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Home » Film

Cairo Time

Submitted by admin on August 23, 2024 – 1:31 pmNo Comment

Cairo Time operates in its own unique zone of comfort. This two-character drama, set in Cairo, Egypt, allows the leads (Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig) to dominate the film in equal parts with the bustling city itself. More than once we’re treated to splendid views of the Great Pyramid.

Director Ruba Nadda finds repeating visual motifs that crisscross between Clarkson’s Juliette in her sun soaked hotel suite and her strolling about the city. Some shots detail cityscapes or throngs of people in the street, while other scenes lyrically loom, for instance, on the stillness of the Nile. This is an art film to be sure, but one which respects its characters and allows them to live and talk so naturally that you wonder at times whether it’s supposed to be narrative or documentary.

Siddig has a great demeanor for his role as a guide who feels a growing attraction to the lonely married woman to whom he shows the sights of Cairo. Cool and aloof but with emotion burning quietly in his eyes, Siddig has been a game supporting player in a few Western films (Kingdom of Heaven, Syriana) but may be best known for his role in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Clarkson gets a lot of face time, in fact she’s in nearly every shot. It’s a role to relish as she acts with her body and her gestures. The way she stares in the distance from her terrace or the way she answers a phone that awakens her tell more than mere dialogue. Juliette spends her time in Cairo waiting for her husband, who works for the U.N., to show up. When he finally does arrive the moment isn’t what she, or the audience, quite expect. There’s a bit going on thematically similar to Eat, Pray, Love what with a woman finding solace in other cultures. But Cairo Time is more determined to be exactly one thing – a travelogue for inspiring soul.

- Michael Bergeron

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