Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
This haunting, rarely seen classic of Egyptian cinema is based on a true story from 1881 when it was discovered that the Horabat tribe had been secretly selling off precious objects plundered from the tombs of the Pharaohs. A welcome choice for restoration by the World Cinema Foundation, created in 2007 by Martin Scorsese to save and protect neglected films in countries with poor archival resources, Al-Momia is commonly acknowledged as one of the greatest films ever made in Egypt.
“An indisputable masterwork… Fascinating on many levels, Al-Momia is in essence about the origins of Egyptian national identity… It must also be said that Al-Momia is astoundingly beautiful. Abdel Salam shot all his exteriors between 4 and 6am, or 4 and 6pm – times that mark the transitions between day and night. This gives the film a kind of ethereal quality, as each image feels as if it’s just about to disappear.” — Richard Peña, Film Comment