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BFI London Film Festival Screens Tawfik Saleh's 1972 Film ‘The Dupes’

The newly-restored film will be featured in the festival’s ‘Treasures - Revived and Restored from the World's Archives’ section.

Farah Desouky

BFI London Film Festival Screens Tawfik Saleh's 1972 Film ‘The Dupes’

A restored version of the classic 1972 film ‘The Dupes’ (Al-Makhdu'un), written and directed by the renowned Egyptian filmmaker Tawfik Saleh, is set to grace the screens at the upcoming BFI London Film Festival. Scheduled from October 4th to the 15th, the film will be featured in the festival’s ‘Treasures - Revived and Restored from the World's Archives’ section.

Tawfik Saleh's adaptation of Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani's novella ‘Men in the Sun’ (1962) marked a significant milestone in Arab cinema by portraying Palestinian refugees as the protagonists of their own narrative—a pioneering move in the early 1970s.

The plot follows the harrowing journey of a Palestinian refugee group who conceal themselves in the rear of a truck, enduring scorching desert temperatures in pursuit of employment and the promise of a fresh start in an Arab Gulf nation. The festival’s website describes the film as “an uncompromising film that was banned for decades, yet still has the power to unsettle audiences in this striking restoration.”

‘The Dupes’ clinched the Tanit d'Or at the 1972 Carthage Film Festival, and its restored version was screened in Egypt and the UK in various festivals. ‘The Dupes’ was restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with the National Film Organization and Tewfik Saleh’s family, funded by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

The BFI London Film Festival has also selected another Egyptian film, titled 'Ozr El Wezzah' and directed by Mahdy Abo Bahat and Abdo Zin Eldin, to participate in the short film competition.

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