Sahar al-Layali

Sahar al Layalai Last night I watched an Egyptian movie, something I have not done in a very long time. I guess this is what you do when you are bored out of your skull in Doha. The movie of choice was Sahar al Layalai (Sleepless Nights) and I have to confess that I was surprisingly impressed.

What made this flick unique is that it tackled some taboo issues that are always kept hush-hush in this part of the world. One of those taboos was sexual relations between married couples.

The movie, which focused mostly on marital conflicts, was really well-made and the acting was also quite good. I have to admit, this movie was probably one of the best Egyptian movies that I have seen in a while. I also loved the relationship between the male friends in this movie. It just felt so real and very Arab-like! If you are in the mood for watching an Egyptian movie (which is of course an acquired taste), then this film is an excellent choice. Go for it!

Categorized as Film

By Natasha Tynes

I’m a Jordanian-American journalist, writer, and media development professional based in Washington, DC.


  1. what channel can i see this movie?
    and Natasha, maybe you know this. Would you call people from Doha Dohanians?

  2. well Linda, I watched this movie on VCD. I asked Firas to get it for me when he was in Egypt cause I looked for it here and I couldn’t find it.
    As for the people from Doha, well they are called Qataris;-)

  3. Meh…still waiting on Malhas to find the VCDs 😀
    Another good Arabic movie I watched recently is “Al Abwab Al Moghlaqa” (Closed Doors)-about a teenager’s descend to the world of fundamentalism.

  4. Oh, sound like interesting movies.
    Natasha, I mean for example, i am refered to as and Angaleno, for Living in L.A., a Californian for living in California, and An American.
    I guess im trying to figure out if you guys have any names for the cities. I dont know why im asking it. Just wondering.

  5. Linda,
    I have never heard of a Dohan, simply because there are very few of them. As for Jordan, people who live in Amman are called Ammanites;-) Hope this helped;-)

  6. That’s called a naming convention Linda. It’s used as a means to distinguish one from the other. But in Qatar, although there are some other “cities” there is really only one: Doha. And the population of Doha is smaller than most any major city in the US, estimates say it’s about 700,000. So if you are from Qatar (i.e. Qatari) there’s about a 97% chance you live in Doha. Being such a majority with really no other city to compete for the title, most anyone from anywhere on this squiggle of a peninsula calls themselves simply “Qatari.” There’s just no need for a naming convention because there really is nothing distinguishing here 😉 if that makes sense.

  7. Citizens of Doha are acturally called Boredites – a naming convetion derived from a the uncanny ability to quickly become bored.
    Here’s a lesson: From my understanding this blog was started because of the Boredite Factor. Since Natasha was here well before I, it is only logical that it would take me some time to set up my own blog – which no one reads.
    In fact, the Boredite Factor led me to publish another secret blog.
    Yeah, Jeff has a good point, btw. In fact, if you look up world climate maps, you get only one city entry for Qatar. Compare that to half a dozen for Oman.
    Ah well…that’s the way the cookie crumbles…

  8. If you are from Japan, then you are Japanese. From China, you are Chinese. How about if you are from Madaba, or Salt ? Oops !

  9. Wow, thank you metalordie and jeff for that information.
    Hey metalordie, i read your blogg. What is this other secret bolgg you have created. I want to read it.

  10. teesh – just wanted to let you know that i LOVED the movie… it was actually my favorite movie of 2004..
    good stuff!

  11. Indeed, I think that it was the best Egyptian movie I saw in 2004. To add to what you had already said about the movie, I think that it was successful in talking about sensitive issues such as sex between married couples, without being so blunt and revealing in terms of hot and sexual scenes.
    I plan today to see the first Egyptian movie in Cinema since Sahal Al-Layali .. “الباحثات عن الحرية” (Looking for freedom) .. I heard it might be a disapointment, but I will report on that in my blog once I see it 🙂

  12. Isam, This should be interesting. Looking forward to reading your review. I’m thinking of watching Yousef Shahin’s latest movie about 9/11. It’s called “Alexandria, New York”. It is playing here in Doha. It should be fun.

  13. I’ve been preaching the merits of this movie for a while. No one listens to Malhas though.
    Iyas, my promise is inherently arab in its delivery timing. I’ll dig through my VCDs again, Basel (My Jordanian friend in Tucson) promised to have a burnt copy on my doorstep last week, but to no avail. Will continue hunting.
    Natasha, your review is dead on, what struck me most is how true the friendship btwn the guys is. I’ve had very similar trips to Nadim’s (Vanuatu Guy) house in Aqaba. I felt all warm and fuzzy watching them singing “Sahar Il Layali,” considering we got kicked out of the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Aqaba (I guess it’s Radisson SAS now), after one of my friends started playing “7anna Il Sikran” on the piano in the lobby and 7 drunk guys were singing along.
    Going to listen to some Fairouz now…

  14. Yeah I heard about the controversy surrounding season four of 24. I read somewhere that Muslim organizations in the US are worried that the new season will portray a negative stereotype of Muslims in the US as it talks about the issue of Islamic militancy inside America.

  15. It is a negative portrayal of terrorists (redundant). I don’t worry about people hating extremists, I worry about uneducated Americans (red voters) stereotyping against the whole Arab population.
    But F* all political/religious mumbo jumbo, its good entertainment at the end of long Mondays.
    Speaking of just relaxing, a friend of mine had an epiphany in a haze of bong smoke and proclaimed to have solved the Arab Israeli conflict. His Plan? Intall megaphones all over the West Bank and Israel and play Miles Davis nonstop.

Comments are closed.