Egyptian history: The Director’s Cut

Egyptian history in six movies

Egypt’s post-independence history resembles a series of remakes of a classic film, with a fresh cast trying out traditional roles, enacting a familiar script of revolution and repression. Throughout these years, Egyptian cinema has flourished, with many of the best films serving as vehicles for satire, social commentary or national pride.

In this feature for the BBC News website’s Magazine, I used six clips from popular Egyptian movies to explore six decades of Egyptian history.

The clips are among dozens of snippets from Egyptian cinema featured in the three-part documentary, Egypt’s Modern Pharaohs, screened on BBC World. The documentary-maker, Jihan El-Tahri, uses the clips as illustration or counterpoint to her interviews with key players and witnesses. The result is enthralling – a spliced-up history lesson.

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Lost at sea II

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Islamic State militants in Libya have threatened to attack Europe, while boatloads of migrants flee the collapsing state for European shores. Could the migrant flows provide a cover for the militants – as Italy and Egypt have claimed? Their warnings evoke a vicious logic, at odds with humanitarian imperatives: refugees bring conflict, as conflict breeds refugees. Analysis for the BBC News website.