Quick recap: So, there’s this station, see? And it’s in Cairo. And there are a lot of crazy characters who work there, such as Qinawi the disabled newspaper seller and Hanuma, who illegally sells Pepsi (I think?) and her fiance Abu Siri who is a decent guy, mixed up in all the madness.
Fun (?) fact: There isn’t much out there about this film, unfortunately. The best fact I could find is that Youssef Chahine is the director as well as the main character, Qinawi.
My thoughts: Proof that I know next to nothing about the world around me, I was shocked by how modern Egypt looked in Cairo Station. There was plenty of traditional clothing but there was also a very Western look that I wasn’t expecting. It reminded me of the book Persepolis and how modern Iran was before the Islamic Revolution. Granted, this was only a tiny slice of life in the city but I would’ve loved exploring the underground scene and up-and-coming rock and roll acts.
What I wouldn’t have loved back then? A creepy guy like Qinawi hanging around. It’s genius how the director showed Qinawi’s creepiness throughout the entire movie, even in the first couple of scenes, and yet because he was disabled, I overlooked everything. The pinups that decorated his shack? He was lonely and wanted a woman. Spying on Hanuma as she dressed? It was only because he was worried about her. Buying a knife and repeatedly stabbing a woman? Ok, that’s when I started to have suspicions. But really, I found it so progressive to have the main villain as a mousy disabled guy that everyone pities. And that all the women in the film were creeped out by him but their husbands and boyfriends didn’t believe them. Time and time again, these women were told that they must’ve done something to deserve the lascivious stares and were ignored. It wasn’t until the very end of the film, as Qinawi had kidnapped Hanuma that everyone jumped into action.
Although the main plot was interesting and unique, the subplots were difficult to follow at times. There was one about a union forming and another about a young girl being ripped away from her lover. It was hard to figure out what I was supposed to focus on at times, which I guess is the point of filming in a busy train station. I did love the various ‘artsy’ close-up scenes and dramatic music but it all felt too much sometimes.
Final review: 3/5
Up next: Project A II