Screened as part of NZIFF 2022

Boy from Heaven 2022

Walad min al janna

Directed by Tarik Saleh

Tarik Saleh deftly explores the tangled state of modern-day Egypt through his firebrand thriller set in Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the country’s most respected religious teaching institution.

Sweden In Arabic with English subtitles
126 minutes DCP


Director, Screenplay


Kristina Åberg
Fredrik Zander


Pierre Aïm


Theis Schmidt

Production designer

Roger Rosenberg

Costume designer

Denise Östholm


Krister Linder


Tawfeek Barhom (Adam)
Fares Fares (Ibrahim)
Mohammad Bakri (General Al Sakran)
Makram J. Khoury (Sheikh Negm)
Sherwan Haji (Soliman)
Mehdi Dehbi (Zizo)


Cannes (In Competition) 2022


Best Screenplay, Cannes Film Festival 2022


Spy thriller and coming-of-age narrative deftly combine in this sinuous, Cairo-set exploration of political and religious corruption by Tarik Saleh (The Nile Hilton Incident, NZIFF 2017), who received Best Screenplay at Cannes 2022.

When Adam, the humble son of a fisherman, is awarded a state sponsorship to study at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the epicentre of power of Sunni Islam, he imagines his life set on a path of learning. However, his apprenticeship will be of an entirely different nature as he becomes entangled in the institution’s back-door dealings and shady manoeuvrings. Will he be a pawn, victim, or kingmaker? — Sandra Reid

“A handsomely shot work, with Turkey doubling persuasively for Egypt (Saleh was placed on a list of undesirables in 2015 and risks arrest if he sets foot in Egypt)… Boy from Heaven is an ambitiously complex story of religious espionage. It was conceived as a Name of the Rose-style mystery transposed to a Muslim world, but also has much in common with Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet (NZIFF 2010) in its backdrop of factions and power plays and in the trajectory of its central character, from innocent greenhorn negotiating a web of alliances to jaded, compromised survivor.” — Wendy Ide, Screendaily