Friday Films: ‘The Mountain,’ Based on a Novel by Fathi Ghanem

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 Fathi Ghanem’s (1924-1999) debut novel, The Mountain (al-Jabal), published in 1958. Ghanem went on to write many of the key works of the mid-twentieth-century Egyptian literary scene, including The Elephants and The Man Who Lost His Shadow, translated by Desmond Stewart and published by AUC Press.

In The Mountain, Ghanem is just getting a start at his literary career, and uses a city-vs.-rural clash. The setting is the bank of the Nile opposite Luxor, where a new model village is being built (as it was, by architect Hassan Fathy), into which the villagers refuse to move.

The film was released in 1965, directed by Khalil Shawki and starring Samira Ahmed.

Much more recently, Fathi Ghanem’s son, Ahmed Ghanem, released less successful film adaptation of his underappreciated novel Such DaysComparatively little of Ghanem’s work has been translated into English

Previous Friday films:

Miramarbased on a novel by Naguib Mahfouz

A Touch of Fear, based on a novella by Tharwat Abaza

The Impossible, based on a novel by Mostafa Mahmoud

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