Beginning and the End (The) | (Bidaya wa Nihaya)

  • Commencement et la fin (Le) / (Bidâya wa nihâya) - [...]
© Courtesy of Abu Dhabi Film Festival 2011
Genre : Drama
Type : Fiction
Original title : Mort parmi les vivants | Dead Amongst the Living
Principal country concerned : Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 1960
Format : Feature
Running time : 130 (in minutes)
Film Black & white

Taken from Naguib Mahfouz's much-loved novel, Salah Abu Seif's The Beginning and the End stands as one of the most important realistic films in the history of Egyptian cinema. When a government employee dies leaving his widow nearly penniless, she attempts to keep her family from sliding into misery. While her eldest son stays away, fate blocks the paths of her younger sons and poverty leads her daughter Nafiassa (Sana' Jami) to the abyss of despair. THE BEGINNING documents the inexorable slide of a middle-class family down the socioeconomic ladder. A plain daughter-seduced and abandoned-is forced into prostitution, and her older brother finds no way to make a living except by dealing drugs. The two combine their earnings to send a younger sibling (Omar Sharif) to military school so that he can become a respectable officer. But it seems that none of them can truly escape the downward spiral of their lives. A superb performance by Sharif, and Sana' Gamil as the plain sister is heartbreaking. a film by Salah Abu Seif 1960, Egypt | Arabic | English subtitles | 140 min. | Black & White | 35mm THE BEGINNING AND THE END aka THE DEAD AMONG THE LIVING / BIDAYAH WA NIHAYAH Director: Salah Abou Seif Producer: Fouad Salah Eddin Executive Producer: Fouad Salah Eddin Screenwriter: Salah Ez Eldine, Salah Abou Seif, based on the novel by Naguid Mahfouz Cinematographer: Kamal Karim Art Director: Hilmi Azab Editor: Emil Bahri Sound: Nivio Ornaville Music: Fouad El Zahiri Production Company: Dinar Film Cast: Farid Shawki, Omar Sharif, Amina Rizk, Sanaa Gamil, Kamal Hussein, Amal Zayed, Salah Mansour Based on the novel of the same name by Mahfouz, The Beginning and the End is among the most important films in the history of Arab cinema and is a significant work in the œuvre of Salah Abu Seif, particularly given the place it holds in the history of Egyptian realist films. The story is that of the family of a man of modest means who dies. From the moment she realizes her late husband has left her with nothing, the widowed mother attempts to salvage what she can of normal subsistence -by no means an easy task, given the small amount provided by the government pension. The slide into poverty that results is equally horrific in Mahfouz's novel and Abu Seif's film, as the pressure of an unforgiving society and the family's inability to support itself sees them descend into a life of hell. Amina Rizk is at her best here as the woman who looks after her family while her life goes to pieces. Her eldest son is rarely at home and barely able to feed himself, while her two younger sons find their paths forward in life blocked by fate. Meanwhile, daughter Nafissa (Sanaa Gamil), faced with the ugliness of poverty and desperation, is led to the abyss of despair. The Beginning and the End lives in the memories of millions of spectators due to its universal story -one familiar not only to Arab societies, but to societies the world over, hence the ease with which the story is adapted to a Mexican setting in the film by Arturo Ripstein, also showing at the Festival. -Ibrahim Al Ariss (5th Abu Dhabi Film Festival - ADFF 2011) FESTIVALS / AWARDS 2011 | 5th Abu Dhabi Film Festival - ADFF 2011 | Oct. 13-22, 2011 * Special Programs - Naguib Mahfouz - Man of Cinema 1996| The Centennial of Arab Cinema | New York, Usa * Sélection Screening time: Friday, November 1: 6:45 pm Screening time: Sunday, November 3: 2 pm 1979 | 1er Festival des 3 Continents | NANTES, France | * HOMMAGE A SALAH ABOU SEIF - EGYPTE 1960 | Moscow FilmFest * Competition


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