It’s no secret that many Egyptian movies tried to portray some mental disorders. And while some failed, others have outdone themselves. But thanks to many campaigns and social media, people are now more informed of how important mental health is. However, cinema remains one of the most powerful arts to communicate with people. So, let’s give a shout out to these one-of-a-kind movies below:
1. Asef Ala El-Eza’ag 2008
Probably one of our beloved Ahmed Helmy’s best works of all time. Though it’s produced in 2008 when mental health wasn’t a matter people took seriously like now, the movie was a hit in every sense of the word. It managed to address a serious mental disorder which is schizophrenia.
The movie destroyed the cinematic stereotypical image of schizophrenic people having Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde personalities. It got people to get a hold of what this disorder is actually like without being dramatic. The audience even sympathized with the main character Hassan as the story was told from his point of view. Just like Helmy’s other movies, this one’s genuinely funny. So, if you haven’t watched it yet, it’s about time you do so.
2. Be’r Al-Herman 1969
The magnificent Souad Hosny, the iconic red dress, and the melodramatic story of Ehsan Abdel-Kudos made this movie one of Egyptian cinema masterpieces’. You can never expect a movie from that time to discuss Dissociative Identity Disorder in this way.
We follow the story of a nice gentle girl named Nahid, and another playful reckless one named Mervat. They’re both the same girl, only one appears in the daytime and the other at night. After going to therapy, her psychiatrist could trace the cause of her disorder back to awful childhood trauma. It means you should always watch this one with a box of tissues and a heart ready to get just a tiny bit broken.
3. Al-Sarab 1970
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this movie was a total turning point for Nour El-Sherif. As it proved he was worth all the expectations people had for him. Playing the character of a complicated shy man battling many mental disorders like the Oedipus complex wasn’t an easy task.
Kamal is a married man who was raised by a divorced mother that controlled him to the point that he couldn’t interact with people properly. We watch his shaky relationship with his young wife Rabab, opposing to his good relationship with his way too old mistress. The movie raises many question marks that even after watching it, you won’t be sure whose side you’re on.
4. Al Ekhtyar 1970
If you can’t imagine an Egyptian movie to be existential, psycho-dramatic, and also really good, you better think twice before judging this one. Al Ekhtyar is another movie that discusses schizophrenia, but this time with a murderer in the background.
After the police find an anonymous body and identify it as a man named Mahmoud, the investigation starts. It leads them to have doubts about Sayed, Mahmoud’s brother. What happens next can simply be described as a series of dreadful secrets getting unfold. Afterall the movie was directed by the one and only Youssef Chahine, so what can we expect?
Always facing the world with humor, books, and a good cup of coffee! Zahra is the girl who has a lot to say about everything and always needs to write something down.