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 1969 film Miramar, based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Naguib Mahfouz. A number of Mahfouz’s novels have been made into films; one of the more difficult to translate into film, Wedding Song, inspired a new screen adaptation airing this Ramadan.
Miramar is among Mahfouz’s strongest short novels. Set in Alexandria in the early 1960s, it’s described by the American University in Cairo Press’s Neil Hewison as such: “everybody must have their favorite Mahfouz novel, and this is mine. It is the story of Egypt and its Revolution, brilliantly told by four very different men staying in an old-fashioned pension in Alexandria, as they hover around the country girl who works there.”
The film stars Shadia, Yousef Wahbey, and Yousef Shabaan, and was directed by Kamal el-Sheikh, who also directed the adaptation of Mahfouz’s The Theif and the Dogs.
Miramar was also recently adapted into an opera that debuted in 2005.
Previous Friday films:
A Touch of Fear, Based on a Novella by Tharwat Abaza
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