Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Egyptian director Hani Khalifa's heavily praised ensemble comedy drama Sahar el Layaly (aka Sleepless Nights, 2004) observes the romantic dysfunction plaguing several couples, three of whom are married, and all of whom have known each other for ages. However much they might try, Amr (Ahmed Helmi) and Farah (Hanan Turk) cannot completely forget Farah's prior engagement to another man, Ali (Khaled Abul-Naga), or erase from their minds the fact that Amr is now doing better on a financial level than he ever could have as a single person. Meanwhile, housewife Perry (Mona Zaki) recoils at the thought of her husband Khaled's (Fathi Abdel Wahab) constant amorous infidelities. As this occurs, the wife of the aforementioned Ali, Moushira (Gihan Fadel), grapples with dissatisfaction over the physical intimacy of their relationship. And the one unmarried woman, Inas (Ola Ghanem), rethinks her relations with boyfriend Sameh (Sherif Mounir) thanks to the latter's fear of commitment. Khalifa spends his narrative segueing between substories, and working toward a resolution for each. This film had the distinction of being one of the most sexually open films in Egyptian cinema up through the time of its production.