Friday Films: ‘The Sixth Day,’ Based on a Novel by Andrée Chedid

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:

This week’s film is The Sixth Day (1986), directed by Youssef Chahine, an adaptation of a novel written in French by the Lebanese author Andrée Chedid. The novel (Le Sixieme Jour) has been translated into English as The Sixth Day by Isobel Stracey.

The film’s set in a working-class Cairo neighborhood in 1947, during the cholera epidemic. Sadika is caring for her bedridden husband and cholera-stricken grandson. The “sixth day” is because it is said that a victim of cholera dies or recovers on the sixth day. Sadika finds a sort of love with a street performer.

It stars Dalida, Mohsen Mohieddin, Mohamed Mounir, and Chahine himself makes an appearance.

Notably, this is the first of our Friday films based on a book written by a woman.

Previous Friday films:

The Land, based on a novel by Abdel Rahman Al-Sharqawi, translated as Egyptian Earth

Al-Harambased on a novel by Yusuf Idris

I’m Free, based on a novel by Ihsan Abdel Quddous

A Beginning and an End, based on the novel by Naguib Mahfouz

For Bread Alone, based on the novel by Mohamed Choukri

Gate of the Sun, based on the novel by Elias Khoury

The Dupesbased on Ghassan Kanafani’s Men in the Sun

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 Lamp of Umm Hashem, inspired by a novella by Yahia Haqqi