The Cinematic Cairene House and its Context in the Cairo Trilogy
By Shaikha Almubaraki
The presentation examines the formation and transformation of spatial and gender relationships over time in Cairo as articulated by the director Hassan Al Imam in his adaptation of Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy. Mahfouz’s novel, composed of three volumes — Palace Walk [Bayn Al-Qasrayn], Palace of Desire [Qasr Al-Shuuq], and Sugar Street [Al-Sukkariyya] — famously depicts the life of a single Cairene family during the period 1917 to 1944. Al Imam’s films, in turn, use Mahfouz’s stories to visually explore the traditions of middle-class Cairene life and the changing nature and content of the Arab house. The presentation investigates how the films’ mise-en-scene and décor critique traditions of hyper-patriarchy, subjugated femininity, and haptic interaction. Their deliberate exaggeration of changes in domestic space articulate a clear distinction between tradition and modernity in the domestic landscape of the time.
About Shaikha Almubaraki
Shaikha Almubaraki is an Assistant Professor at Kuwait University with a Ph.D. in the Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Her Ph.D. dissertation topic focuses on the 20th century ‘Arab’ House and its Context in Visual Representations. She received an M.S degree in Advance Architectural Design and a Masters in Advanced Architectural Research both from Columbia University.