The Egyptian-Pakistani director passed away in summer 2016, leaving behind a legacy of iconic movies. These films may be from your present, your childhood, or before your birth, and they will probably stay in your future - thank you, Mohamed Khan for all these gems.
Filmmakers and filmgoers around the world were deeply saddened by the passing of Mohamed Khan last year, at age 73. We want to tell you, though, why he was so great. You see, Mohamed Khan already had an interesting life; he was born in February 1942, to an Egyptian mother and a Pakistani father. From a very early age, Khan loved films and cinemas, and as a young boy, he'd watch the films from his bedroom window, because he lived near an outdoor cinema. In 1956, at 18, he went to London, England to study architectural engineering, which he abandoned after he was inspired by a friend of his who studied cinema.
Once he returned to Egypt, he tried getting into the film industry but it wasn't quite what he craved – so he took off to Lebanon, and there, he worked as an assistant director. In 1967, he moved back to London, and then back to Egypt in 1977. In 1978, it was his first direction gig: Darbet Shams (Sunstroke). And since 1978 until today, he has been a huge party of the reason we have been intrigued by cinema and filmmaking, newly discovered Egyptian talents, and the ability to direct a simple story with so many nuances!
Here is a list of his top ten films from his career:
Darbet Shams (Sunstroke), 1980
Starring Nour El Sherif and Noura, it tells the story of a photojournalist, Shams, who is asked to photograph a wedding, and he accidentally photographs a burning piece of paper. Whatever was meant to be burned forever, is now captured in photograph.
Maw3ed 3la Al 3asha2 (Dinner Date), 1981
Starring Souad Hosni and Ahmed Zaki, the film tells the story of Nawal, a desperate, neglected housewife who asks for divorce, and at the same time, she falls in love with the hairstylist, Shokri. When her husband finds out, he seeks revenge *spoiler alert* killing her lover – but she won't let him get away with that.
Ta2er 3la Al Tareeq (A Bird on the Road), 1981
Starring Ahmed Zaki, Athaar Al Hakim, and Farid Shawki, the film is about a driver named Fares, who one day gets asked to drive a couple to their farmhouse – a young woman married to an old man – where he learns that the young Fawziya is unhappy in her life. The story soon turns ugly when Fawziya and Fares fall in love, she gets pregnant, and her husband is certain he is not the father.
El 7arreef (The Street Player), 1983
The film stars Adel Imam as a factory worker who loves football. But not just any football, no, he likes to make bets when it comes to his winnings – his wife definitely didn't love that.
A7lam Hend We Kamilia (The Dreams of Hend and Kamilia), 1988
Starring Naglaa Fat'hi, Ahmed Zaki, and Aida Riyad, it's a simple story about two women, Hend and Kamilia, who work as cleaners. Hend gets married, pregnant from a husband who is now in prison, while Kamilia gets divorced – they've got no one but each other now.
Ayyam El Saddat (The Days of Saddat), 2001
Starring Ahmed Zaki, Mona Zaki, and Mervat Amin, a biopic that recounts the rises and falls of the former late president, Mohamed Anwar El Sadat, taking it all the way from his youth to his days as president.
Fe Shaqqet Masr El Gedida (In the Heliopolis Flat), 2007
Starring Ghada Adel and Khaled Aboulnaga, the film tells us that coincidence plays a huge part in how we interpret love and make decisions. The young music teacher, Nagwa from Upper Egypt, takes a trip to Cairo with work, and decides to search for her old beloved teacher in Heliopolis, Cairo, Miss Tahani, but during her search, she finds more than just her teacher.
Banat Wust El Balad (Downtown Girls), 2005
Starring Hend Sabry and Menna Shalaby, the film is about the very different, yet somehow, very similar lives of Yasmin and Jumana. They encounter different obstacles and tribulations that life throws at them, from love to work to self-worth and finally, to forgiveness.
Fataat El Masna3 (Factory Girl), 2014
Starring Yasmin El Ra'ees and Hany Adel, Factory Girl is a story all about the small ambitions a seemingly invisible girl can have. Because the ambitions are not anything complicated, it's all about being in love with the perfect man, and once that falls apart, she makes it a goal to win him back.
2abl Za7met El Seif (Before the Summer Crowds), 2015
Starring Maged El Kedwani and Hana Sheeha, the film takes place in Sahel, where Doctor Yehia decides to vacation with his wife. However, they take this vacation right before the busy season kicks in, where they meet Hala, and their vacation takes a different turn from here.