a unique and sensitive description of nasserite egypt.
Nasrallah's "Sarikat Sayfeyah" (Summer Thefts) is the only "non-ideological" film on nasserism in Egypt. The story of Yasser, the young son of a landowner family is set in the country-side in 1961. Nasser proclaims his land reform and "socialist" laws, and Yasser's family describes president Nasser as a thief. On the other hand, Nasser's definition of big landowners and capitalists is that they are thieves. To complicate it all, Leil, Yasser's best friend is a peasant boy whom he has to see secretly. Yasser's parents are about to divorce, and his mother is asking him to live with his father, since she doesn't have enough money to raise him herself. Like Robin Hood, he decides, together with Leil, to steal from the rich and give to the poor. The loot will go to finance his stay with his mother. They get caught, and it is Leil who is sent to prison.
Twenty years later, Yasser comes back to try and make up with Leil. Leil, like many peasants in the eighties, is about to emigrate to Iraq. Socialism has fallen apart in Egypt, and the land-reform has made the traditional land-owners richer and the peasantry poorer. Nasrallah's depiction of the country-side, family life, friendship and love is sensual, and deeply felt. His directorial debut is sometimes clumsy, but always very beautiful to look at and always honest
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