Chadi Abdel Salam

Chadi Abdel Salam – Al-mummia AKA The Night of Counting the Years (1969)

In the late 1800s, an isolated Egyptian mountain clan sustains itself by exploiting Egypt’s ancient heritage, secretly raiding the tombs of the Pharaohs in Thebes. “One of the greatest Egyptian films ever made, Al-Mummia has an extremely unusual tone – stately, poetic, with a powerful grasp of time and the sadness it carries. The carefully measured pace, the almost ceremonial movement of the camera, the classical Arabic spoken on the soundtrack, the unsettling score by the great Italian composer Mario Nascimbene – they all work in perfect harmony… This picture has a sense of history like no other, and in the end, the film is strangely, even hauntingly consoling – the final understanding of who and what we are” (Martin Scorsese). Read More »

Chadi Abdel Salam – al-Mummia aka The Night of Counting the Years (1969)

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Review from Time Out London:
An impressive directorial debut by ex-art director Shadi Abdelsalam, The Night of Counting the Years is an examination of cultural imperialism in reverse: instead of selling Coca-Cola to Egypt, Western merchants are stealing rarities from Egyptian tombs. At first posed in moral terms – should the new chief of an Egyptian tribe allow his people to earn money by selling the antiquities from ‘officially’ undiscovered tombs, or stop the trade at the cost of stopping the flow of money to his poverty-stricken people – the film develops into a study of the importance of defending the past from would-be cultural exploiters. Slow-moving but absorbing, and quite beautifully shot. Read More »