Egyptian director Chadi Abdel Salem’s 1969 The Mummy, recently restored with support from Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, has topped a list of the 100 Greatest Arab Films.
The list has been compiled by the Dubai International Film Festival in a book based on input from hundreds of experts.
The book, called Cinema of Passion, is edited by Emirati film critic Ziad Abdullah.
Films from Egypt feature prominently, with two Youssef Chahine-directed classics, Cairo Station and The Land, ranked at number two and number four respectively, and Daoud Abdel Sayed’s drama Kit Kat (1991) at number eight.
Egyptian director Tewfik Saleh’s 1973 The Dupes, which is about the Palestinian predicament and was produced by Syria’s National Film Organisation, came in at number 10.
The top 100 list is the central part of a book on Arab Cinema titled Cinema of Passion, compiled with input from more than 400 prominent Arab and international film critics, writers, novelists, academics, and other arts professionals.
DIFF chairman Abdulhamid Juma praised the project as the perfect way to celebrate the festival’s 10th edition which runs from December 6-14.
“Since the festival’s inception, our core mandate has been to celebrate, promote and nurture Arab cinema,” Juma said in a statement.
“The book adds an important dimension of preserving and analyzing the region’s film treasures,” he added.
The remaining top 10 movies were named as Algerian director Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina’s 1975 movie Chronicle of the Years of Fire, which came third, Tunisian director Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace, which came in at number five, and Syrian auteur Mohamed Malas’ partly autobiographical 1983 coming-of-age pic Dreams of the City took sixth place.
Palestinian Elia Suleiman’s comedy Divine Intervention made the number seven slot while Lebanese Ziad Doueri’s 1998 debut West Beirut, a coming-of-age pic set in Beirut amid the early stages of Lebanon’s civil war, ranked number nine.