Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  56 minutes
Date:  2001
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English / English subtitles
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Living With The Past

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Cairo is one of the few medieval cities in the world that remains relatively intact. This a portrait of Darb al-Ahmar, a neighborhood in the old city now facing a process of radical change.

Living With The Past

Cairo is one of the few medieval cities in the world that remains relatively intact. LIVING WITH THE PAST is a filmic portrait of Darb al-Ahmar, a neighborhood in the heart of the old city now facing a process of radical change.

Produced by Elizabeth Fernea (producer of the Women in the Middle East Series) this film documents a unique approach to historic preservation, one that combines social and economic development with monument restoration.

LIVING WITH THE PAST follows several restoration projects in progress in Darb al-Ahmar, including: the Great Gate of Bab Zuwayla (1092 A.D.), the Mosque of Emir Qijmas al-Ishaqi (1481 A.D.), the Church of the Virgin (600 A.D.), the Walls of Saladin (11th and 12th centuries A.D.). These projects have been incorporated into a mammoth social, cultural and economic neighborhood improvement scheme.

Across the globe monument preservation often means that people are displaced, and surrounding neighborhoods are demolished. Not so in Cairo, where efforts are underway to not only rescue endangered monuments but to improve the standard of living of the affected communities, in this case the people of Darb al-Ahmar.

'RECOMMENDED... Interviews with architects, construction workers, development officials, and shopkeepers illustrate how the vitality of the neighborhood is being preserved.'-Library Journal

'LIVING WITH THE PAST documents ongoing restoration efforts in [Cairo's historic district of] Darb al-Ahmar ... and does an excellent job of conveying the neighborhood's spirit and the dedication of those involved in the restoration.'-Archaeology Magazine


** 2003 Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival (England)
** 2002 American Anthropological Association Film Festival
** 2002 African Literature Association Film Festival
** The First World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (2002)
** World Premiere, 2001 Middle East Studies Association Conference


Main credits

Pachachi, Maysoon (Director)
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock (Producer)
Fernea, Robert A (Narrator)
Gaballa, G. A (Interviewee)
Hampikian, Nairy (Interviewee)
Gayer-Anderson, Theo (Interviewee)
Vincent, Robert (Interviewee)
Mahmoud, Hisham (Interviewee)
Mahmoud, Ali (Interviewee)
Shehayeb, Dina (Interviewee)
Shahata, Abdul Rahim (Interviewee)
Dobrowolska, Agnieszka (Interviewee)
Zaki, Saleh (Interviewee)
El-Habashi, Alaa (Interviewee)
Mikawi, Mohamed El (Interviewee)
Ibrahim, Karim (Interviewee)
El-Rashidi, Self (Interviewee)
Fouad, Ghada (Interviewee)
Selim, Aida (Interviewee)
Hussein, Hassan (Interviewee)
Hafiz, Mohamed Abdul (Interviewee)
Badawi, Saad Mohamed (Interviewee)
Shannon, Jonathan (Composer)

Other credits

Producer, Elizabeth Fernea; director, Maysoon Pachachi; music, Jonathan Shannon; editor, Terry Twigg.

Distributor credits

Elizabeth Fernea
Maysoon Pachachi

Docuseek2 subjects

Urban Studies
History of Architecture
Middle East Studies

Distributor subjects

History (World)
Middle East
Southeast Asia
Urban Studies


Fernea; Elizabeth; Cairo; Egypt; preservation; restoration; project; medievel; medieval; old; city; social ; documentary; film; video; "Living With The Past"; Icarus Films;

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