The Night of Counting the Years
|The Night of Counting the Years
A screenshot from the film.
|Directed by||Shadi Abdel Salam|
|Produced by||Roberto Rossellini|
|Written by||Shadi Abdel Salam|
Zouzou Hamdy El-Hakim
|Music by||Mario Nascimbene|
|Cinematography||Abdel Aziz Fahmy|
|Edited by||Kamal Abou-El-Ella|
|Distributed by||General Egyptian Cinema Organisation
Merchant Ivory Productions
|Running time||102 minutes|
The Night of Counting the Years, a.k.a. The Mummy (Arabic: Al-Mummia المومياء) is a 1969 Egyptian film directed by Shadi Abdel Salam. It was Salam's first feature film. Egyptian critics consistently list it as one of the most important Egyptian films ever made. The film was selected as the Egyptian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 43rd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
Set in 1881, before a year of British colonial rule, it is based on the true story of the Abd el-Rasuls, an Upper-Egyptian clan that had been robbing a cache of mummies discovered at tomb DB320 near the village of Kurna, and selling the artefacts on the illicit antiquities black market. After a conflict within the clan, one of its members goes to the police, helping the Antiquities Service find the cache.
The film casts its story in terms of the search for an authentic, lost Egyptian national identity, represented by the neglected and misunderstood artifacts of ancient Egyptian civilisation. However, the conflict between city and countryside suggests questions that are not resolved in the film, making it an ambiguous, unsettling reflection on the price of identity.
Its slow pace, unusual camera angles and striking colours give the film a dreamlike quality, reinforced by Mario Nascimbene's eerie music. Moreover, the dialogue is entirely in classical Arabic, a very unusual trait for an Egyptian film, which adds to the sense of unreality.
- Grave robbing
- List of submissions to the 43rd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Egyptian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Colla, Elliott (2000-10-06). Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghrib: History, Culture, and Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 109–146 ("Shadi Abd al–Salam's al–Mumiya: Ambivalence and the Egyptian Nation–State"). ISBN 978-0-312-22287-1.
- The Night of Counting the Years at the Internet Movie Database
- The Night of Counting the Years
Al-Mummia at AllMovie
- The Night of Counting the Years (subtitled) is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- The Night of Counting the Years (no subtitles) is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]