Cairo Station

An Egyptian psycho thriller “Cairo Station” (1958) directed by Youssef Chahine, has the distinct stamp of Alfred Hitchcock in it. Qinawi (Youssef Chahine himself) is a lame newspaper vendor in the sprawling Cairo station terminus. Hannuma (Hind Rostom) is a hawker plying her soft drinks inside the trains. Qinawi has eyes on Hannuma and is smitten by her. Unknown to anybody he has put up posters of scantily clad women in his small quarters somewhere in the railway yard. Hannuma likes another porter in the railway station Abu Siri (Farid Shawqi) who is trying to organise a union of porters and hawkers in order to improve their lives. When Hannuma rejects him, Qinawi goes crazy. There is an unsolved murder in the newspapers, so Qinawi uses the method used in that killing to do his job. The ending has lot of shades of Hitchcock in it, cats, long shadows, the Hitchcockian music, close up shots, use of lighting etc. Superb acting by Youssef Chahine as the sick psycopath lame Qinawi. Hind Rostom has done a good role as the playful Hannuma quite well. This is a black and white film made in the neorealist style that was prevalent at that time. Chahine was a highly recognised film maker in Egypt and worldwide and so was Hind Rostom in Egyptian cinema.

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