Cairo Station

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Cairo Station
Film poster
باب الحديد
Directed by Youssef Chahine
Produced by Gabriel Talhami
Written by Mohamed Abu Youssef
Abdel Hay Adib
Starring Farid Shawqi
Cinematography Alevise Orfanelli
Edited by Kamal Abul Ela
Release date
  • July 1958 (1958-07)
Running time
77 minutes
Country Egypt
Language Egyptian Arabic

Cairo Station (Arabic: باب الحديدBāb al-Ḥadīd), also called Bab el hadid or The Iron Gate, is a 1958 Egyptian drama film directed by Youssef Chahine.[1] It was entered into the 8th Berlin International Film Festival.[2] The film was selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 31st Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[3]


A newsstand owner takes pity on Qinawi, a lame young man, and gives him a job selling newspapers in the Cairo train station. The women there all shun him because of his mild handicap, though he has little trouble walking.

Qinawi becomes obsessed with Hannuma, a beautiful cold drink vendor. But she is engaged to Abu Siri, a husky luggage porter who is trying to organize his co-workers into a union to better their lot. Nonetheless, Qinawi proposes to her. When she rejects his fantasy of a home and children in his village, Qinawi's obsession turns to madness.

Inspired by an unsolved murder in the news, he buys a knife and plots to kill Hannuma. When the local policemen try to catch Hannuma and the other women illegally selling drinks, she asks Qinawi to take her incriminating drink bucket and hide it. He seeks to lure her to a warehouse to pick it up, but she asks a friend to get it instead.

In the darkness, Qinawi does not notice the substitution; he stabs the other woman repeatedly, then hides the body in a wooden crate supposedly holding Hannuma's trousseau. Then he gets Abu Siri to put it aboard a train for Hannuma's impending wedding. The woman is not dead, however. She is found, and the station is alerted. The men who stand to lose by Abu Siri's unionization at first try to pin the attempted murder on him, but the would-be victim identifies her real assailant. Meanwhile, unaware of her near escape from death, Hannuma goes to get her bucket. Qinawi chases her through the rail yard and catches her, holding a knife to her head to keep the crowd at bay. The newsstand owner tells Qinawi that he will be allowed to marry Hannuma and coaxes him into putting on his wedding garment. Qinawi complies, then realizes he has donned a straitjacket. He struggles, but is taken away.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bab el Hadid". International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  2. ^ " Awards for The Iron Gate". Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  3. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

External links[edit]