Saturday, August 07, 2010

Movie Review - Cairo Time

New York Times (A.O. Scott)

You might say that there is, in the literal, plot-summary sense, a romantic triangle at the heart of Ruba Nadda’s “Cairo Time.” An American woman waiting to meet her husband in the Egyptian capital is drawn toward a dalliance with a former colleague of his, a local resident who drives her from the airport to her hotel and graciously offers his services as tour guide and companion. But what gives this delicate, decorous movie its distinctive throb of melancholy sensuality is less the humdrum possibility of adultery than the intimation of a three-way entanglement involving the man, the woman and Cairo. The city is also clearly the principal object of Ms. Nadda’s ardor.

She provides — how could she resist? — some fine views of the pyramids of Giza, which hover like phantoms at the edge of the modern metropolis. Juliette (Patricia Clarkson), a magazine writer on her first visit to Egypt, has promised to save them for her husband, a United Nations official who is delayed by trouble in the Gaza Strip.

While she waits for him, Juliette’s touristic meanderings, sometimes alone, more often in the company of Tareq (Alexander Siddig), allow Ms. Nadda and her cinematographer, Luc Montpellier, to compose a series of video postcards that display the city’s picturesque aspects while offering discreet glimpses of its less pleasant realities.

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