In the Last Days of the City

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    In the Last Days of the City

    Akher ayam el madina

    Directed by

    Egypt, Germany, UK, United Arab Emirates

    2016

    118 min

    • Arabic

    Fiction

    New Directors/New FilmsIFF Vilnius

    This film within a film is a haunting yet lyric chronicle of recent years in the Arab world, where revolutions seemed to spark hope for change and yield further instability in one stroke. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, The Square) plays the protagonist of Tamer El Said’s ambitious feature debut, a filmmaker in Cairo attempting to capture the zeitgeist of his city as the world changes around him—from personal love and loss to the fall of the Mubarak regime. Throughout, friends send footage and stories from Berlin, Baghdad, and Beirut, creating a powerful, multilayered meditation on togetherness, the tactile hold of cities, and the meaning of homeland. Shot in 2008 and completed this year, the film explores the weight of cinematic images as record and storytelling in an ongoing time of change.

    Awards

    • Caligari Film Prize - Berlinale Forum
    • Best Director - BAFICI
    • Grand Prix - T-Mobile New Horizons IFF
    • Best Film - ACC Annual Critics Awards

    Festivals

    Labels & Line Ups

    Credits

    Cast
    Khalid Abdalla
    Laila Samy
    Hanan Youssef
    Maryam Saleh Saad
    Heyder Helo
    Basim Hajar
    Bassem Fayad
    Ali Sobhi
    Islam Kamal
    Mohamed Gaber
    Zeinab Mostafa
    Zakaria Ali Mohamed
    Etimad Eli Hassan
    Elsit Ikram
    Fadila Tawfik
    Screenplay
    Tamer El Said
    Rasha Salti
    Cinematography
    Bassem Fayad
    Editing
    Mohamed Abdel Gawad
    Vartan Avakian
    Barbara Bossuet
    Music
    Amélie Legrand
    Victor Moïse

    Director's Statement

    In the winter of 2007, I started working on this film driven by a need to understand my relationship with Cairo, the city where I live and that has made me what I am. I was haunted by a strong and peculiar feeling shared by everyone in the Arab world that we can't keep going like this - the end is near. We longed for it to bring a new beginning, while fearing it would take with it everything we loved. I finished shooting in December 2010. Six weeks later the entire world was watching Cairo. It seemed that what we had been longing for was happening. Now, three years later I am finishing the film wondering how these images could feel so close and yet so far, how nothing seems to change while everything is changing.

    Production
    ZERO PRODUCTIONS

    Press

    Majestic... a lionhearted elegy for the Egyptian capital, artistic heritage in the Arab world, inspired politics, and hope itself.

    Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, Artforum

    Beautifully lensed and complexly edited in a dense patchwork of people, feelings and events.

    Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

    A plangent, multi-layered dirge to the sensory overload of Cairo and the way it has irrevocably changed.

    Jay Weissberg, Variety

    A melancholic love-hate poem to Cairo and the role of filmmakers in any city in pain

    Jay Weissberg, Variety

    Tamer El Said

    Tamer El Said

    Egypt

    Tamer El Said was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1972. He studied Film Directing and Journalism. He has made several documentaries and short films. In 2007 he founded his own company Zero Production, an independent production company in Cairo. Zero Production supports independent filmmakers in Cairo and the region whether directly producing, lending equipment or offering work space. Tamer El Said is also a co-founder of Cimatheque - Alternative Film Centre - a space that will help incubate the independent film movement in Cairo through building networks, sharing resources and building an infra-structure for the alternative film platform. His first feature film, IN THE LAST DAYS OF THE CITY (2016), was selected at the Berlinale Forum.