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These Egyptian Films Helped Change the Law

October 11, 2022
Image Credit: Rotana Classic

Egypt has long been home to the Arab world’s golden screen – the Hollywood of the Middle East. Since the first feature-length film in 1927, Egypt’s cinematic commentary has tackled social, political, and cultural issues. A special setlist of those films left an impact so profound that they helped influence amendments in the law. GA’ALUNI MUGRIMAN (THEY MADE A CRIMINAL OUT OF ME, 1955) Starring Farid Shawqi and Huda Sultan, and written by Nobel Prize literate Naguib Mahfouz, this gut-wrenching cinematic commentary on homeless children’s living conditions and juvenile behaviors had a profound effect on viewers. Shawqi plays the role of Sultan, a juvenile who loses his father before succumbing to neglect from his uncle. The result is that Sultan joins a street gang of youths who steal, ultimately leading to his arrest and sentencing to a juvenile detention center. Upon his release, Sultan matures into a reformed man who hopes to land a decent job, only to get rejected at each attempt due to his criminal record. Following its theatrical reception, the law was amended to ensure that a person’s first minor offense would not be included in their…

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