The Night of Counting the Years

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The Night of Counting the Years
Directed by Shadi Abdel Salam
Produced by Roberto Rossellini
Written by Shadi Abdel Salam
Starring Ahmed Marei
Ahmad Hegazi
Zouzou Hamdy El-Hakim
Nadia Lutfi
Music by Mario Nascimbene
Cinematography Abdel Aziz Fahmy
Edited by Kamal Abou-El-Ella
Distributed by General Egyptian Cinema Organisation
Merchant Ivory Productions
Release date
  • 1969 (1969)
Running time
102 minutes
Country Egypt
Language Classical Arabic

The Night of Counting the Years, also released in Arabic as The Mummy (Arabic: Al-Mummia المومياء) is a 1969 Egyptian film directed by Shadi Abdel Salam. It was Abdel Salam's first feature film.[1] Egyptian critics consistently list it as one of the most important Egyptian films ever made.[2] 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.[3]


Set in 1881, a year before the start 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.[citation needed]

Visual style[edit]

Its slow pace, unusual camera angles and striking colours give the film a dreamlike quality, reinforced by Mario Nascimbene's eerie music.[citation needed] Moreover, the dialogue is entirely in classical Arabic, a very unusual trait for an Egyptian film, which adds to the sense of unreality.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  • 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. 


  1. ^ "The Night of Counting the Years". Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  2. ^ Farid, Samir (15–21 March 2007). "The top 100". Al-Ahram Weekly. Boulaq: Al-Ahram (836). OCLC 179957756. Archived from the original on 22 March 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2008. 
  3. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

External links[edit]