Based on a novel by Taha Hussein, “The Nightingale’s Prayer” is the story of two young sisters, Amna and Hanadi, and their mother, who are banished from their idyllic, isolated village by an uncle who is shamed by his brother's adulterous behavior. In the city, they are dispersed to various houses as servants, and Hanadi is seduced by her bachelor employer. Consequently, the famly flees to the safe haven offered by their uncle, but instead witness him murder Hanadi. Amna, left alone with her mother, blames her for trusting the uncle and flees back to the city on her own. There, she swears revenge on the bachelor and maneuvers to work in his house. Unable to follow through with her plan to poison him, she instead seeks to torture him by making him fall in love with her, managing at the same time to instill in him a new compassion for others. While the film’s gender politics may no longer seem so progressive, for 1959 Egypt this explicit criticism of patriarchal constructs was decades ahead of its time. Combined with beautifully-realized set design, “The Nightingale’s Prayer” and its steely protagonist have been chosen by the Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour to be in the Red Sea Treasures program at the Red Sea International Film Festival. No doubt, this film is a gripping portrait of a courageous young woman's rebellion against tradition and poverty, and is an underrated masterpiece of world cinema.