The Dupes

Set in the 1950s, The Dupes traces the destinies of three different men brought together by their dispossession, their despair and their hope for a better future. The protagonists are Palestinian refugees who are trying to make their way across the border from Iraq into Kuwait, the 'Promised Land,' concealed in the steel tank of a truck. Representing different dimensions of the Palestinian experience, each one believes he can make a new life for himself, but as the film’s title suggests, their flight is no solution.


“I worked on the adaptation of Men in the Sun by Ghassan Kanafani – a militant of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine assassinated on 9 July 1972 in Beirut by the Zionist secret services (Mossad) – from 1964 to 1971. My intentions and my interpretation of the novel and its characters changed in light of the tragic events that took place in the region in June 1967 and September 1970. In the latest version, I wanted to emphasise the element of escape that characterises the Middle East at this time. Three characters from three different generations, representing three phases of the same collective problem, decide to flee their situation in search of what each considers or hopes to be their individual salvation. But the end is very different from their expectations; there is no individual salvation from a collective tragedy. And this is the lesson that history teaches us every day.”

Tewfik Saleh1


“In this, one of Arab cinema’s best dramas of real suspense, individuals and people, the world and time, desire and the law all flicker off and on and finally consume each other.” 

Lizbeth Malkmus and Roy Armes2

  • 1Tahar Cheriaa, Tewfik Saleh, in Dossiers du cinéma: Cinéastes, (Paris: Casterman, 1971).
  • 2Lizbeth Malkmus and Roy Armes, Arab and African Film Making (London: Zed Books Ltd, 1991).
UPDATED ON 20.11.2023
IMDB: tt0068899