Director Tamer El Said’s ambitious debut tells the fictional story of a Cairo filmmaker (Khalid Abdalla from The Kite Runner and The Square) struggling to capture the soul of a city while facing loss in his own life. Shot during the two years before the revolution in Egypt, this film-within-a film is a visually rich exploration of lives shaped by the shadows of war and adversity.
“In the Last Days of the City is certainly effective as a love story. It captures in atmospheric fragments the feel of a romance pulling apart. But the film is also an extremely precise and deeply moving enactment of a much bigger story—about what has happened in the last hundred years or so to Egypt and the Arab world, its artists especially.” —Artforum
“This multi-layered docu-fiction offers a meditation on one’s place within a rapidly changing environment, as the gears of history turn more ever more frantically. It is also a film capsule freezing on a particular chapter in history, not only of the city. Khalid’s clips of the unfinished documentary comprise an organic part of El Said’s film, a meta-textual point of filmmaker-character union resulting in a more intimate and authentic elegy created by the same eye.” —Senses of Cinema
• Watch the Q&A with the filmmaker at New York’s New Directors/New Films in 2016.