Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cairo Time

Poster of Cairo Time
Although many of us prefer fast-paced romantic movies like Vicky Cristina Barcelona, let it be said that Cairo Time is not a repulsive film. With its interesting premise about two people who don't want to openly confess their feelings for each other and a solid acting, this is a movie you should consider. However, this doesn't mean that Cairo Time doesn't have any flaws.

Juliette (Patricia Clarkson), a workaholic editor of a female magazine, has come to Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, to spend some time with her husband (Tom McCamus) who works for the United Nations (UN). However, once in Cairo, Juliette learns from Tareq (Alexander Siddig), a friend from her husband, that her husband can't be there because he's not done with organizing a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. As she spends some time with Tareq to keep herself busy, Juliette and him will gradually develop a love relationship. However, they both can't openly admit that they have feelings for each other.

With the fact that this film won the Best Canadian Film Award at the latest Toronto International Film Festival on my mind, I liked this film with a little reservation. Obviously, the thing that struck me the most was the skills of the duo formed by Patricia Clarkson and Alexander Siddig. Given the premise of the film, both of them have no difficulty to make a transition between the formal dialogues - which might look very boring - and the display of repressed feelings.

This means that Juliette does love her husband. However, almost like the Juliette of Shakespeare's classic, the one played by Clarkson knows that her love for Tareq - which is mostly expressed through body language and eye contact - is forbidden because she feels that her husband will arrive at Cairo sooner or later. Besides, with their performance full of subtlety, Clarkson and Siddig makes you like Cairo Time as much as Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love. This also goes without saying that the leading actors give you the feeling that they were made to play in this film because of their chemistry.

Nonetheless, despite the good script and premise, the only reservation that many might have will certainly regard the film's slow pace. However, as the film advances, things become extremely interesting between the character of Juliette and Tareq. All in all, Cairo Time is a film that you must not miss if you like romantic films. Besides, despite being followed by a state censor while filming in Egypt, Ruba Nadda's film poses a good observation on the condition of women in Egypt and also inter-religious relations in this country.

Rating: 4/5

Origin:Canada (2009)
Length:88 minutes
Genre:Romantic drama
Screenplay:Ruba Nadda
Director:Ruba Nadda
Starring:Patricia Clarkson, Alexander Siddig, Elena Anaya and Tom McCamus

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