The Dupes

Filmed in Iraq and Syria, The Dupes is a masterpiece of Arab political cinema based on Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani’s 1963 novella Men Under the Sun. Combining innovative flashback and point-of-view narrative techniques, the film recalls the stories of three Palestinian refugees from different generations, drawn together in the suffocating heat of a steel tanker as they try to make their way across the desert to Kuwait for a better future. By subtly adapting Kanafani’s story to reflect the film’s contemporary political backdrop, director Tawfik Saleh extends the allegory to charge the era’s Arab regimes with hypocrisy and the issue of the need for popular mobilisation against political and economic injustice.

  • Tawfiq Saleh

    Born in Alexandria in 1926, lived in Cairo.

    With only seven feature films, Tawfiq Saleh (1926-2013) is considered one of the pillars of Egyptian realist cinema. All his films deal with social injustice, the process of imposed underdevelopment, political abuse and class struggle. The Dupes was Saleh’s last great film, and a masterpiece. It won six international awards, the first of which was the Le Tapis d’Or in Carthage, Tunisia in 1972.