Cairo Time mesmerizes

Cairo Time
Directed by: Ruba Nadda
Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Alexander Siddig
Release date: Oct. 16, 2009
Rating: 3.5/4

Prior to the opening screening of Ruba Nadda’s latest film Cairo Time, owner of Princess Cinema John Tutt highlighted that it is a Canadian film set in a foreign location.

An Irish-Canadian co-production (the only way they could get permission to film in Cairo), Cairo Time caries a distinct Canadian feel, despite the exotic location of Egypt.

Lacking intensive action and the complicated story lines that are so prevalent in Hollywood films, Cairo Time is a refreshing and beautiful city romance, embracing qualities of independent productions like Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003).

Cairo Time stars Patricia Clarkson who plays Juliette, a Canadian woman who has travelled to Cairo for a vacation with her husband. However, she ends up alone in a strange city, as her husband is stuck in Gaza. She finds herself spending her days with Tareq (Alexander Siddig), a local who guides Juliette through the city.

They spend their days exploring the beautiful city of Cairo, experiencing its culture and falling deeply in love with each other. It is a mutual love that appears to be so pure that it does not give way to physical lust and becomes about developing a strong connection with another person.

The authentic location, paired with outstanding performances from Clarkson and Siddig, mesmerizing cinematography and a remarkable score that carries the film all come together to make for an overall solid performance, completely deserving of the Best Canadian Feature Film honour the picture picked up at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.

Perhaps the biggest flaw of the film is that there just isn’t enough of it.

At only 88 minutes, Cairo Time misses out on chances to go into subplots – such as a fascinating one where Juliette tries to venture into Gaza, and is saved only by her Canadian passport.

The story could have also benefited from increased time spent developing the characters, especially the quiet and reserved Tareq.

Above all else, at the core of this film is a beautiful story about finding love when you least expect it and the lesson that in the end, life is about breathtaking moments and the reality of living your life to the fullest.

Cairo Time is currently playing at Princess Twin Cinema in Waterloo.

To read an interview with Ruba Nadda which appeared in the Nov. 11 edition of The Cord click here.