Egyptian cinema-goers have grown accustomed to watching locally made films with an increasing resemblance to Hollywood movies. Throughout the years, a number of Egyptian producers and directors have resorted to ‘borrowing’ creative concepts from Western films.
It’s not purely an Egyptian thing though, Western filmmakers ‘borrow’ from other cultures too. (Hello, they’ve copied more Japanese movies than John Mayer’s had celebrity girlfriends.)
That’s why we’ve rounded up 7 of the best — and most memorable — films that we shamelessly ‘borrowed’ from the West.
1- Teer Enta (2009) & Bedazzled (2000)
Premise: A supernatural being grants the protagonist’s wishes.
You probably already know this, seeing as how Ahmed Mekki admitted it in the opening sequence of the film, but Teer Enta‘s concept was inspired by the 2000 cult-classic Bedazzled — with a few notable changes, of course. The Teer Enta genie replaces the Bedazzled devil, and we believe we can all agree that Maged El-Kedwani seriously out-shined Elizabeth Hurley.
2- Alf Mabrook (2009) & Groundhog Day (1993)
Premise: A man relives a single day over and over again.
We’ve all probably seen Bill Murray’s classic Groundhog Day at least 10 times over, reliving our own love for it every time. While Alf Mabrook is quite deeper in that Ahmed Helmy’s character goes through a journey of self-discover with each day re-lived, both films received positive feedback from movie-goers and critics alike.
3- El7arb El3almaya ElTalta (2014) & Night at the Museum (2006)
Premise: Inanimate objects come to life in a museum after dark.
As soon as we saw the trailer for El7arb El3almaya ElTalta, our minds went straight to Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum. Famous historic figures coming to life and wreaking havoc? Yes, we’re pretty sure we’ve come across something quite similar before. We don’t mind though, the end result was pretty great.
4- Ga2ana El-Bayan El-Taly (2001) & I Love Trouble (1994)
Premise: The main character wants to be a famous news anchor.
Most people don’t know this, but Henidi’s 2001 film with Hanan Turk is loosely based on the film I Love Trouble, starring Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte. In both films, budding & competing reporters work together in an attempt to uncover a giant scandal about milk suppliers poisoning consumers.
5- 3esabet 7amada wa Toto (1982) & Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)
Premise: After being conned, a couple commits crimes to get rich quick.
Before Jim Carey and Téa Leoni starred as Dick and Jane Harper in 2005, the original Dick and Jane were George Segal and Jane Fonda in 1977. A couple of years later, Adel Emam and Lebleba took on the iconic roles and brought 7amada and Toto to life for Egyptian audiences.
6- Khaleeg Ne3ma (2007) & Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)
Premise: A woman tries to escape her abusive husband by faking her death.
Egyptian filmmakers obviously have a thing for Julia Roberts, and we can’t really blame them – it’s Julia Roberts. To be fair, Ghada Adel didn’t do too bad of a job. Released in 2007, Khaleeg Ne3ma tells a story eerily similar to Julia Roberts’ Sleeping with the Enemy. Spoiler alert: The bad men definitely get what’s coming to them.
7- Leh Khalteny A7bak (2000) & My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
Premise: A woman plots to win over the love of her life who is in love with another woman.
MORE JULIA ROBERTS!
Let’s face it – we all fell in love with Rupert Everett’s cover of Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Say a Little Prayer’ in My Best Friend’s Wedding starring Julia Roberts, and we wish Ahmed Helmy had burst out into song too. Most people don’t realise that the early 2000s film, Leh Khalteny A7bak – starring Mona Zaki & Karim Abdelaziz – is basically the same story. Refreshingly, neither of the two films – despite being classic rom-coms through and through – give the audience the typical happy ending.
Keep on ‘borrowing’ Egypt, you’re doing it well!