In Cairo, a lonesome, impoverished elderly property guard whose name no one seems to remember (played by the distinguished Sayed Ragab) spends his days enjoying old-fashioned Egyptian hits on the radio, caring for stray cats and dogs, and watching over the same run-down villa he has been tending to for the past forty years, even though its affluent owners have vacated long ago. His peaceful, orderly little world is turned upside down when an opportunistic parking attendant newly released from prison, Nasr (Ahmed Khaled Saleh, in turns brutal and vulnerable) bullies his way into occupying the property– drawing our nameless protagonist’s fears and sorrows to the surface. With no recourse to seek help from the police, the old guard and his feisty daughter Yara (Nahed El Sebaï) take matters into their own hands. Anchored to the villa’s decaying splendor with a compellingly classical play-like story structure, this sixth feature from acclaimed writer-director Ahmad Abdalla (Décor) provides a keen reflection on class issues, fear, and isolation in modern Egypt.
Best Arab Film, Cinematography, International Critics’ Prize, Cairo Film Festival 2022
Mustafa El Kashef
Ahmad Abdalla is a critically acclaimed and award-winning Egyptian filmmaker. He directed his first feature film, Heliopolis in 2009, followed by the award-winning film, Microphone, which was selected at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) as one of the best 100 Arabic films in history, and toured several film festivals around the world, reaping more than 20 international awards. His film EXT/Night won the Best Film Award at the Malmo Arab Film Festival (MAFF), the Jury Award at the Luxor International Film Festival, alongside four other awards at the Egyptian National Film Festival. Abdalla was also selected as a jury member in a number of prestigious film festivals including the Carthage Film Festival in 2012, BFI London Film Festival in 2014, and Dubai International Film Festival in 2017.
Filmography: Heliopolis (2009); Microphone (2010); Rags and Tatters (2013); Décor (2014); Leil Khargi (2018)
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