In a career in cinema of more than forty years, Tawfik Saleh has made just seven feature films. Al-Mutamarridun (The Rebels, 1967) was banned for political reasons, and his last two films, al-Makhdu’un (The Dupes, 1972) and alAyyam al-Tawila (The Long Days, 1980), made in Syria and Iraq, have never been shown in Egypt.
In Saleh’s last year at university, Tawfik al-Hakim’s play, Russassa fil-Qalb (A Bullet in the Heart) was presented at the French Friendship Club in Alexandria. Saleh was asked to direct it just three days before its presentation. The French Cultural Attaché was impressed by Saleh’s direction and sent him to study theater in Paris for a year.
Saleh returned to Egypt soon after the Free Officers’ revolution, having actually studied cinema rather than theater. His first film, Darb al-Mahabil (Fools’ Alley, 1954) was influenced by al-Suq al-Sawda’ (The Black Market, 1943), which Saleh had seen being filmed by director Kamel al-Tilmissani during his first… read more