Shattering. What a wonderful film! Knives hanging down on strings two days after I saw similar menacingly shining shots in Hark Tsui's "Blade", and the slow-burning athanor of heat, youth customs and political earthquakes, sensual teasing and underskin magmatic unrest the man who was denied love is forced to undergo, as he lacked that essential beauty quality the Middle Ages used to call integritas: bodily wholeness.
An empty carriage creating suspense; a filled one flashing with limbs for communal dance; undercarriages in motion = danger; stationary = hiding place for young girls in bloom; warehouses filled with bales of hay = amorous hide & seek; empty = deadly cat & mouse. What is amazing about this film full of stock types is that each subplot, each mood in the crazy array of moods seems spontaneously generated by location!
What an odd film. It almost reminds me of Bunuel's Los Olvidados in the way it combines neorealism with a grotesque quality. The editing and cinematography is amazing at times. Chahine also impresses on both sides of the camera here. Great film, but sadly underrated.