Chitchat on the Nile

Chitchat on the Nile
(Adrift on the Nile)
Directed by Hussein Kamal
Starring Emad Hamdy
Ahmed Ramzy
Adel Adham
Mervat Amin
Suhair Ramzi
Neamat Mokhtar
Music by Ali Ismail
Cinematography Mostapha Emam
Edited by Rashida Abdel Salam
Release dates
  • 1971 (1971)
Country Egypt
Language Arabic

Chitchat on the Nile (Arabic: ثرثرة فوق النيل) (Adrift on the Nile) is a 1971 film based on the novel by Egyptian Nobel Laureate Naguib Mahfouz.


Al-hashish is forbidden while alcohol isn't? Why? Both are bad for the health? Both are intoxicating?

The film addresses the decadence of Egyptian society during the Gamal Abdel Nasser era.

It tells the story of a simple Egyptian civil servant, Anis (played by Emad Hamdi), who cannot tolerate the hypocrisy of the Egyptian government (for whom he works at the Ministry of Health) and the illiteracy of the Egyptian public and decides to hide from all the problems in the country by taking up smoking hashish in a shisha, a popular smoking habit in Egypt, to escape from reality.

Anis (who used to work as a teacher) meets with an old student, Ragab (actor Ahmed Ramzy), by chance. Ragab invites him to the small boat in the Nile. And Anis discovers soon enough that he is not the only person who smokes shisha but a bunch of other elite, middle class and low class people are all on the boat. He soon discovers that everyone is smoking to forget the reality and hypocrisy of Egyptian life.

Political background

The film was released during the era of the government of Anwar Al Sadat and was quickly removed from the market because it was seen as a criticism of the Nasser period, when films that did not conform with Nasser's politics and ideology were often suppressed. Anwar al-Sadat didn't want to upset the Egyptian people, some of whom still loved and respected Nasser.

The films deals frankly with the issue of drug addiction, as well as the decadence that obtained during the late Nasser era. The film was produced in 1971, and was unsuccessful financially, as it was frequently banned in the Middle East and also in the West (mainly Europe). It only gained acclaim thirty-five years later. It is still banned in many countries, especially in the Arab world.

The film is now distributed by Founoon and is subtitled in French and English.

External links

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