Friday Films: ‘The Impossible,’ Based on a Novel by Mostafa Mahmoud

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, it’s the 1965 film The Impossible, (al-Moustahil), directed by Hussein Kamal, based on Mostafa Mahmoud’s 1960 novel of the same name.

Mahmoud was a physician and a prolific author, having written eighty-some books on various subjects, but known mostly as an Islamic writer. But The Impossible is not one of his didactic works, but a melodrama about an unhappy man who finds the impossible — love.

Actress Nadia Lotfi told Al Ahram in 2014: “The writer Mostafa Mahmoud, having seen me in Al-Moustahil (The Impossible), a film based on his novel, said that my performance ‘shook the viewers.”

Previous Friday films:

The Sixth Daybased on a novel by Andrée Chedid

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