahia Karioka. It occupies the 44th place in the list of the 100 best films in the memory of Egyptian cinema. It is based on a true story, one of the heroes of which was the artist Sami Sarhan, whose brother Shukri Sarhan played his role in the film. He was sentenced to life imprisonment and released after 10 years for good behavior.
Al Attaba Al Khadra
During the events of the film, we follow the story of “Youssef Jamil”, the swindler who meets “Mabrouk Abu Mabrouk”, a naive young man from Upper Egypt, and convinces him to invest his money in successful projects. He also convinced him that he owns the Ataba al-Khadra area, with all its shops, houses, the police station and the fire brigade. He persuaded Mabrouk to buy the Green Shrine from him for a large sum of money. After the sale, “Mabrouk” started asking the residents of the area to rent, until he reached the Al-Moski department, and the warden told him that he had fallen victim to a major fraud, and helped him recover his money before arresting the accused.
The film stars Ismail Yassin, Ahmed Mazhar, Zeinat Sedky and Sabah. It is based on a true story of a con artist called “Ramadan Abu Zaid al-Abed” who managed to defraud “God Save Suleiman” and sold him the tram for 200 pounds.
The Thief and the Dogs
The film tells the story of Saeed Mahran, a thief who, with Alish’s help, prepares to rob the villa where his wife, Nabawiya, works. Alish agrees with Nabaweya to get rid of Saeed so he can marry her. He reports it to the police, and Saeed is caught red-handed and sentenced to 5 years in prison. After his release from prison, Saeed intends to take revenge on those who betrayed him and were the reason behind his arrest. He gets involved in several murders and the police start looking for him. Saeed flees to the Citadel’s mountains, and the police discover his hiding place, and the place is raided and gunfire is exchanged until Saeed is killed.
The film stars Shadia, Shukri Sarhan and Kamal El-Shennawy. It occupies the 15th place in the list of the 100 best films in the memory of Egyptian cinema. It is based on a true story whose hero is the butcher of Alexandria, Mahmoud Amin Suleiman, whose case preoccupied public opinion in Egypt in 1960.
The film sheds light on the struggle of “Mohamed Hassan”, a young Egyptian man who traveled to Germany to work. He suffers from racism and faces many problems due to the difference in language and culture. During his trip, he meets Helga, a German girl who speaks some Arabic and helps him learn German. Costa also meets a Greek boxing coach who is fluent in Arabic and trains him, to succeed and become a boxing champion, as well as succeed in his public life and become a big businessman.
The film stars Ahmed Zaki, Mahmoud Hamida and Raghda. It is taken from the real biography of the engineer “Mohamed Hassan” who immigrated to Germany in 1960 and became one of the top athletes and businessmen.
The film presented the story of the university professor “Hoda”, who is married to “Ali” the sexually impotent doctor due to a psychological complex that struck him in his childhood, where he watched his father kill his traitorous second wife after he saw her in the arms of her lover, and sentenced him to a month of imprisonment with suspended execution. Hoda managed to treat her husband, but she was surprised one day while returning 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. Hoda was jealous and shot them both and ran away. She was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The film stars Naglaa Fathi, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Farid Shawky and Hayatem. It is based on a true story told by a police officer named “Nabil Makkawi” and published in his book, where he was one of the investigators in the crime.
The film deals with the story of “Hassan Hodhud”, a poor young man who loves boxing and dreams of championships and glory. By chance, he meets “Horeya”, the wife of the millionaire businessman “Suleiman” and invites him to participate in matches held in their palace in exchange for large financial rewards. While the millionaire and his wife, Houria, bet on these matches, Hassan achieves impressive victories, earns big money and moves in with them in the palace. To discover that he has become a puppet that “Suleiman” and his wife are playing with, he leaves the palace and the money he obtained and returns to the popular neighborhood in which he resides.
The film starring Ahmed Zaki, Raghda and Hussein Al-Imam, and it is based on a true story of a boxer named “Hassan Ahmed Ali”, known as “Hassan Hodhud”. The artist Ahmed Zaki stayed with him for two weeks to learn all the details of his life, so that he could master the character. Also, the father and mother of “Hassan Hodhud” appeared in the film with their true personality.