In the Last Days of the City | Salt Lake City Weekly

In the Last Days of the City

Rated NR 119 minutes 2018

★★★★★ ★★★★★
“What’s the link?” asks a frustrated editor working with Cairo-based filmmaker Khalid (Khalid Abdalla) on a long-gestating project. “We just go around in circles.” That line could easily make for a glib critique of director Tamer El Said’s elliptical feature, but there are enough interesting components here to provide a connective thread. Khalid’s episodic story follows him on an almost farcical quest for a new flat, around pre-Arab Spring protests in December 2009, on get-togethers with three fellow-filmmaker friends and through the twin emotional blows of a recent break-up and his mother’s illness—and the character himself often comes off as frustratingly passive, including observing violence without intervening. For better or worse, there’s plenty of Terrence Malick-gone-urban in El Said’s impressionistic image-making, yet he also finds something compelling in the relationship between the inhabitants of major Middle Eastern cities and the near-constant threat of violence or upheaval. Obsessive media coverage of Egypt’s national soccer team becomes a background for the notion of tribal conflict, while people emotionally connected to a place find it hard to leave, even when logic tells you that you should.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Tamer El Said

Producer: Khalid Abdalla and Tamer El Said

Cast: Khalid Abdalla, Laila Samy, Hanan Youssef, Mariam Saad, Hayder Helo, Basim Hajar, Bassem Fayad and Aly Sobhy

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