Cairo Station #MovieReview

Film 276 in the “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge is 1958’s ‘Cairo Station’. Or as it’s known in Arabic, ‘Bab el hadid’. Or to give it’s alternative film name, ‘The Iron Gate’. This Youssef Chahine Egyptian crime drama is about a physically challenged peddler who makes his living selling newspapers in the central Cairo train station. So… let me get this straight. Our main character is a man who sells newspapers in a train station who has a crush on the woman who sells Pepsi while hiding from the police. Also, we find that this man doesn’t sell one paper at all. Instead he hides in a shed and stares at photos of half naked women. This film pissed me off in so many ways. So many that I don’t even know where to start. All the men, except for The Porter, all come across as sexist perverts while all the women come across as evil vixens. Again, who am I meant be rooting for in this movie? Overall, this movie is a complete mess to watch and should be avoided. Fun Fact of the Film – Hind Rostom was famous for her seductive roles and was described as the “Marilyn Monroe of Arabia”. Yeah right. If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1958’s ‘Cairo Station’. Or ‘The Iron Gate’. Or… Oh, fuck it here’s my thoughts.


Film – The Iron Gate (Cairo Station)

Year – 1958

Director – Youssef Chahine

Written by – Mohamed Abu Youssef, Abdel Hay Adib

Staring – Farid Shawqi, Hind Rostom, Youssef Chahine

IMDb Rating – 7.8/10


Length – 77 min (1h 17min)

Genre – Crime, Drama

We open with information about Cairo train station courtesy of the newsagent

He finds a boy sitting on a street corner “looking lame”

Think someone is a little obsessed with cut outs of naked women

Second film in a row with opening music that gives me a headache

It’s 7:30 and a woman walking a poodle distracts a ticket sales man from selling tickets

So… She’s the Marilyn Monroe of Arabia? Yeah right

A group of women attack a pervert

Did he just say that he has to grease the foreman’s arm with his tongue?

What the hell is going on?

Two train conductors argue about work conditions after Abbas gets his hand trapped in a train door

“As long as I have this moustache you will be fired” – WHAT?!?!?

Turns out that there’s a meeting about a union today

Again, what is happening?

A woman in a dress asks for change for a payphone as a man with newspapers eavesdrops

Pretty sure you shouldn’t be boarding a train while on the train tracks

Why is everyone avoiding the police?

I’ve already said this twice but what is happening in this film?

A wet woman then gets scared by her own cat…. and the man selling newspapers

Better send the kids to stone him

That’ll teach him to spy on half naked women

Also, who is this man and why should I care?

Well… Better hide in my shed and have a quick wank before I sell more newspapers

But first, let me draw buckets on one of my pictures of the same woman

10am and a creepy man is trying to sell juice



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