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Cairo Time

Year: 2009
Language: English
Format: 35mm/Colour
Runtime: 88 minutes
Director: Ruba Nadda
Producer: Daniel Iron, David Collins
Executive Producer: Charles Pugliese, Christine Vachon
Cinematographer: Luc Montpellier
Editor: Teresa Hannigan
Sound: Rob Fletcher
Music: Niall Byrne
Cast: Patricia Clarkson, Alexander Siddig, Tom McCamus, Elena Anaya, Amina Annabi
Production Company: Foundry Films/ Samson Films
Production Designer: Tamara Conboy
Canadian Distributor: Mongrel Media
International Sales Agent: Entertainment One International

Director Ruba Nadda delves into the emotionally fraught territory of the fleeting affair in her second film, Cairo Time. In one of the finest performances in her  celebrated career, Patricia Clarkson stars as Juliette, a magazine editor, who goes to visit her Canadian diplomat husband, Mark (Tom McCamus), to Cairo. When she arrives, however, she learns that he’s been held up in the Palestinian territories due to escalating tensions in the region. Left to wait, Juliette soon discovers that the streets of Cairo can be tough terrain for a woman on her own.

Enter Tareq (Alexander Siddig), an old friend of Mark’s who becomes Juliette’s companion and guide, introducing her to various Egyptian customs. The city’s grandeur comes alive as he leads her through the beguiling streets of Cairo. While they wander side by side, Juliette senses an alluring kindness and charm in Tareq, and he is equally taken with her. As she waits for word on her husband’s imminent arrival, the two struggle to control their obvious mutual attraction. The pyramids beckon, offering a gentle reflection of the epic desire building between the tourist and her guide. Their bond becomes increasingly complex as it evolves: is this a profound friendship or something else? Adding to the discomfort is the obvious loyalty they both feel to the man they have in common – Juliette’s husband and Tareq’s friend – who is physically absent but still present in their minds. The film evocatively serves as an analogy for the intricacies of passionate romances that, for practical reasons, can never be realized.

Cairo Time premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the award for best Canadian feature film, was awarded best picture by the Directors Guild of Canada, and was named one of Canada’s Top Ten films of 2009 by an independent panel of Canadian filmmakers, programmers, journalists, and industry professionals. The film played numerous international festivals (including Pusan, Tribeca, San Francisco and Seattle) and received largely glowing reviews upon its release in the United States in August of 2010.

By: Matthew Hays