Friday Films: ‘The Dupes,’ Inspired by Ghassan Kanafani’s ‘Men in the Sun’

Every Friday, ArabLit suggests a new classic film-book combination — for you to watch and read — until we run out of steam about 20 weeks in:

ThedupesThis Friday, it’s the classic The Dupes, based on Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani’s Men in the Sun, translated into English by Hilary Kilpatrick.

The Dupes, directed by Tawfiq Saleh, who also directed last week’s film, is based on Kanafani’s most popular and acclaimed novella. The film was released the same year Kanafani was assassinated by a car bomb. But according to Cinema Arabiata, “Kanafani did watch The Dupes, released earlier that year, according to Salem who reports having freighted a copy of the film personally by car, from Damascus to Beirut.”

When Kanafani was assassinated on July 8, 1972, he was just 36.

From Cinema Arabiata:

In The Dupes (المخدوعون, also The Duped and The Deceived), the struggles of the film’s four leads are both representative and metaphoric of the modern experience of the Palestinian people. It is precisely because The Dupes delivers as representation and as metaphor that it works; it is fine allegory. The Dupes draws a dramatic landscape that is poignant and credible in the realistic personal struggles of the main characters, drawn over space and time, while the metaphor grows the film’s audience entangling tentacles of anguish, horror and morbidity, whose marks well outlast The Dupes’ uncompromising ending.

The two end differently — the novella and the film. But best that you watch and read first.

You can watch The Dupes online:

Previous Friday films:

Diary of a Country Prosecutor, based on a novel by Tawfiq al-Hakim

Adrift on the Nile, based on a novel by Naguib Mahfouz

A Nightingale’s Prayerbased on a novel by Taha Hussein.

 Kit Katbased on the novel The Heron by Ibrahim Aslan, available in translation by Elliott Colla.

The Egyptian Citizen, based on Yusuf al-Qa’id’s award-winning novel War in the Land of Egypt


“The Stolen Shirt,” trans. Michael Fares

Jaffa: Land of Oranges,” trans. Mona Anis and Hala Halim

Excerpts from Return to Haifa,  trans. Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley

Letter from Gaza,” translator not listed.

Books in translation

Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Storiestranslated by Kilpatrick

Palestine’s Children: Returning to Haifa & Other Stories, translated by Harlow and Riley

All That’s Left to You, translated by May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed