ANYAB (1981)

Repertory Screening | 100 min | EGYPT
Directed by: Mohammed Shebl

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ANYAB (FANGS) is an oddity worth rediscovering! An Egyptian take on THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, this eye-popping musical of madness manages to cram horror, science fiction and even social commentary together while charming with its outrageous costumes and action.

In 1981, Egyptian cinema unleashed a maelstrom of weirdness on unsuspecting audiences. This ambitious and brilliant discovery from yesteryear will make you question all that you think you know about Arabic cinema.

On one hand, the film is an adaptation of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. But instead of the transvestite Frank N. Furter, we get a coven of vampires, all of whom are dedicated to seducing our heroes into the horror of their world without ever missing a jaunty beat in the songs that they sing. However, ANYAB's ambitions are much wider than that. Between the crazy costumes, the horror references, the disco numbers and the action, we get a running commentary on the social situation in Egypt. Whether it's the unemployment of youth, the class war or poverty, the film digs deep within '80s political geography to find interesting and universal statements to pass on.

Everyone knows the story: the lovers whose car breaks down, the gloomy mansion and the weird convention occurring within. ANYAB takes this basic framework but goes full-tilt mad in its adaptation by throwing in every reference to vampire lore filtered through an Egyptian sensibility. There's simply nothing like it. (Evrim Ersoy)