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 weeks film is A Touch of Fear (1969), based on a novella of the same name by Egyptian “Knight of the Arabic Novel” Tharwat Abaza. The novel made the “top 105” list of the best novels of the twentieth century, compiled by the Arab Writers Union, and an English translation was published by the General Egyptian Book Organization in 1992. Some copies seem to be for sale online, but none in a quick scan mentioned the translator.
Born in Sharkia governorate in 1927, Abaza graduated from Cairo University’s Faculty of Law in 1950. After that, like many Egyptian novelists of his era, he worked in journalism. He died in 2002.
The novel and the film both are set in a small Egyptian village run by an iron fist by Atris, but his rule is challenged when his beloved Fu’ada carries out a public act of defiance.
Tharwat’s novel A Man Escaping from Time was also turned into a television series in the late 1960s.
Previous Friday films:
The Impossible, based on a novel by Mostafa Mahmoud
The Sixth Day, based on a novel by Andrée Chedid
The Land, based on a novel by Abdel Rahman Al-Sharqawi, translated as Egyptian Earth
Al-Haram, based 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 Dupes, based 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 Prayer, based on a novel by Taha Hussein.
Kit Kat, based 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