Since posting my Top 12 Faves I've been asked why, since I said Cairo Time wasn't Ruba Nadda's "strongest work" (see review) , I selected the film as a favourite. What I should have made clear in that earlier post is the fact that I don't think Ruba Nadda is capable of making a bad film, period. So even though I think Sabah is a stronger film it in no way casts a shadow over the languid beauty of Cairo Time, which I did enjoy.
I never separate my heart from my head in making decisions about Art. Why should I? Even in literature I can appreciate that Hamlet is a better play than The Scottish Play, but I'll chose Mackers any day over Hamlet. It's the same for film: Cairo Time made my favourites list because it was unforgettable. I couldn't forget Patricia Clarkson's character, Juliette, and her blossoming relationship with Egyptian culture and Tareq (Alexander Siddig), her husband's past employee and her de facto guide. I also could not forget a very sensuous sub-character, Yasmeen, played by the voluptuous Amina Annabi. Annabi doesn't have a lot of screen time in this film, but she is simply captivating when she does appear. I love how Nadda contrasts the earthy Yasmeen with the ethereal Juliette.
The spectacular shots of Cairo and the gentle romance made me think of David Lean's Summertime, The Passionate Friends, and the intimate, bittersweet relationship depicted in Brief Encounter. Cairo Time is a restrained film, that will not be appreciated by those who demand constant action or big emotions; it's for those of us who can appreciate the subtlety of passion.
I chose Ruba Nadda as my Star of the Month for September because I am very proud of our Canadian filmmakers and the strides that they are making, and I also wanted to promote the fact that she had a new film at TIFF. I didn't know at the time, that Cairo Time would win an award for Best Canadian Feature. Congratulations to Ruba and all involved in bringing Cairo Time to the screen.
Cairo Time is being released in Canada on October 9th.
Photo Credit: photo of Ruba Nadda by donna g; other photos by Colm Hogan courtesy of http://www.cairotime.ca/