Tewfik Saleh

Sog.: dalla novella Rijāl Fī Al-Shams (Men in the Sun, 1963) di Ghassan Kanafani. Scen.: Tewfik Saleh. F.: Bahgat Heidar. M.: Farin Dib, Saheb Haddad. Mus.: Solhi El-Wadi. Int.: Mohamed Kheir-Halouani (Abou Keïss), Abderrahman Alrahy (Abou Kheizarane), Bassan Lofti Abou-Ghazala (Assaad), Saleh Kholoki (Marouane), Thanaa Debsi (Om Keïss). Prod.: National Film Organization (Siria). DCP. D.: 107’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

A leader without followers, a master without disciples, Tewfik Saleh represents a unique case in Egyptian cinema. With nine films to his credit (in addition to material shot in India that the Egyptian censors forbade him to edit), Saleh’s work, which has always been uncompromising, today constitutes a coherent corpus that cannot be completely ascribed to the social realism so dear to Egyptian critics. The points of contact between his films and those of Chahine, Abu Seif, Barakat, Kamel Morsi, etc. are sometimes more apparent than anything else; certainly all these filmmakers tell the stories of the common people, of the fellah (farmer) who bravely works the land in an expanse of mud, of the under-proletariat that survives in the miserable neighbourhoods of Cairo or Alexandria. They certainly look at the destitute and marginalised with humanity, arousing empathy in the viewer. But these directors, almost all of whom belong to the middle class, still lack the lucidity and commitment that come from a true social and political consciousness… This is where Saleh stands out; he is, like Sembène, a true Marxist filmmaker for whom making a film is a true political act. Here is what he himself told me about The Dupes: “I worked on the adaptation of Men in the Sun by Ghassan Kanafani – a militant of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine assassinated on 9 July 1972 in Beirut by the Zionist secret services (Mossad) – from 1964 to 1971. My intentions and my interpretation of the novel and its characters changed in light of the tragic events that took place in the region in June 1967 and September 1970. In the latest version, I wanted to emphasise the element of escape that characterises the Middle East at this time. Three characters from three different generations, representing three phases of the same collective problem, decide to flee their situation in search of what each considers or hopes to be their individual salvation. But the end is very different from their expectations; there is no individual salvation from a collective tragedy. And this is the lesson that history teaches us every day”.

Tahar Cheriaa, Tewfik Saleh, in Dossiers du cinéma: Cinéastes, edited by Jean-Louis Bory, Claude Michel Cluny, Casterman, Paris 1971

Copy From

Restored in 2023 by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with the National Film Organization and the family of Tewfik Saleh. Special thanks to Mohamed Challouf and Nadi Nekol Nas. Funding by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. The 4K restoration used a 35mm dupe negative preserved by the Bulgarian National Film Archive (Bulgarska Nacionalna Filmoteka) and was completed by L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory