The Night of Counting the Years (Al-mummia)
Saturday, April 1, 2:00 p.m.
Dir. Chadi Abdel Salam. 1969, 102 mins. Restored 35mm print. In Arabic with English subtitles. With Ahmed Marei, Ahmad Hegazi, Zouzou Hamdy El-Hakim. This under-seen Egyptian classic, set in 1881 on the eve of British colonial rule, is based on a true story: An Upper Egyptian clan had been robbing mummies and selling the artifacts on the black market. The film casts this story in terms of the search for an authentic, lost Egyptian national identity, but the conflict between city and country suggests unresolved questions, making it an ambiguous, unsettling reflection on the price of identity. Unusual camera angles, striking colors, and mesmerizing editing give the film a dreamlike quality, reinforced by Mario Nascimbene's eerie music.
Restored in 2009 by Cineteca di Bologna/L/Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project, and the Egyptian Film Center. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, Qatar Museum Authority and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.
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