An Upper-Egyptian clan robs a cache of mummies and sells the artifacts 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.
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Universally recognized as one of the greatest Egyptian films ever made, The Night of Counting the Years is based on a true story: in 1881, when precious artifacts began showing up at market, it was discovered that members of the ancient Horbat tribe were secretly raiding Deir al-Bahari, the site of a legendary cache of royal mummies. The tribe had little livelihood other than selling antiquities, putting them in conflict with the Egyptian government's Antiquities Organization. After reading the script, Roberto Rossellini agreed to lend his name to the project, and Shadi Abdel Salam's film was completed in 1969. This cinematic treat was extremely difficult to see from the 1970s onward until last year's beautiful restoration by Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Foundation. Using original 35mm camera and sound negatives preserved at the Egyptian Film Center in Giza, the restoration preserves the film's poetic beauty, its evocative sense of history, and its themes of desecration and ...Written by
This film should be more important than it is, but the director (and editor) makes the fatal error of assuming that if a film is slow it is automatically artistic. No, sometimes a film that is slow is nothing but, and all the great things in your picture quickly fade from memory when you leave the theater or rewind the tape.
This is the conflict of the film: the chief of the Horabbat tribe has just died and his sons are in line to take order, but they object to the tribe's way of making a living: tomb robbing and selling ancient relics to foreigners. This has been their way of doing things for a couple of millennia, and the tribe elders try to get rid of the two brothers. At the same time, archeologists from Cairo have come down to excavate and save the relics from being sold to foreigners, while at the same time stealing the relics to take back to Cairo. To tell you the truth, I can't remember too much after that, though I just stopped watching it two hours ago. It is very ambiguous about who is in the right, and the ending is, if I understood it, lacking any sort of climax.
The best things about this film are its cinematography and its score, both of which are exemplary. It's too bad the narrative is so confusing and, well, frankly, boring. It's worth seeing, but, since it's not on video, it's certainly not worth going to great lengths to see it. 7/10.
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