(The Night of Counting the Years), (The Mummy)
Ahmed Marei, Ahmed Hegazi, Zouzou Hamdi El Hakim, Nadia Lofti,
A detective story, historical drama, and sociological critique in one, Al Momia has one of cinema’s most dramatic settings: the towering pyramids, ancient tombs, and desolate sands of the Egyptian desert. Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1881, when a young man discovers his tribe’s secret source of income: raiding, and profiting from, the tombs they have been sworn to protect. With little hope of a future in their crumbling nation, the tribe’s only chance of survival is to live in (and off of) their culture’s wondrous past. Salam (an art director on the Elizabeth Taylor drama Cleopatra) frames this essential metaphor with an austere, almost otherworldly serenity, presenting his images as if cinema were both art form and secret ceremony. “The picture has a sense of history like no other,” noted Martin Scorsese, “and in the end, the film is strangely, even hauntingly consoling.”
The Eloquent Peasant
Shadi Abdel Salam, Egypt, 1969
Based on one of the major literary texts that has survived from the classical period of Egyptian literature, The Eloquent Peasant is a combination of a morality/folk tale and a poem.