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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Carioca Plot Synopsis: Episode 1


Summarized by Priscilla Adum





In July, 2012, the Dream 2 television channel in Egypt began airing a 30-episode series about the life of legendary Egyptian dancer Taheya Carioca. It started on the first day of Ramadan, and aired one episode per day throughout the entire month.

The national Egyptian television channels refused to air this series during Ramadan because it was about a dancer and therefore considered inappropriate during the holy month. This led to a couple of satellite channels deciding to air it, including the privately owned Dream 2 channel. The role of Taheya Carioca was played by actress Wafaa Amer, and actress Fadia Abd El Ghani played Badia Masabni.

The series was also posted online. Episode 1 was posted July 20 at . This link no longer works, but might still be viewable via WebArchive provided your computer is able to display the old Adobe Flash video format. Many modern browsers, however, do not support Adobe Flash.

The scene-by-scene plot summary for Episode 1 appears below.



Plot Summary for Episode 1

Episode 1 opens with Taheya Carioca sitting at home when suddenly the police arrive to arrest her. They inform her that documents have been found in her house which speak out against Nasser and his government. She tells them "You don't know who I am! I'm Taheya Carioca!" but they arrest her anyway and haul her off to jail.

A very long introduction then begins, which lasts several minutes (credits, cast member names, etc.)

The next scene shows Taheya in a jail cell screaming, "Tell Nasser and anyone who's with him that Taheya Carioca will not be silent!"

Before Taheya Was Born

The episode then jumps to a flashback to 1920 in Ismailia. It shows Taheya's father walking on the beach with a friend. Her father (wearing dark clothes) is a wealthy fishing merchant who owns a fleet of fishing boats. He is telling his friend that he's had really bad luck because he's been married six times, and five of his wives have died. His friend advises him to go ahead and marry a seventh time and not to remain alone. However, Taheya's father argues that nobody wants to let their daughters marry him because they're afraid.

The scene then changes to show a couple of Taheya's father's neighbors, a man and a woman, gossiping about his unusually bad luck with marriages. They talk about how no family is willing to let their daughters marry him because all of his wives die.

The following scene shows Taheya's father visiting his elderly mother who also advises him to re-marry. However, she tells him not to marry one of his relatives as is their custom; but rather, to go to another governorate to find a wife.

The scene that follows shows Taheya's father and his good friend sitting at the home of the brother of the bride to be, Fatma — who will become Taheya's mother. They have gone to ask for Fatma's hand in marriage. She is a widow with a young daughter. Meanwhile, Fatma talks to her sister-in-law about the suitor who has come to ask for her hand.

The following scene shows two of Taheya's father's children from one of his previous marriages, a grown man and a woman. They are sitting with their grandmother, and the two are enraged because their father is going to marry again. The grandmother reprimands them as they storm out.

In the next scene, Taheya's uncle (her father's brother) is talking to a friend about the British occupation of Egypt and how he hopes they'll leave. Taheya's adult stepbrother then arrives and complains to his uncle about the marriage of his father; however, the uncle is in favor of the marriage.

Taheya's father then arrives home with his new bride and her young daughter. He introduces them to his mother who likes them immediately and welcomes them warmly.

In the next scene, the angry son complains bitterly to his wife about the marriage of his father.

The scene changes to show the family sharing a meal. The adult son arrives and is quite surprised that the new bride is younger than he is. He goes home to complain once more to his wife, who points out to him that if the new wife has a baby, then he will have to share his inheritance with the new sibling.

Baby Taheya

Taheya's mother is shown now as pregnant. The family is discussing the name of the future baby. The grandmother says that if it's a boy she would like the baby to be named Sayed El Badawi.

The father's friend advises him to send his pregnant wife to her family to deliver the baby far away. The father will be going off to sea for some time, and it's not advisable to leave his wife alone within reach of his oldest son who hates her and might try to harm her.

When Taheya is born, the mother names her Badaweia which is the feminine form of the name Badawi. However, her husband tells her that he likes the name Taheya, and he suggests that they can give her both names, but he will call her Taheya.

After Taheya reaches five or six years of age, her father arranges for a cow to be butchered and its meat given to the poor and to his relatives. This was a promise he had made to God years earlier; i.e., that when Taheya was tall enough to reach the door handle and open the door for him, he'd slaughter an animal and give the meat to the poor. [NOTE: In this episode, they actually do butcher a cow for this scene and slit its neck on camera! If you don't want to see this gruesome part, fast forward the clip!]

The father tells young Taheya to dip her hand in the blood of the butchered animal, as this was the custom. [This custom continues today. It's believed to ward off evil spirits and the evil eye.]

The next scene shows the wife of Taheya's older stepbrother together with his sister gossiping about the fact that Taheya's mother is pregnant once more.

Growing Up

Taheya is then shown on the beach with her uncle whom she adores and who dotes on the little girl.

In the following scene, Taheya's mother is sick with worry because they can't find Taheya anywhere. She orders her older daughter to go out and search for her, and the grandmother asks God to help them find her. Taheya has gone off alone to see a woman who sells sweets and is found by her two older stepbrothers. The one who hates her then scolds and mistreats her and drags her off.

The following scene shows Taheya's father talking to his friend. He says that he is not at all angry that Taheya has gone off alone. Instead, he observes that Taheya takes after him in that respect. When she wants something, she goes after it. He says that he is confident that his daughter would always reach her goals.

The next scene shows Taheya's beloved uncle preparing to attack the British soldiers in their camp. Immediately after, they show him being carried home, dead, where his mother and the small Taheya see him.

At his funeral, Taheya asks her mother, "Is it true that my uncle went with God?" The mother responds affirmatively as does the grandmother, and the mother tells Taheya that the British have killed her uncle. Taheya's older stepsister instructs Fatma to tell her daughter to shut up and stop asking questions.

The final scene cuts back to the prison, where Taheya is lying on the floor.





About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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