Directed by Tarik Saleh
9th – 15th March 2018
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Corruption in many forms is rampant in this atmospheric thriller set in Cairo (although not allowed to be filmed there for political reasons) in January 2011, prior to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak and the eve of the Arab Spring.
Chain-smoking police officer Noreida Mostafa (an accomplished performance by Lebanese born actor Fears Fears) is as bent as everyone else in the Egyptian capital.
But the state he is protecting is on the brink of collapse.
His support for the state begins to wane when he is called upon to investigate the murder of a pop singer Lalena, who had her throat slit in a bedroom in the Nile Hilton hotel. The only witness to the gruesome crime is a Sudanese migrant Salwa (Mari Malek).
He then pursues a murky trail to try to discover who the assailant was.
There are a lot of twists in the story of his endeavours and it becomes difficult to know who to blame, which, in some ways, is and still remains symbolic of the Egyptian way of life.
Cinematographer Pierre Aim impressively made Casablanca and Berlin resemble pre-revolution Cairo.
Surprisingly the film was not the creative work of an Egyptian director but the brainchild of Swedish writer-director Tarik Saleh.
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