“Al Mummia” by Shadi Abdel Salam, an Egyptian masterpiece

This article is also available in: Italiano

In the evening before the Oscars, it seemed interesting to us to bring you what is considered the best film of Egyptian cinema. Al Mummia, Shadi Abdel Salam’s masterpiece, is a timeless film, capable of bewitching you, chaining you to the screen today as it did 50 years ago.

Al Mummia

In 1881 an Egyptologist notices the depredations of the tombs of the pharaohs near Thebes. Organized an expedition, the man will discover that in Luxor the members of a tribe have lived for centuries committing these thefts and when their leader dies, his two heir sons refuse to continue the raids. The subsequent disappearance of one of the heirs will put the other in front of an atrocious doubt: to confess the crime and let the tribe die of hunger, or to submit to the ancient traditions of its people.

A unique style

The film is considered the real masterpiece of Arab-Egyptian cinema and it is no coincidence. The solemnity present throughout the film is immediately striking, an atmosphere that serves to highlight the doubt that will seize the protagonist, Wanis, throughout the film. Doubt is in fact the absolute pivot of the film and it can also be seen in some perfectly timed visual choices.

Al Mummia
Wanis with the art dealer Ayyub

Despite being shot in color, in fact, mainly black and white will prevail with very rare exceptions. A way of showing the moods of the young protagonist internally as well. Those who tempt him will then be represented as a real lot of “devils”, giving Wanis a role, in some ways, similar to Jesus in the desert.

Italo-Egyptian find

The film is inspired by real events in the town of Kurna, in Upper Egypt, and this makes it even more interesting. Al Mummia is a real manifesto of how life in the town has changed, thus becoming a very important relic as regards its history.

Al Mummia

A very interesting curiosity concerns its production, which is absolutely Italian. The producer of the film was in fact Roberto Rossellini, while the soundtrack was edited by the Milanese composer Mario Nascimbene, one of the best composers of Italian and world cinema.

50 years and not hear them

The film turns 50 in 2019 and yet, like the pyramids, it seems not to have felt the weight of time in the slightest. Al Mummy will keep you chained in front of the screen, fascinated by the images of the pharaohs of Upper Egypt and tormented by the choice of Wanis who will still be suffered more than ever. Not surprisingly, the best film in Egyptian history. Here the link to the movie on YouTube.

Egyptian cinema
A scene from Al Mummia

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