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From Classics to Hidden Gems: 4 Must Watch Egyptian Films on Netflix

July 16, 2020

To ‘Netflix and Chill’ has become a diligent way of life, with never-ending films and TV shows that keep being added to our ‘must watch lists’. 

Recently Netflix Middle East has added a surge of Egyptian films to their repertoire, some of which are ‘must watch’ classics, while others are hidden gems.

From Youssef Chahine’s uniquely devised masterpieces to more contemporary stories that deal with slightly more specific individual issues, these four Egyptian films are well worth an add to one’s ‘must watch list’. 

The Land

This 1969 Youssef Chahine classic deals with social, cultural and political issues in a beautifully innovative manner. As audiences, we observe the everyday lives of the people of a village in rural Egypt. 

We are taken on a journey of conflict as these people fight for their land against authoritative forces who want to take it away from them in order to build a new railroad through it. 

While going through this emotional and passion-fueled journey, we also observe the intricacies of various individual relationships around the village – uncovering layers of very human complexities.

The Land is a rich story that is wonderfully directed with many visually stimulating moments. 

An Egyptian Story

Still from the film ‘An Egyptian Story’. Image credit unknown.

Another Youssef Chahine classic, An Egyptian story is the unique portrayal of Chahine’s experience undergoing heart surgery. Somewhat of an autobiographical film, we are taken on an intimate journey through Chahine’s mind as he personifies his disease in the form of a trial taking place within him.

Chahine puts into question all the incidents and people that have led to the human being on the operating table. We see Chahine as a child questioning the older version of himself, as well as various family members. 

The film combines both an interesting concept with a novel directorial perspective that somehow wonderfully weaves theatrical aspects into the world of 1980’s Egyptian film. 


Still from the film ‘Mercedes’. Image credit unknown.

An interesting portrayal of family dysfunction, Mercedes is a 1993 film about a man who sets out to look for his step brother who inherits their father’s wealth following his passing. 

A wonderfully vibrant story, the film is both entertaining and gripping. Holding various aspects reminiscent of Egyptian films of the early 1990’s, Mercedes holds somewhat of a nostalgic feel to it, while still somehow managing to hold a novel portrayal of a classic story of family vengeance. 

Mercedes may not be as well known as most Egyptian classics, but it is definitely worth exploring. 

Villa 69

Still from the film ‘Villa 69’. Image credit unknown.

A film that falls on more of the contemporary side of the spectrum, this 2013 gem directed by Ayten Amin is a touching portrayal of illness, family and love. 

Delving into the life of a terminally ill architect, audiences are given the chance to experience the intimate relationships formed and re-built throughout the hero’s battle with his illness. 

The story is both moving and holds a lovely portrayal of Egyptian family cultural. In addition to this, Amin also manages to add a directorial touch unlike what is seen in most contemporary Egyptian films – from the simplicity of the acting to the complimentary color palette. 

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