Although The Thief and the Dogs is a very famous movie written by Naguib Mahfouz, it was the first time for me to watch it. I really liked the story and how it represented a human’s experience living in Modern Egypt/the life in the late 19th century. The story has a very depressing, tragic and gloomy tone to it. It has a very strange style to it as it has a lot of flashback and forwards that shows the viewer the exact stream of consciousness and thought that the center character goes through, which was very interesting and intriguing. At the beginning, it shows how life in prison is difficult, depressing and filled with suffering that is completely torturing and disturbing to one’s mind and feelings.
The story begins with Sa’eed Mahraan (the central character), who has just been released from prison where he stayed two years because he was caught stealing. He is filled with extreme hatred and insists on taking revenge on and confronting his ex-wife and her husband Ilaash (who was his former employee) who betrayed him and told the police to arrest him. They completely ruined his life; his hatred grew more and more each day especially when his daughter didn’t recognize him and was scared of him. When Sa’eed sees the success of one of his old partner and mentor, Raouf Ilwan (who as a journalist, uses Sa’eed’s crimes in writing successful stories to help the police investigators capture him), he can’t help but hating him too and avenge him. He is very driven by what is happening around him to the extent that he no longer thinks wisely. Even when later he is given the opportunities to change and live a happy settled life, he doesn’t take them and ignores them. He accuses everyone around him (society) and claims that they are guilty of leading him to who he is now and that he shouldn’t be blamed at all. This makes the likelihood of him changing almost impossible.
Even though he resisted the authorities till the very end, he was killed by the police. Sa’eed is a very lost person, he only finds satisfaction when he gets what he desires and even then he never finds emotional peace. In this story, Naguib Mahfouz was trying to investigate the frustrations and discontents in the failure of that time’s revolution to bring real justice and change. He wrote a story with interesting characters in a way that makes anyone relate to their dilemmas, their obsessions and their aggravations. It’s a story of a man who has lived his life in pain and greatly bent on self destruction. I enjoyed the movie very much and I feel very eager to read the story and see Mahfouz’s written description of every little detail that adds so much meaning to the story.